Pelvic Organ Prolapse will affect up to 50% of all women to some extent. Some with significantly life altering symptoms, and some with only mild.
When women make the discovery that something is different with their pelvic floor, they feel a pressure at the base of their pelvis, or they notice a change in their ability to void their bladder or bowel, their first step is usually to speak to their OBGYN.
From here, the woman is usually either told her symptoms are not that bad and to go on with their life (with no further guidance on how to prevent things from worsening), or they are offered surgery.
THIS is where I want to wave my hands in the air like a crazy lady and scream, “THERE IS SO MUCH MORE!” Because THERE IS! And a 1 in 3 chance of failure after what is described as a rough recovery of 6+ weeks is also not so enticing.
Back 20 years ago, the specialty field of pelvic health physical therapy was MUCH smaller and still developing. It’s no wonder the gynecological field is not yet more regularly partnering with pelvic health physical therapists because their instructors and mentors did NOT have this partnership themselves. THIS needs to change and WILL.
So here we are, passionate pelvic health specialists working HARD to educate our communities and anyone who will listen.
The following are factors impacting pelvic organ prolapse that a pelvic health physical therapist can HELP with in prolapse management...
Posture & Alignment
Core and pelvic floor coordination and strength
Moving our bodies in a pelvic safe way (including lifting)
Safe exercise guidance and return to sport and activity
Constipation management and gut health
Core and hip muscle balance
Managing intra-abdominal pressures
Recovery from prolapse surgery addressing all of the above to PREVENT FAILURE of surgery
The sad truth is that a surgical staple, suture, or implanted device will only address one layer of the prolapse issue and comes with the possibility for complications and failure. And ALL OTHER components impacting a person's prolapse go neglected when a woman is not ALSO working with a pelvic health physical therapist. Surgery MAY be in fact needed, but to leave women without ANY GUIDANCE as to how to proceed with living in their bodies afterwards (besides saying "try not to lift too much") is just negligent.
In the end, what is REALLY at stake here is the difference between EMPOWERING women to care for themselves and improve their condition OR keeping them in a state of feeling HELPLESS and a VICTIM to their body.
I look forward to a time when surgeons and pelvic health therapists work together much more closely to find the BEST treatment plans possible for our patients. Until then, we will continue to work to educate our fellow women of their options and guide them towards the information and strategies that will help them REGARDLESS of choosing surgery or not.
If you have questions about how to proceed with managing YOUR prolapse or suspected prolapse, contact us HERE.