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  • Emily McGuire

How Pelvic Floor Therapy Can Treat Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a common and often uncomfortable condition that can significantly affect a person's quality of life. While it may be a sensitive topic, understanding how pelvic floor therapy can effectively treat prolapse is crucial for those experiencing it. In this blog post, we'll delve into what pelvic organ prolapse is, its causes and symptoms, and how pelvic floor therapy serves as a vital tool in its treatment and management.



Pelvic Floor 3D Model

What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)?

Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the pelvic organs, such as the uterus, bladder, or rectum, descend from their normal positions and bulge into or out of the vaginal canal or anal opening. This condition is often the result of weakened or damaged pelvic floor muscles and connective tissues. POP can vary in severity and may involve one or more pelvic organs.

Causes of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Several factors can contribute to the development of pelvic organ prolapse, including:

  1. Childbirth: Vaginal childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and tissues, increasing the risk of prolapse, especially in women who have had multiple pregnancies or difficult deliveries.

  2. Aging: As individuals age, the supportive tissues of the pelvic floor naturally weaken, making POP more common among older adults.

  3. Hormonal Changes: Decreased levels of estrogen during menopause can lead to tissue atrophy and weakening of pelvic support structures.

  4. Chronic Constipation: Frequent straining during bowel movements can put excessive pressure on the pelvic floor and contribute to prolapse.

  5. Heavy Lifting: Engaging in heavy lifting activities or jobs that require significant physical effort can strain the pelvic floor muscles and increase the risk of prolapse.


Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

The symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse can vary depending on the organs involved and the severity of the condition. Common signs and symptoms include:

  1. Feeling of Pressure or Fullness: Many individuals with POP describe a sensation of fullness or pressure in the pelvic region.

  2. Vaginal Bulging: Some may notice a bulge or protrusion in the vaginal area, which may be more prominent during activities like standing, walking, or lifting.

  3. Pelvic Pain: Discomfort or pain in the pelvic region is a common symptom, often accompanied by a dragging or aching sensation.

  4. Difficulty with Bowel or Bladder Control: POP can affect bladder and bowel function, leading to urinary incontinence, frequent urination, or difficulty with bowel movements.


Pelvic Floor Therapy for Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic floor therapy is a non-surgical and highly effective treatment option for pelvic organ prolapse. Here's how it works:

  1. Assessment: The first step is a thorough evaluation by a specially trained therapist. They assess the severity of the prolapse, identify contributing factors, and create a personalized treatment plan.

  2. Pelvic Floor Exercises: The therapist teaches pelvic floor muscle exercises. These exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, providing better support for the pelvic organs.

  3. Biofeedback: Biofeedback techniques may be used to help individuals learn how to properly contract and relax their pelvic floor muscles.

  4. Manual Therapy: The therapist may use hands-on techniques to address muscle tension and improve tissue mobility in the pelvic area.

  5. Lifestyle Modifications: Patients are educated about lifestyle modifications, including proper lifting techniques, dietary changes, and strategies to avoid constipation.

  6. Electrical Stimulation: In some cases, electrical stimulation may be used to help stimulate and strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.

  7. Pessary Fitting: In certain situations, a pessary, a silicone device inserted into the vagina to support the pelvic organs, may be recommended and fitted by the therapist.


Benefits of Pelvic Floor Therapy for POP

Pelvic floor therapy offers several benefits for individuals with pelvic organ prolapse:

  1. Non-Invasive: It provides a non-surgical, conservative approach to managing and often improving the symptoms of POP.

  2. Improved Quality of Life: Many individuals experience a significant reduction in symptoms, such as discomfort, pain, and pressure, which greatly enhances their overall quality of life.

  3. Prevention: Pelvic floor therapy can help prevent the progression of POP, particularly when diagnosed and treated in its early stages.

  4. Enhanced Pelvic Floor Function: Through targeted exercises and education, individuals can regain strength and function in their pelvic floor muscles.


Rehab United Can Help

Pelvic organ prolapse is an uncomfortable condition, but it doesn't have to rule your life. Pelvic floor therapy is a proven and non-invasive approach to managing and improving the symptoms of POP. If you or someone you know is dealing with pelvic organ prolapse, consider consulting with a healthcare professional who specializes in pelvic floor therapy. With the right guidance and treatment, you can regain comfort, confidence, and control over your pelvic health.




 

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Emily McGuire is a Marketing Associate and staff writer for Rehab United. With a Bachelor's degree in International Business from UC San Diego, she is a California native with a passion for writing, digital marketing, health, and wellness.


Medically Reviewed By: Whitney Landis, PT, DPT, FAFS, a physical therapist, Director of Pelvic Health, and Fellow of Applied Functional Science. Whitney graduated with her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Chapman University in 2010 and has taken numerous continuing education courses pertaining to Women’s/Pelvic Health through Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute and Pelvic Guru. She has also completed the Gray Institute of Functional Transformation (GIFT) Fellowship in 2015.

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