Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) is common, and can affect women young or old, most commonly post-natally. Almost one in five Australian women will need surgery for prolapse during their lifetime.
There are 5 types of pelvic organ prolapse: rectocele (large bowel), cystyocele (bladder), enterocele (intestines), vaginal vault (occurs after a hysterectomy), and uterine (uterus). There are also various stages of prolapse (stage I to stage 5, which usually requires surgical intervention). Whether you are a candidature for surgery, or during rehabilitation from surgery, exercise has an important role in reconnecting and strengthening your pelvic floor muscles and strengthening the musculature surrounding them.
Each of these 5 types of POP has its own symptoms, but in general symptoms can include:
- Pressure, pain, or fullness in vagina, rectum, or both.
- Feeling a downward dragging or like your “insides are falling out”
- Urinary incontinence, stress incontinence
- Lower Back, pelvic or abdominal pain
- Lack of sexual sensation or painful intercourse
- Can’t keep a tampon in
Women can be hesitant to openly discuss these symptoms with family, friends, personal trainers or GP’s, but prolapse is very important to identify, and modify exercise to be performed safely. If you think you may have prolapse, first seek guidance from your GP.