What is a Pelvic Organ Prolapse? It’s when the pelvic floor organs (bladder, uterus, rectum, and/or vagina) have weakened and descend into the vagina or out of the anus. Sounds horrible, right?! It is! Yet 50% of women will deal with some sort of prolapse in their life. And no one wants to talk about it. A little over 12% will have surgery to repair this. It feels embarrassing to share (which is why I am writing this anonymously).
Living with and fearing my Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) has now become my way of life. I am still searching for professional help, exercises, information, and hope before possibly needing surgery to repair my poor vagina.
When the pelvic organ prolapse started
After having our first child, I went to the OBGYN and said that my vagina didn’t feel or look the same. She looked at me down there and said “Oh, it’s just a little prolapse.” I wondered what that even meant? Years later, I wonder why she didn’t she refer me to a pelvic floor physical therapist.
It was a quick visit and she didn’t seemed concerned. My partner also didn’t complain, so I thought it was fine, I guess. However, I was saddened by this new “just a little prolapse” diagnosis. I guess I should have known my vagina wouldn’t look the exact same after pushing out a baby. I thought it would eventually go back to the way it was before, as long as I exercised, right?! No.
When I had my first child, I didn’t even know what the pelvic floor was, let alone pelvic floor therapy. I wish I had known the importance of moving my body, getting fiber, kegels, posture, properly emptying my bowels and bladder, etc. Honestly, I look at this (small) self-care list and think, “No wonder I didn’t take care of myself; I was too busy caring for others.” Now the consequence of not caring for myself is living with a weakened pelvic floor that partially sticks out of my vagina. It sucks. AND it is embarrassing to talk about.
Searching for pelvic floor prolapse care
After having symptoms associated with a weak pelvic floor like diastasis recti, the frequent urge to pee, and major constipation, I decided to get help (years after my first child was born). Well, I have been to a handful of physical therapy appointments and they are good, but hard to get to with my busy life.
At the physical therapist, she assured me that my prolapse wasn’t bad at all and that she sees women that take a year or more to heal their diastasis, who pee themselves often, or have had major trauma down there. She made me feel better about my body—kind of.
At our physical therapy session, she did an internal exam (fingers in the vagina to feel around) and said my bladder was coming into my vagina, not my rectum. Side note: I was lying down when she did this exam. When I stand, I feel my rectum protrude into my vagina. All this to say, trust your gut and make sure they are listening to you concerns. You know yourself better than anyone. And find a different provider if they aren’t the best fit for you.
Back to our session. I learned how to activate my deep core muscles called the transverse abdominals. These muscles help support our pelvic floor and are often triggered with proper posture and breathing. So strengthening these can make any pelvic floor better. Additionally, I also learned various ways to do kegels in different positions. She was genuinely helpful and I learned a lot. I didn’t get the mega results I was banking on, but it helped a little. Sadly, I am still living in fear with my pelvic organs and how they aren’t functioning optimally. And I am concerned about what the future holds down there.
Pelvic organ prolapse support
Since the pandemic, I haven’t been to physical therapy, but have done a few virtual sessions (which aren’t as helpful). I plan to go back to PT to get more help. (Even writing this is spurring me on to care for myself.)
I am still searching for hope and healing. Dr. Bri and Michelle Kenway YouTube videos are helpful (but not the personalized care of a Doctor or PT.) And just as important, their YouTube videos help make me feel like this isn’t totally weird—that I am not alone and that I can manage my prolapse and help it from getting worse. Also, check out the Vagina Rehab Doctor and The Vagina Whisperer on Instagram too
Reach out for care
Talk to your OB or reach out to a professional like these if you feel you may have prolapse. There is help. It may not be totally reversible, but there are ways to slow down the prolapse progression. This makes life, exercise, sex, chasing our kids, etc. a lot more manageable. Prolaspe is not fun at all and not just for old people, but it is a part of life (for some) after pregnancy. Search for answers and when you don’t find them, keep searching.
Talk about pelvic health with friends
I do not feel comfortable sharing who I am in a blog post, but you should feel comfortable talking about this with your friends. Talk about your diastasis recti (which is often associated with a weakened pelvic floor).
The truth is, your friends are likely dealing with some form of pelvic floor issue too.
Wondering if you have prolapse–ask these questions:
- Do you ever have a feeling of heaviness in your vagina?
- Do you suffer from constipation?
- Do you use a finger to support your vaginal wall so you can empty your bowel?
- Do you suffer from incontinence or have an urge to pee a lot?
- Do you feel like your uterus has descended into your vagina?
- Do you see your insides hanging out of your vagina?
- Does your lower back hurt?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may have pelvic organ prolapse.
I am not a Doctor and none of this is medical advice. This is my story and situation. If you feel you need pelvic floor care. Don’t delay—your pelvic floor and future self will thank you.