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Pelvic Organ Prolapses


Pelvic Organ Prolapses
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) occurs when the tissue and muscles of the pelvic floor no longer support the pelvic organs resulting in the drop (prolapse) of the pelvic organs from their normal position. The pelvic organs that can prolapse include the bladder, uterus and rectal tissue.  Many women are unaware they have a prolapse but notice a feeling of pressure or something falling out of the vagina particularly when tired or after exercise.  Pregnancy is the most common cause of a prolapse and if caught and treated early enough responds well when treated with specific manual internal therapy and feedback and pelvic floor exercises.  If a women's prolapse is progressed to the point where there has been fascial damage she may require surgical intervention or consideration of a pessary.  

A cystocele, also known as a bladder prolapse, occurs when the supporting tissue between a woman's bladder and vaginal wall weakens and stretches, allowing the bladder to protrude in to the vagina.  Sometimes women don't even know they have a prolapse but have symptoms of difficulty urinating, a sense of fullness or pressure and repeated bladder infections.  A Women's Health Physical Therapist can successfully treat early stages of prolapses.  Risk factors for developing prolapses including childbirth, estrogen deficiency, hysterectomy, genetics, repetitive poor lifting techniques, excessive fitness classes requiring heavy loading exercise and insufficient pelvic floor strength and aging.  

A rectocele in the herniation of the rectal tissue in to the vaginal wall and may cause drooping of the vaginal tissue out through the canal.  Factors increasing your risk for a rectocele include childbirth, excessive straining, obesity estrogen deficiency, heavy lifting.  Symptoms may include constipation, pressure and/or pelvic pain.  

Early stage prolapses respond well to pelvic floor physical therapy, behavioral modifications and changes in body mechanics and lifting techniques.

Avoiding heaving lifting, performing proper lifting and other simple modifications can help prevent the progression of prolapses.

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