According to The Association for Pelvic Organ Support (APOPS http://www.pelvicorganprolapsesupport.org) one in every two women is estimated to experience some degree of POP. Despite this very high statistic, it remains a subject that most women are embarrassed to talk about and it is another of those conditions that many women just live with, considering it to be "normal" following childbirth. As women, we are not as informed as we could be on the preventive and healing strategies that can ease symptoms.
What is a Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
A POP occurs when the pelvic floor muscles weaken and one or more of the pelvic organs (the uterus, the bladder or the bowel) descend into the vaginal canal. In advanced cases of POP, tissues push through the vaginal canal and can protrude outside of the body.
There are four levels of severity - grade 1 is the most mild and a grade 4 is the most severe.
Vaginal childbirth and menopause are the 2 leading causes of pelvic organ prolapse and nearly every woman carries at least one risk factor for POP. Women who do develop POP, typically have multiple risk factors, but even 1 damaging child birthing experience can be sufficient to cause problems that evolve into pelvic organ prolapse. HOWEVER, women in every age demographic and from all over the world can experience pelvic organ prolapse, even those who have never given birth.
SYMPTOMS OF PELVIC ORGAN PROLAPSE
There are five different types of POP (relating to which organ has prolapsed) and each type has its own specific symptoms, but in general the most common symptoms include:
Once you have received a definitive diagnosis, a treatment plan can be put into place. Although surgical management of symptomatic POP is common it is not always necessary, so make sure you take good advice and consider all your options before diving in for surgery, I am sure you will have seen the recent controversies over surgical POP repair.
It is important to know that a Grade 1 or 2 prolapse will not inevitably worsen, so if you are suffering Grade 1 or 2 symptoms, preventative and healing strategies and changes in lifestyle can prevent your prolapse worsening, and reverse the symptoms.
CONSERVATIVE TREATMENT OPTIONS INCLUDE: