When the muscles in your pelvic area are no longer able to support the surrounding organs, the resulting symptoms can take a toll on your emotional and physical well-being. Feelings of embarrassment hold many women back from speaking up, but you don’t have to suffer in silence — pelvic prolapse is not only common, it’s a manageable and treatable condition.
You’re Not Alone
While it’s more common after menopause, women of all ages can develop the condition. But no matter your age, you’re truly not alone; over 34 million women in the U.S. experience some level of prolapse in their lives.
What is pelvic prolapse?
Sometimes referred to as vaginal prolapse, pelvic prolapse occurs when the muscles and connective tissues in your pelvic floor weaken or stretch, allowing your bladder, uterus, and/or bowel to bulge towards or through your vagina. Despite the frustrating symptoms, it’s rarely a dangerous medical condition.
What are the common symptoms?
The most important step you can take is to open the conversation with your Seven Hills provider about any symptoms you experience.
- Pressure or heaviness in the pelvic area
- Pulling sensation in the pelvic area
- Feeling as though you’re sitting on a ball
- Tissue protruding from your vagina
- Urinary problems (leaking, retention)
- Painful intercourse
- Lower back pain
What causes pelvic prolapse?
- Difficult labors
- Delivery of large or numerous babies
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic cough
- Repeated heavy lifting
- Lower estrogen levels after menopause
Your provider will consider your age, overall health, childbearing plans, and severity of symptoms when exploring the most appropriate treatment.
- Vaginal Pessary: A soft, silicone prosthetic device inserted into the vagina, a pessary provides support for your organs affected by prolapse. They come in varying sizes and styles, fitted specifically to your body and your prolapse needs.
- Pelvic floor therapy: Your provider may refer you to a licensed physical therapist to help you strengthen your pelvic floor, hip, low back, and thigh muscles.
- Surgery: When your symptoms are severe or you’re not getting relief from other treatment options, minimally invasive surgery can help correct prolapse and restore support.
How to Care for Your Pelvic Muscles
Targeted self-care can help ease your symptoms and prevent your prolapse from worsening.
- Do Kegel exercises to help maintain the strength of your pelvic floor muscles.
- Maintain a healthy weight to reduce pressure on your pelvic organs.
- Practice safe lifting techniques to protect your pelvic floor.
- Treat constipation to lessen the strain on your pelvic organs.
- Care for your respiratory health to help prevent or heal chronic cough; seek support to stop smoking and treat ongoing respiratory concerns.
At Seven Hills, our providers are sensitive to the challenges and significance of pelvic prolapse — and we believe compassionate healthcare means open and empowered conversations.