Pelvic organ prolapse can be a real pain in the…well, you know where. If you’re not familiar with this condition, let me break it down for you. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the muscles and tissues that support your pelvic organs weaken, causing one or more of those organs to drop down into the vagina. It’s not exactly a fun time. The good news is that it’s very treatable!
There are three types of pelvic organ prolapse: cystocele, rectocele, and uterine. Let’s take a closer look at each one.
- Cystocele: This occurs when the bladder drops down into the vagina, causing a bulge in the front wall of the vagina. It can cause urinary problems, like leakage or the constant feeling of needing to pee.
- Rectocele: This occurs when the rectum pushes into the back wall of the vagina, causing a bulge. It can cause constipation and difficulty emptying your bowels.
- Uterine prolapse: This occurs when the uterus drops down into the vagina. It can cause a feeling of heaviness in the pelvis, as well as back pain and discomfort during sex.
So, how can pelvic floor physical therapy help? Well, the goal of pelvic floor physical therapy is to strengthen the muscles and tissues that support your pelvic organs. Your therapist might use techniques like Kegels, biofeedback, and dilator training to help you regain strength and control.
There are a variety of exercises that a pelvic floor physical therapist may recommend for pelvic organ prolapse. Here are some examples:
- Squats: Squats are a great exercise for building strength in the glutes and thighs, which can help support the pelvic organs. Your therapist may recommend doing squats with a resistance band around your thighs to help engage the glute muscles even more.
- Bridges: Bridges are another great exercise for building strength in the glutes and hamstrings. To do a bridge, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your hips up toward the ceiling, squeezing your glutes and engaging your pelvic floor muscles as you lift.
- Abdominal exercises: Strong abdominal muscles can help support the pelvic organs and prevent prolapse. Your therapist may recommend exercises like planks or bird dogs to strengthen your core.
- Pelvic tilts: Pelvic tilts are a gentle exercise that can help improve pelvic floor awareness and strengthen the muscles in the lower back and pelvis. To do a pelvic tilt, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Flatten your lower back against the floor by gently tilting your pelvis upward.
- Deep breathing exercises: Deep breathing exercises can help improve pelvic floor relaxation and reduce tension in the pelvic muscles. Your therapist may teach you techniques like diaphragmatic breathing or progressive muscle relaxation to help you release tension and improve pelvic floor function.
It’s important to note that the specific exercises recommended for you will depend on the type and severity of your prolapse, as well as any other pelvic floor issues you may be experiencing. Working with a pelvic floor physical therapist can help you develop a personalized exercise plan that’s tailored to your specific needs.
Another option for managing pelvic organ prolapse is the use of a pessary. This is a small device that’s inserted into the vagina to support the pelvic organs. It can be a helpful temporary solution for some women, but it’s important to work with your healthcare provider to determine if it’s the right choice for you.
Of course, prevention is key when it comes to pelvic organ prolapse. Here are some strategies that can help:
- Practice good bowel habits. This means staying hydrated, eating a balanced diet with plenty of fiber, and avoiding straining when you go to the bathroom.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying extra weight can put extra strain on your pelvic floor muscles, so it’s important to maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise.
- Avoid heavy lifting. If you have to lift something heavy, make sure to use proper technique (bend your knees, not your back) and avoid holding your breath.
So, there you have it, folks. Pelvic organ prolapse can be a real pain in the pelvis, but with the help of pelvic floor physical therapy and a few prevention strategies, you can take control of your pelvic health.