What are the signs of Prolapse?

Some people can have few or no signs of prolapse but when symptoms occur, they often become worse after exercising, being on your feet for a long period of time or towards the end of the day. Symptoms can include:

  • A bulging or ‘dragging’ sensation in the vagina or just in the pelvis generally.
  • A visible bulge in the vagina.
  • Discomfort, pain or ‘dragging’ sensation in the lower back or abdominal area.
  • Difficulty emptying the bowel or bladder.
  • Difficulty inserting or retaining tampons.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.

 

What is Prolapse?

There are three types of prolapse:image

  • Uterine prolapse (urethrocele) where the cervix and uterus (womb) move down into the vagina.
  • Bladder prolapse (cystocele) where the bladder moves downwards into the front wall of the vagina.
  • Bowel prolapse (rectocele) where the bowel bulges into the back wall of the vagina.

These types of prolapse can occur on their own or as a combination of two or more types.

 

What Should I do if I think I have a Prolapse?

The good news is that post natal prolapse often resolves very well with conservative treatment and surgery is not usually required. Here are some tips if you think you have a prolapse following the birth of your baby.

  1. Get yourself to a women’s health physiotherapist. You’ll have a thorough ????????????????????????assessment by an expert in the area of women’s health and will be given suitable advice and exercises to facilitate your recovery.

  2. Rest. As new mums we put ourselves under pressure to get back to our usual activities, but sometimes our bodies just aren’t quite ready. Ideally, you should ‘pace’ your activity throughout the day so you have a good balance between work and rest and if you feel the symptoms of your prolapse start to bother you, consider it a reminder from your body to take a break.

  3. Improve or maintain the range of movement in your lower back and pelvis. Sometimes tight muscles around these areas can contribute to an imbalance which may make a prolapse more likely. Addressing any tightness can help to reduce prolapse symptoms. You can do this by practicing some hip circles (both directions!), pelvic tilts and weight shifting from side to side in a standing position.

  4. imageKeep your bowel movements regular. Regularly straining to empty your bowel can contribute to, or worsen prolapse. Eat plenty of fibre, make sure you use the correct toilet position (yes that is a thing!) and speak to your GP or physiotherapist if these simple measures aren’t working for you.

  5. Don’t worry too much about your posture. Concentrate on walking tall, standing and sitting tall, but not poker-straight like a soldier, and not pulling your tummy in. It should feel easy and not uncomfortable and difficult.

  6. Don’t rush back to exercise too quickly. Have a chat with your physiotherapist first. If you do want to get out of the house and do something, start with something slow and gentle like swimming or yoga.

  7. Develop awareness of your breathing. As we breathe in and out, our diaphragm (breathing muscle) moves up and down and so does our pelvic floor. This helps to keep the pressure in our abdominal cavity fairly constant, reducing the chances of prolapse. Try this:

Breathe in slowly, allowing your tummy to rise. Exhale slowly, keeping your body relaxed.
Repeat, but this time, as you breathe in, pay attention to what’s happening in your pelvic floor area.
As you breathe in next time, try to ‘let go’ your pelvic area. Sometimes visualising it opening, or imagining relaxing to empty your bladder can help.
Next, pay attention to what’s happening in the pelvic area as you exhale. You may notice a ‘lifting’ as you exhale. This should happen without any concious effort from you. Don’t worry if you don’t feel this, just try to keep your body as relaxed as possible as you allow the air to flow out of your lungs.
It’s more important to be able to feel the ‘let go’ on the inhale, as this is the first step in doing your pelvic floor exercises correctly.

And remember, it takes up to two years for your body to heal restore itself to it’s pre-pregnancy state after the birth of your baby so stick with it and don’t be discouraged if your recovery seems a little slower than you’d hoped.

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