The Pelvic Floor Disorder that I am highlighting today is pelvic organ prolapse or simply "vaginal prolapse".
Who gets it? 50% of women who have had a baby! One in ten women will need surgery at some time in their life and unfortunately the surgery doesn't always last a lifetime. That’s a lot of women with prolapse.
As a specialist physiotherapist I have a big interest in what can be done to help women with prolapse stay fit and active and avoid surgery.
There's great new research showing that a specially designed pelvic floor muscle training program can reduce the bulge and the discomfort of prolapse.
There's also research showing that women who are overweight are more at risk of developing a prolapse 20 years after they have had their babies.
Many women with prolapse exercise less because it is uncomfortable, but exercising less puts on more weight! That is a problem!
Have you already been diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse?
You may be interested to know that working on the pelvic floor muscles is recommended before surgery - and can help your recovery after surgery. Pelvic floor physiotherapy (eg from qualified pelvic floor physiotherapist at Flex) is the way to go and is what is recommended by the International Continence Society.
What to do about prolapse?
1. Get help with an individual pelvic floor muscle training program
2. Maybe a vaginal support pessary would be a helpful device which can be fitted by a trained pelvic floor physiotherapist. A support pessary allows women to exercise and do all the things they need to do to run their lives and stay fit.
3. Get trim and lose weight if your waist circumference is more than 80cm
4. Build strength around the pelvis - strong outside muscles will help to build strong inside muscles. But beware of activities that make the prolapse symptoms of bulging worse - for example, situps may push the prolapse out.
Get a pelvic floor coach (a Pelvic Floor Physio) to help you with this plan and achieve your goal.
Please note that the Relaxation exercises on this site are not designed to help women with vaginal prolapse but they won't do any harm and may help women become more aware of their pelvic floor muscles. A specific strengthening exercise program is what is needed for prolapse but be sure to get help from a pelvic floor physiotherapy expert.