Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Please see the drop down menu for the different prolapse types
According to some clinical evidence, pelvic organ prolapse will affect 50% of the female population at some time during their lives. However, only around 6.5% are become symptomatic.
Many women find that they have a prolapse only when they go for their internal examination.
There are several types of prolapses and which women may experience one or several at the same time. It is a debilitating and embarrassing condition which millions of women face daily.
Pelvic organ prolapse is where the fascia and pelvic floor muscles no longer support the internal organs, which lead to the organs descending into the vaginal walls. (hernia)
What are the different types of prolapses?
What are the different grades of prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapses are graded on the measurement in cm of where they drop down.
Grade 1 is a slight prolapse
Grade 2 is slight to moderate prolapse
Grade 3 is a moderate to sever prolapse
Grade 4 is a severe prolapse otherwise known as a procidentia where the organ is completely everted out of the vagina.
Is surgery the only solution?
No! Surgery should be the last resolution, and even then surgery isn't always successful.
Conservative management should be the first course of action. A women's health physiotherapist who specialises in pelvic organ prolapse is a good place to start.
What methods are used?
There are several options for you if you have a prolapse and this will depend on several factors.
A pessary is a medical device which can be self managed or left in the body for a number of months and removed by your practitioner who has had the necessary training.
Pessaries come in all different shapes and sizes. Usually a your practitioner will start off with a ring pessary as this will give a good idea of your size and if your body will support a pessary.
Sometimes it can take up to 10 visits of trying different sizes and shapes before you find the right pessary. Don't give up.
Pessaries are made from various materials, PVC, silicone, latex, galvanised rubber.
They are not a permanent fixture, but more like a quality of life support tool.
They will support the descending organs but pessaries are not there to reduce or improve the actual size, they are there to improve the symptoms.
Your physiotherapist can advise you on the best exercises to improve your core muscles. Remember it isn't just about strengthening the core, it's about improving the surrounding muscles also. Pfilates is a clinically proven method to improve overall muscle condition and reduce incontinence and pelvic organ prolapses.
Remember that if you do have surgery, exercises will have to be an ongoing integral part of your life to maintain good pelvic floor control.
There are several excellent support garments available specifically designed for pelvic organ prolapse. They can be worn at any time offering good support and comfort.