17th March, 2017
Pelvic organ prolapse is extremely common and one in two women are actually likely to experience this condition.
Having a prolapse means that one or more of your pelvic organs – your bladder, rectum or uterus – descend into your vagina. You may have the sensation of ‘a bulge’ or ‘heaviness’ in the vagina, which may or may not be visible.
It’s not life threatening and for many women it doesn’t cause any problem at all. However, for some women prolapse can cause bladder, bowel or even sexual difficulties.
Prolapse is especially common if you’ve had children for two main reasons. Firstly, as your baby grows there is an increase in pressure down onto your pelvic organs. Secondly any injury to the pelvic floor muscles, like a tear, increases the chance of prolapse especially if active labour has been prolonged or if you required forceps or an episiotomy to assist your baby’s delivery.
If you are in the first six weeks after having a baby, allow your body rest and recover as much as possible to encourage your body to heal. Take the help that is offered, eat nutritious protein packed food and stay well hydrated.
Prolapse tends to worsen towards the end of the day especially if you’ve been on your feet all day. Try resting on your back with a pillow under your hips to take the pressure off your pelvic organs and relieve your symptoms:
Avoid bearing down or straining to open your bowels. Many women are constipated immediately post-partum and it may be helpful to take a gentle laxative for the first few weeks to soften your stool and make it easier to pass. Make sure you are sitting on the toilet in a relaxed position with both feet on the floor and your knees slightly higher than your hips. Lean forward and rest your elbows on your thighs. Apply a gentle pressure downwards as you exhale. Do not hold your breath or brace your abdominals.
It can be difficult for mums to avoid heavy lifting, squatting or running but try these tips for lifting more safely:
Inhale to prepare, exhale and gently draw in your pelvic floor muscles as you bend your hips and knees, keeping your back straight. Breathe out to tighten your pelvic floor muscles again and return to standing.
Pelvic floor muscle and gentle core strengthening exercises are absolutely vital but avoid abdominal crunches as they will increase the pressure on your pelvic organs. We recommend a safe, targeted programme of exercises prescribed by a specialist women’s health physiotherapist to help you reach your fitness goals.
As always feel free to contact us if you have any questions,
The Physiofit Team!
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