The pelvic floor muscles together with fascial and ligamentous elements work as a support system for the pelvic viscera: the bladder, uterus and rectum. If you are diagnosed with a prolapse, this means that an organ descends through the vaginal canal. The amount of descent is quantified as a grade of 1 to 4, with 4 being the most severe where the organ is fully outside of the vagina.
Symptoms of Prolapse / Organ Descent
- Pressure in the vagina or pelvis
- Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
- A lump at the opening of the vagina
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
Causes of Prolapse / Organ Descent
- Obstetric: the number and type (instrumental) of vaginal births
- Other contributing factors: age (menopause), weight, genetics, and high impact sports
If Left Untreated
Patients in the initial stages of prolapse need to be treated in order to avoid the worsening of the condition. If the organ descent increases in severity, physical therapy will not be an option anymore, and the only solution will be surgical, with higher risk of complications and side effects.
How We Treat Prolapse / Organ Descent
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy is effective for prolapses in stages 1 and 2 and its focus is the relief of pressure by means of hypopressive abdominal exercises, and the improvement of tone and endurance of the pelvic floor muscles to help maintain the position of the organs in the pelvis (1: Efficacy of pelvic floor muscle training and hypopressive exercises for treating pelvic organ prolapse in women: randomized controlled trial).