Women’s Health

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition where some organ within the female pelvis is not as well supported as it should be, the prolapse can be the bladder bowel or uterus or a combination of these can prolapse.  This can happen for many reasons including genetic history, exercise, hormones, pregnancy, childbirth, menopause and constipation.

Some common signs of pelvic organ prolapse include a pelvic heaviness or dragging sensation at the end of the day, a vaginal bulge noticed with showering or bladder bowel problems.  Many women have a prolapse without any symptoms.  These problems can worsen or lead to other issues if not addressed, and the earlier you seek treatment and advice the better. 

Prolapse can be bladder (cystoceole or anterior wall), bowel (rectoceole or posterior wall) uterus, vagina or rectal prolapse.  Some women will have more than one type of pelvic organ prolapse.  Approximately 30% of newly post natal women will have some prolapse, often this gets better, but many women need help to resolve or reduce their prolapse.

A Pelvic health physiotherapist or Womens Health physiotherapist will be able to detect if you have any prolapse.  There are many ways to treat prolapse and protect your pelvic floor muscle.

With the correct assessment and treatment of prolapse you will be able to continue or progress your exercise goals safely without damaging or increasing a prolapse.

Many types of prolapse, many can be improved or resolved with Womens Health physio.

  • Bladder prolapse
  • Bowel prolapse
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Uterine prolapse
  • Increased awareness of prolapse with exercise or standing for long periods
  • Impact on intimacy
  • Difficulty emptying bladder or bowel
  • Leakage from bladder or bowel
  • Sensation of pelvic dragging or heaviness,
  • Feeling of vaginal bulge. 
  • There may be no symptoms of prolapse, but unfortunately 1 in 2 women will have some pelvic organ prolapse

Common causes for pelvic organ prolapse include:

  • Effect of Pregnancy & childbirth
  • Having 4 or more children
  • Giving birth to large babies
  • Poor pelvic floor muscle function
  • History of Constipation
  • Poor fluid & toileting habits
  • Chronic cough
  • Obesity
  • High impact sport or heavy lifting
  • Incorrect activation of pelvic floor muscle
  • Genetics

Treatment will include:

  • assessment and pelvic floor strengthening programme..
  • Education and lifestyle advice
  • Biofeedback and other therapies to improve and minimise any prolapse symptoms.