Prolapse is a condition that affects many women, and it can be a source of embarrassment and discomfort. The good news is that you don’t have to suffer in silence, and many physiotherapy techniques can help you manage and treat prolapse effectively.

Prolapse is a condition that occurs when the muscles and tissues that support your pelvic organs become weakened, causing your pelvic organs to drop down into your vaginal area. This can happen when the pelvic muscles are weakened due to pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, ageing, chronic coughing, or heavy lifting.

Prolapse can affect different parts of the pelvic region, such as the bladder, uterus, rectum, or the top of the vagina. The severity of prolapse varies from person to person, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain and incontinence.

Women who experience prolapse may notice a bulging sensation or feel like something is coming out of their vagina. They may also experience discomfort during sex or have difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement. Prolapse can also cause urinary or faecal incontinence, which can have a significant impact on a woman’s quality of life.

While prolapse is a common condition among women, it’s not something that you have to suffer through. With the right physiotherapy techniques and lifestyle changes, you can manage and treat prolapse effectively.

Physiotherapy can be an effective treatment option for women who are experiencing prolapse. Physiotherapists who specialise in women’s health can work with you to develop a customized treatment plan based on your specific needs and goals.

Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises
One of the primary causes of prolapse is weakened pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support your pelvic organs, including your bladder, uterus, and rectum. When they weaken, your organs can drop down into your vagina, causing discomfort and pain.

Physiotherapy can help strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and improve your pelvic floor health. By doing pelvic floor muscle exercises, you can increase the strength and tone of your muscles, which can help support your pelvic organs and reduce the symptoms of prolapse.

The pelvic floor muscles are like a trampoline and work to support the bladder, vagina, womb and rectum, holding them in the correct place. These muscles should react automatically to close the bladder outlet when you cough or sneeze. Particularly during childbirth, these muscles can be damaged and the muscles are no longer as effective at controlling the bladder outlet.

The ISCP recommend trying the following steps:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent or sit in a chair with your back supported
  • Imagine that you are trying to stop yourself from passing wind and at the same time trying to stop your flow of urine mid-stream. The feeling is one of ‘squeeze and lift’. Closing and drawing up the back and front passages
  • Build this up to holding for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times. As the muscles get stronger you will feel a stronger squeeze and lift
  • Now do some quick strong lifts of your pelvic floor. Repeat until the muscles get tired.
  • Keep breathing normally
  • Try to avoid clenching your buttocks or legs
  • Relax the muscles completely after each exercise

Here are some of the HSE’s top tips:

  • do not go to the toilet ‘just in case’ – learn to take control of your bladder and have confidence
  • drink normally – you should drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day if you are pregnant
  • avoid fizzy drinks, artificial sweeteners and alcohol
  • watch your weight – being overweight can put more strain on your muscles
  • avoid constipation and straining by eating more fibre in your diet
  • remind yourself to do the exercises by setting an alarm on your phone or putting a sticker on your fridge, car mirror or bathroom mirror

Common mistakes when trying to exercise your pelvic floor muscles include:

  • clenching your bum muscles – your bum should not move much when you are doing the exercises
  • squeezing your inner thigh muscles
  • sucking in your tummy – a gentle tension below the naval is fine but anything more than this is not helpful
  • not relaxing the muscles between squeezes
  • holding your breath – try counting out loud while squeezing to avoid this
  • bearing or pushing down on your breath while squeezing

Biofeedback is a technique that uses sensors to monitor your pelvic floor muscles. This helps you understand how to contract and relax your muscles effectively.

Electrical Stimulation
Electrical stimulation involves using a small device to stimulate your pelvic floor muscles. This can help improve muscle strength and tone.

Lifestyle Changes
Your physiotherapist may recommend lifestyle changes that can help manage prolapse. These changes may include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding heavy lifting
  • Avoiding constipation
  • Staying hydrated

A pessary is a device that you insert into your vagina to support your pelvic organs. Your physiotherapist can help you choose the right pessary for you.

It’s essential to remember that prolapse is a treatable condition, and with the right physiotherapy techniques, you can manage your symptoms effectively. If you’re experiencing prolapse, don’t suffer in silence. Contact us at Portobello Physio in Dublin to book an appointment with a physiotherapist experienced in women’s health. Let us help you take control of your health and well-being today!

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