Over 50% of women who have given birth have experienced some level of Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). A number far too high.
What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)?
To understand what Pelvic Organ Prolapse is, it’s best first to know the organs held in place by the pelvic
floor. The bladder, vagina, uterus and bowel are all supported by fascia and ligaments, as well as a group of
muscles that make up the pelvic floor. These supportive tissues help to keep the organs in place and join
them to the walls of the pelvis, but when they become weak or damaged, pelvic organs can bulge down into
the vagina or rectum, causing prolapse.
There are three different types of POP:
1. Cystocele – where the pelvic organs bulge into the front wall of the vagina
2. Rectocele or Enterocele – where the pelvic organs prolapse through the back vaginal wall
3. Uterine Prolapse – where the uterus prolapses downwards into the vagina
Depending on where the prolapse occurs, symptoms may vary. For example, when it happens in the front wall
of the vagina, bladder symptoms may be experienced, and when it happens towards the back wall, bowel
symptoms often present.
Reduce your chance by knowing the risk factors
Essentially, anything that places pressure on the pelvic floor and causes muscles to become weak or
damaged can result in Pelvic Organ Prolapse. The main cause is childbirth, with other risk factors including
high infant birth weight, family history, age, constipation, heavy lifting, menopause and more.
The best way to prevent weak and damaged pelvic muscles is to keep your muscles strong. Like any part of
the body, the pelvic floor can be strengthened with the right exercises, and the PeriCoach trainer can help
you do that.
Know the signs and symptoms
• A heavy sensation or dragging feeling in your vagina
• Discomfort during sex
• Unusual bladder function
• Difficulty emptying the bowel
• Regular Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, please speak with your GP. They may give you an exercise
treatment plan or refer you to a specialised physiotherapist or gynaecologist. Find out what to ask in our
Guide to Visiting The Gynaecologist.
Your treatment plan
Although prevention is the best way to avoid Pelvic Organ Prolapse, symptoms can be managed and treated
once diagnosed. Your recovery may include pelvic floor muscle training, lifestyle changes, vaginal pessaries
or surgery to repair torn tissues and ligaments.
Pelvic floor exercises can strengthen the pelvic floor over time by tightening and lifting the muscles. If your
muscles are extremely weak or you’re unsure how to exercise them, additional treatment may be beneficial,
like support from a physiotherapist, electrical stimulation, or biofeedback training like PeriCoach. Speak to
your GP about what the right option for you is.
If lifestyle changes are recommended, you should avoid heavy lifting, make better nutrition decisions to
reduce constipation, stop smoking, and do low-impact exercises.
Your doctor or specialist pelvic floor physiotherapist may suggest a pessary, a removable device inserted into
the vagina to support the walls of your uterus and vagina.
If non-surgical options do not improve your prolapse, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair the
The most important thing you can do to prevent Pelvic Organ Prolapse is to exercise your pelvic muscles for
improved strength and control regularly. If you’re concerned about Pelvic Organ Prolapse, seek medical
attention. We recommend discussing the risks and benefits of each treatment option with your GP – so you
can stay informed and make educated decisions about your health.