Are you trying to avoid pelvic prolapse surgery?
Are seeking to reduce your prolapse symptoms?
Would you like to reverse your prolapse repair?
Read on now for Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist answers to these questions:
- Can pelvic prolapse be reversed without surgery? How?
- Can non-surgical treatment relieve prolapse symptoms? How?
- Will my prolapse worsen over time? How soon? How to avoid prolapse worsening?
Can Pelvic Prolapse be Reversed?
Yes! Pelvic prolapse can be treated and improve without surgery in some women.
Prolapse results from stretched and weakened supporting pelvic floor tissues, just like overstretching a piece of elastic.
Your pelvic floor muscles should work to help support your pelvic organs (i.e. bladder, uterus and rectum). Women with prolapse have weak pelvic floor muscles1 so they have decreased internal support.
Recent scientific research2 showed that three months of pelvic floor muscle training reduced the severity of vaginal prolapse in some women with mild to moderate prolapse (i.e. pelvic prolapse sitting above the vaginal entrance rather than beyond).
Proven effective prolapse treatment2 includes:
- Training the pelvic floor muscles to increase prolapse support (outlined below)
- Learning The Knack exercise technique to reduce prolapse strain
- Modifying lifestyle factors that worsen prolapse problems (e.g. straining with constipation, heavy lifting and inappropriate general exercise)
In women with more severe prolapse problems (i.e. prolapse protruding below the vaginal entrance) pelvic floor muscle training is less effective in reversing prolapse. These women are still likely to benefit from pelvic exercises, especially if they are undergoing prolapse surgery and are seeking to avoid repeat prolapse.
Can Non-Surgical Treatment Relieve Prolapse Symptoms?
Yes! The frequency and severity of pelvic prolapse symptoms can be relieved without surgery in some women.
Scientific research2 has shown that women can reduce how often they experience prolapse symptoms with pelvic floor muscle training. Some of the most common prolapse symptoms i.e. vaginal bulging and heaviness that are often the main indicators for prolapse surgery have also been reduced with pelvic floor muscle training.
How much Pelvic Floor Muscle Training for Results?
Pelvic floor muscle training to reverse the stage of prolapse and relieve vaginal bulging and heaviness involves:
• Performing 3 sets (groups) of daily pelvic floor exercises
• Repeating your exercises 8-12 times in a row
• Contracting your pelvic floor muscles strongly with every exercise
If you are suffering from prolapse problems, pelvic floor exercises can help you take back some control over your body. These muscle training exercises cost you nothing and there are no adverse side effects if they are done correctly.
For more information about pelvic floor muscle training for prolapse refer to Prolapse Exercises by Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway
Additional strategies for alleviating prolapse symptoms:
- Losing weight especially abdominal fat (if you are overweight)
- Correcting poor posture
- Managing your bowels using correct bowel emptying technique
- Using a support pessary
- Managing of chronic chest conditions that cause coughing
- Modifying adverse lifestyle factors (e.g. using safe lifting techniques)
- Staying strong and fit with pelvic floor safe exercises
Will my Pelvic Prolapse Worsen?
Unfortunately there is currently no way of predicting whether a woman’s pelvic organ prolapse will worsen over time or how quickly.There is no one rule fits all when it comes to prolapse worsening.
Some women don’t experience prolapse worsening over time, managing their prolapse and maintaining an active life. Others find that their prolapse worsens to the extent that they require repair surgery.
Pelvic organ prolapse does tend to progress as women increase in age3. This suggests that life-long prolapse management involving pelvic floor muscle training is important for women living with prolapse problems who are seeking to avoid prolapse surgery.
- Pelvic floor muscle training is a scientifically proven effective non-surgical pelvic prolapse treatment for some women in the short-term at least.
- You may be able to avoid pelvic prolapse surgery with pelvic floor muscle training if you can relieve those prolapse symptoms that are the main indicators for repair surgery.
If you’re not sure about how to proceed with pelvic floor training to manage your pelvic prolapse then why not seek the guidance of a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michelle Kenway
Michelle Kenway is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and author of Prolapse Exercises. This complete exercise guide is especially for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery seeking to successfully train their pelvic floor muscles, exercise safely and protect their prolapse.
1 DeLancey JO, Morgan DM, Fenner DE, etal.(2007) Comparison of levator ani muscle defects and function in women with and without pelvic organ prolapse. Obstetrics & Gynecology;109:295-302.
2 Brækken, I. H., Majida, M., Engh, M. E., & Bø, K. (2010). Can pelvic floor muscle training reverse pelvic organ prolapse and reduce prolapse symptoms? An assessor-blinded, randomized, controlled trial. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 203(2), 170-e1.
3 Hunskaar S, Burgio K, Clark A, et al. (2005)Epidemiology of POP. In: Abrams P, Cardozo L, Khoury S, Wein A, eds. Incontinence. Plymouth,UK: Health Publication Ltd; 290-8.