Are you trying to avoid pelvic prolapse surgery?
Would you like to reverse your prolapse?
This Physiotherapy prolapse information teaches you about:
- How to improve your pelvic prolapse without surgery
- Your non-surgical prolapse treatment options
- How to avoid your prolapse worsening
Can Pelvic Prolapse be Reversed?
Yes! Pelvic organ prolapse can be treated and improve without surgery in some women.
Prolapse results when the pelvic floor tissues are overstretched and weakened, just like overstretching a spring.
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 muscles 1 so they have decreased internal support to hold their pelvic organs in position.
In some women with mild to moderate prolapse (i.e. pelvic prolapse sitting above the vaginal entrance rather than beyond) scientific research 2 shows three months of pelvic floor muscle training reduces the severity of vaginal prolapse.
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.
Most women are still likely to benefit from pelvic exercises, especially if they are undergoing prolapse surgery and seeking to avoid repeat prolapse.
Effective Non-Surgical Prolapse Treatment2 Includes:
1. Training the pelvic floor muscles to increase prolapse support
2. Getting fitted with a support pessary
3. Modifying lifestyle factors that worsen prolapse problems (e.g. straining with constipation, heavy lifting and inappropriate general exercise)
4. Learning The Knack exercise technique to reduce prolapse strain (see video below)
This video teaches you how to do ‘The Knack’ exercise technique for prolapse treatment.
Prolapse Exercises e-Book
International best selling prolapse exercise guide for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery.
Prolapse Exercises teaches you how to:
- Exercise safely after prolapse surgery
- Reduce your risk or repeat prolapse
- Avoid unsafe exercises
- Choose pelvic floor safe exercises
- Reduce your risk of prolapse worsening
- Improve prolapse support
- Increase your strength and fitness
- Strengthen your core
- Lose weight
Can Non-Surgical Treatment Relieve Prolapse Symptoms?
Yes! Pelvic prolapse symptoms can be relieved without surgery in some women, particulalry the severity of symptoms and how frequently they occur.
Scientific research shows that women can reduce how often they experience prolapse symptoms with pelvic floor muscle training 2.
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 pelvic prolapse and relieve symptoms of 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 can be completed any time and there are no adverse side effects if they are done correctly.
More Tips for Treating Prolapse Symptoms
There are a number of ways to take pressure off your prolapse and relieve prolapse symptoms including:
- Losing weight especially abdominal fat (if you are overweight)
- Correcting your posture
- Managing your bowels using the correct bowel emptying technique
- Using a support pessary
- Managing 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.
For more details on how to treat these prolapse symptoms listed please refer to further reading and videos (below).
Will Your 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 whereas others experience prolapse worsening to the extent that they require prolapse repair surgery.
Pelvic organ prolapse tends 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 you may like to seek the guidance of a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michelle Kenway
Michelle Kenway is an Australian Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist.
Michelle lectures to health professionals and promotes community health through her writing, radio segments, online exercise videos and community presentations. She holds dual post graduate physiotherapy qualifications in women’s health and exercise.
Further Reading & Related Videos
1 DeLancey J, Morgan D, Fenner D, et al. (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, Majida M, Engh M, & 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.