Woman with Pelvic Organ Prolapse pelvic floor pain

Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)

The pelvic floor muscles play a key role in supporting our bladder, uterus and rectum.

Childbirth, surgery, heavy and repetitive lifting, and hormones can all contribute to weakened tissues in the pelvic floor which can cause one or more of the organs to descend into the vaginal canal which is called Pelvic Organ Prolapse.

Patients describe this condition as feeling like something is falling out. Other patients report a low back heaviness or pressure that increases as the day goes on. Sometimes they can see a bulge coming out from the vaginal canal.

More severe prolapse may require surgery, and surgery is in fact commonly offered as treatment for prolapse. Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help avoid surgery by reducing the prolapse, or resolving the symptoms, making it less bothersome.

If surgery is still necessary, then physiotherapy before and afterwards helps to optimize and maintain the results, decreasing the chance the surgery needs to be repeated.

Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy will include strengthening the muscles that support the involved organs and to restore normal mobility and function to the pelvic floor. We also educate on how to prevent future damage and treat whatever symptoms the prolapse is causing.

POP symptoms:

  • Vaginal, rectal or pelvic pressure

  • Tampon slipping out

  • Feeling a bulge at the opening of the vagina

  • Urinary incontinence (stress or urgency)

  • Difficulty emptying bladder or urine retention

  • Fecal incontinence

  • Difficulty emptying bowel and / or constipation

  • Abdominal pain, back pain or pelvic girdle pain

  • Painful intercourse

  • Pressure or pain that increases with long periods of standing

POP stats:

  • 50% of women have some degree of POP after giving birth (S. Hagen and D. Stark 2011)

  • 50% of women who have surgery for POP will experience a recurrence (Whiteside et al 2004)

  • 30% of those who have surgery will have second surgery within two years (Salvatore et al 2010)

  • Pelvic floor muscle physiotherapy is effective at reducing POP symptoms and should be the first line of treatment for women with urinary incontinence and POP (Bo & Hilde 2013Dumoulin & Hay-Smith 2010)

“The world needs strong women. Women who will lift and build others, who will love and be loved. Women who live bravely, both tender and fierce. Women of indomitable will.”
— Amy Tenney

Click the following links to learn about other Common Issues:
IncontinencePrenatal  |  Postpartum  |  Pelvic Pain  |  Cancer Rehabilitation