Why aren't we talking about this?
There's something happening to almost one in two women who have been pregnant. So, why aren't we talking about it more?
I'm talking to you about vaginal prolapse.
You see, when you get pregnant, your pelvic floor is weakened by extra weight and hormone changes. And then, the birth part. If you've had more than one baby, if your baby was big or if you had to push for a longer time than usual this can further weaken your pelvic floor.
There are also quite a few factors that make it more likely for you to have a vaginal prolapse, and these include if someone in your family has had a prolapse, you are overweight, you cough a lot or strongly or regularly lift heavy things.
But what are the signs of prolapse, how would I know if it's happened to me? Well, many women don't notice a prolapse when it first occurs or if the organ has not moved far.
If your prolapse has moved further down, you might feel a combination of things including: • Seeing or feeling a lump inside your vagina or poking out of it • Feel a heavy or dragging sensation • Achy pain in your pelvic region or back • Difficulty going to the toilet • Discomfort, pain or less sensation during sex • A reoccurring urinary tract infection (UTI)
If you suspect you might have a prolapse, your doctor or GP can diagnose this by doing a combination of things such as asking you questions about your health history and giving you a body examination.
If you're in the one in two that has a prolapse, and you feel the symptoms of it, you will likely be recommended treatment. Treatment can be very different depending on several factors, including which organ has moved (prolapse type), what stage your prolapse is in and whether you wish to have more children.
Some of the treatments available include: • Lifestyle changes: This might consist of stopping certain activities that may cause prolapse or make it worse. These might involve losing weight, lifting less and quitting smoking.
• Physiotherapy: Through the design of a pelvic floor exercise program, you can strengthen your pelvic floor that supports your organs. This aims to fix prolapses.
• A pessary: This is a small plastic or silicon support that is placed inside your vagina to help hold up the prolapsed organ. While this doesn't fix the problem at hand, it can help to reduce or lessen the symptoms of prolapse.
• Surgery: There are several types of prolapse surgery, but all of them try to fix the prolapse and prevent it from happening again.
Vaginal prolapse is a common condition, and the biggest cause of it is pregnancy and birth. So if it happens to you, know that you are not alone and there is support available to you.
So, let's open up the conversation to you: did you suffer from a vaginal prolapse after pregnancy or birth? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below 👇