If I Have A Prolapse, Is Surgery My Only Option?

August 4, 2023

Before I discuss treatment options (including a pelvic fitness program you've probably never heard of), let's learn about prolapse. What is a prolapse? What does it feel like? What causes it?

Prolapse is a medical term to describe the descent of an organ. This can happen in different areas of the body but in regards to the pelvic floor, it can occur in the anterior and posterior wall of the vaginal canal. There are 3 main types of prolapses: 

Cystocele: the bladder descends in the anterior wall of the vaginal canal

Rectocele: the rectum descends in the posterior wall of the vaginal canal or through the anus

Uterine: slips into the vaginal canal and can protrude outside the vagina

Many people describe symptoms of a prolapse as sensations of heaviness, pressure, a bulge in the vagina, or a “tampon feels like it is falling out”. Bladder and bowel symptoms may also be associated with a prolapse. A prolapse can be caused by weakened structures such as connective tissue and muscles. Typically it’s the result of such factors as childbirth, menopause, chronic constipation, heavy lifting, and chronic coughing. 

What are some of the treatment options for prolapse? 

Surgery: Yes there is an option for surgical procedure to repair prolapse and are recommended for particular cases of prolapse. However, not all of the procedures are successful in the long term. There is evidence that shows that people who opt for a surgical procedure have better outcomes and success rates if they went through pelvic floor PT prior to the procedure and following to manage intra-abdominal pressure, improve strength, and muscle function.

Pessary: A pessary is a device that is inserted (non surgically) into the vagina to provide support and relieve prolapse symptoms. It is recommended to find a medical provider who will do a thorough assessment and fitting. It may take a couple fittings to find the one that works best for you. Remember that one size does not fit all! 

Pelvic Floor PT: A pelvic floor physical therapist will assess your posture, breathing mechanics, pelvic floor muscle tension and motor control, and other regions of the body that may be influencing your prolapse symptoms. In some cases, it may be necessary to have a fitting of a pessary to use in combination with pelvic floor PT.

Hypopressives / Low Pressure Fitness: Increase in intra-abdominal pressure is one of the main causes of prolapse and can be managed through a revolutionary movement system called Low Pressure Fitness. This system of mindfulness exercises applies the hypopressive breathing technique to create a change in pressure (a suctioning effect) with a reflexive activation of the pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles. This "abdominal vacuum" can help with symptoms of prolapse. In some cases, it can actually reverse the condition to some extent.

The point is, you have options. Contact us at Activcore Littleton to get help now.

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

Dr. Chelsea Speegle

Physical Therapist
Chelse Speegle is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) who specializes in pelvic health with a particular interest in helping pregnant and postpartum moms. She works primarily at Activcore in Littleton, Colorado which is located inside the Womens Health Care Associates OBGYN clinic.
FULL PROFILE

BLOGS BY SAME AUTHOR

What is a Diastasis Recti Abdominis and Can I Prevent It?

What is a diastasis? Most people know the diastasis as a separation of the rectus abdominis muscle. While this is not completely wrong, it is also not completely true either. A diastasis is actually a thinning of the linea alba which is a connective tissue sheath that lies in the middle of the abdominal wall and connects the abdominal muscles.

Read MORE

When Can I See a Physical Therapist After Giving Birth?

Easy answer: as soon as you want! Generally we wait 6 weeks postpartum to begin pelvic floor physical therapy. However, this applies to assessing and treating the pelvic floor muscles only. There are other regions of the body (hips, spine, shoulders, etc.) that are affected during pregnancy and the birthing process which can affect your posture, strength, stability and mobility.

Read MORE

Physical Therapy During Pregnancy

You may or may not have heard that you can see a physical therapist for prenatal care. The big question is, what can a pelvic floor physical therapist do for the prenatal population? A lot actually! Pelvic floor PT is not exclusive to the pelvic floor region during pregnancy. Below is a list of some of the things that a pelvic floor physical therapist can treat for an individual who is pregnant that are non-specific to the pelvic floor.

Read MORE

3 Simple Exercises to Start Immediately After Having A Baby

You crossed the finish line of your pregnancy journey! Three trimesters of hormone changes and muscles adapting to the changes of load while the baby gradually grows. But what about the "fourth trimester" or postpartum period? Typically our instructions are to rest and let the body recover for 6 weeks after having a baby. However, what if we included gentle exercises as part of that rest and recovery?

Read MORE

I Had A Baby And Now I Am Leaking... Help Me!

You have probably heard some people say, “Oh it is normal to leak after having a baby, that is just what happens.” While it is common to experience leaking, this shouldn't become your new normal. As a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic health, I am trained to help new moms overcome incontinence. I also work with moms who have been dealing with bladder issues for many years.

Read MORE

Enhancing Men’s Health with Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy 

Pelvic floor physical therapy treatment has been associated with treatment for women especially since the pelvic floor is directly impacted from childbearing and birthing. However, men can also benefit from pelvic floor physical therapy. This blog will discuss some of the symptoms that men may experience in the pelvic floor that can be addressed by a pelvic health physical therapist.

Read MORE

If I Have A Prolapse, Is Surgery My Only Option?

Before I discuss treatment options (including a pelvic fitness program you've probably never heard of), let's learn about prolapse. What is a prolapse? What does it feel like? What causes it?‍ Prolapse is a medical term to describe the descent of an organ. This can happen in different areas of the body but in regards to the pelvic floor, it can occur in the anterior and posterior wall of the vaginal canal. There are 3 main types of prolapses...

Read MORE

How Can Physical Therapy Help Erectile Dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction (ED) may occur anytime after the age of 20. By age 40, the prevalence increases by 10% each decade. ED can be caused organically such as vascular and neuro dysfunctions, post surgical, post trauma, hormones, and medications. ED can also be due to psychological dysfunction, age, pain-related, activities, situational, and behavior.

Read MORE