Discovering you have pelvic organ prolapse may give rise to negative emotions, and raise a lot of questions.
A common question is also: Can pelvic organ prolapse go away on its own? Let’s explore the answers.
How You Know You Have Prolapse
The organs in your pelvis are held in place by pelvic floor muscles. These act like a hammock that holds your bladder, colon and uterus in place. But there are times that the muscles become weak and that can lead to a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse.
Prolapse means that the organs have slipped down, or out of place. A common type of pelvic organ prolapse is bladder prolapse, which is when the bladder pushes down and against the wall of the vagina. But because the organs are connected to each other, they often drop down together. Sometimes they slip so far that they bulge out of the vaginal opening.1
Symptoms of prolapse are related to your bladder and bowel, such as incontinence, constipation, or difficulty urinating. You might feel pressure or heaviness in your pelvis or lower abdomen. You may even feel or see a bulge at the opening of the vagina.
Prolapse is common and treatable. It’s important to seek medical attention to be properly diagnosed and discuss treatment options.
Treatment for Prolapse
There are different stages of severity of prolapse, which are defined by how far the bladder, womb or bowel have dropped down in the pelvis. In a first-degree or mild prolapse, it may even go away again after a few months or years.1
But it’s also true that it may gradually get worse over time.The treatment options for prolapses include pelvic floor exercises, vaginal pessaries and surgery.
Pelvic floor physical therapy, such as Kegel exercises, may be enough to relieve prolapse symptoms.2 Kegel exercises can actually strengthen your pelvic floor, and can be used for prevention and treatment. To do them, squeeze as if you are holding in urine or gas and hold for three seconds. Repeat several times, and do them up to four times a day.3
If prolapse becomes severe, surgery may be required. But in mild cases or if treated before symptoms worsen, pelvic organ prolapse may go away.
Prevention of Prolapse
Lifestyle changes can also help pelvic organ prolapse go away on its own, or help prevent it from occurring.
Besides doing Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, here are some other lifestyle suggestions:
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Eat a healthy diet
- Stop smoking
- Use proper lifting techniques4
Staying fit with exercise is good for your overall well-being. If you have a prolapse, you should avoid some exercises, like lifting heavy weights and high-impact aerobic activities involving jumping.
But you can do Kegel exercises, and according to Dr. Anne Fabiny, the Editor in Chief of Harvard Women’s Health Watch, “After a few months, you may find that your pelvic floor is strong enough to let you increase the types of exercises you do.”3
Ask your doctor
Before diagnosing yourself, or making any decisions about exercises or other treatments, it’s important to seek medical advice. Use our Physician Finder to find a pelvic floor specialist in your area, or ask your family doctor for diagnosis, treatment and support.