Updated: Jul 17
Prolapse refers to movement of the organs in the body, which can include the bladder, uterus or colon, down toward the vaginal opening.
This is very common after childbirth. In fact, some experts believe all women will have some degree of prolapse after pushing with coaching to bear down, and/or a vaginal delivery. This often resolves within the first three months postpartum.
But up to 50% of women will have ongoing symptoms postpartum that will need addressing in order to improve.
Healing prolapse without surgery depends on the severity of the prolapse, time since developing prolapse, and willingness to put in the effort.
I have seen MANY women completely heal their prolapse without surgery. Others are able to manage their symptoms and do what they love without fear of making it worse.
The earlier you address your prolapse and the more committed you are to changing your movement patterns, the better results you are going to have.
Symptoms of Prolapse
A prolapse feels like a heaviness in the vaginal area. It is not typically painful. It can feel like you are sitting on a ball or that something is sitting at the opening of the vagina.
In some cases you can see a prolapse at the vaginal opening. It will look like shiny tissue occluding the opening of the vagina. It is actually vaginal tissue that you are seeing, but on the other side is an organ.
Prolapse and Stress Incontinence
I often see women postpartum have symptoms of prolapse and stress incontinence (pee leaks with transitional movements, jumping, running, or sneezing).
This is a big indicator to me that strength is being generated from bearing down.
This means that rather than using good breathing mechanics and abdominal support, we are sending force down and out the vaginal opening whenever we lift, jump, stand up off the floor, or even get angry at our spouse!
We may also be bearing down to use the toilet, especially if you are hovering or hurrying.
Addressing Bearing Down
A lifestyle of bearing down is more important to address than even pelvic floor strength itself! That's right, when it comes to prolapse, thousands of kegels will not fix your movement pattern dysfunction.
We learn to bear down from postural issues (forward head, rounded shoulders, upper ab gripping), poor breathing mechanics, prolonged sitting, and abdominal weakness.
And when we develop strength in this pattern we use it for EVERYTHING!
It can take some time to re-learn how to move, strengthen up the abs and then stop bearing down in daily life...
But trust me, it's worth it.
Once you no longer bear down in your daily life, your pee leak and prolapse symptoms will improve. From there, it's time to build real strength through lifting and working out.
This will help reinforce a healthy core and set you up for success for the rest of your life.
In my experience, prolapse that is addressed early has much better outcomes, but it is never too late. I have seen prolapses heal completely even years postpartum, and after subsequent births.
The most difficult time to heal a prolapse is in the post-menopausal population with women who have been dealing with prolapse for many years.
There is a time and place for surgery, but it is a major decision and is not always successful. If you are considering surgery, building strength and fixing your movement patterns is key before and after surgery to increase your success.
And even then, there is room for improvement.
Do not give up on fixing your prolapse. If what you have been doing isn't working, find someone who can help you. You are worth it. Do not give up!
If you are dealing with pelvic floor issues, book your session today!