What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) is the lowering of any of the organs in the pelvic cavity including the bladder, bowel, uterus or intestines.
POP is often associated with the feeling of heaviness or fullness in the vagina or even a bulge at the vaginal entrance. POP can bring on symptoms such as pelvic pain, lower back pain, pain or discomfort during sex, incontinence or an inability to keep a tampon in.
How common is it?
Current research suggests that POP is unfortunately more common than we think. Research has shown that:
- Approximately 1 in 3 women will have a Stage 2-3 Pelvic Organ Prolapse
- Approximately 1 in 9 women will ultimately require surgery for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
- The risk of prolapse increases with age:
- Age 60 = 1 in 9 women
- Age 70 = 1 in 6 women
- Age 80 = 1 in 5 women
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse surgery accounts for three times as many surgeries as Stress Urinary Incontinence surgeries
- 1 in 3 women who have Pelvic Organ Prolapse surgery will need repeat surgery
- 75% of women have some degree of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
There are various treatment options available for women with POP. There are two main components of addressing POP:
- Increase upward support of organs
- Pelvic floor strengthening
- Teaching ‘The Knack’
- Use of pessaries (vaginal support device)
- Reduce downward pressure on organs
- Advice on inappropriate exercise
- Advice to rest with feet elevated for 10-20mins in the middle of the day
- Advice on managing constipation/respiratory conditions
- Weight loss
- Advice on avoiding heavy lifting