Creating Awareness about Pelvic Organ Prolapse After Giving Birth
Hi members of the Pregnancy 35+ Community!
I'm connecting to you from the Urogynecology Community; this is one of the new communities on MedHelp. Pelvic organ prolapse is an extremely common female health issue that most women aren't aware of until after they are diagnosed with it. Vaginal childbirth is the leading cause of POP; I feel strongly that all women should be aware of the causes and symptoms of POP. Of course this does not mean that all women having a vaginal delivery will get POP, just as some women who never give birth at all get POP. Women who have large birth weight babies, babies with large heads, forceps deliveries, or improperly repaired episiotomies are all predisposed to POP issues. I think our communities complement each other well am hopeful that if you have several of the symptoms of POP listed below, that you will dig into pelvic organ prolapse a bit to see if the shoe fits. Early recognition of POP will allow you more choices for treatment. The most common symptoms of POP are:
Pressure in the vagina or rectum or both
Urine retention (you have to pee, it just won't come out)
Feels like your insides are falling out (you can see a bulge of tissue at end of vagina if you look with mirror)
Pelvic or abdominal pain or discomfort
Heaviness in pelvic region
Tampons "push out"
Lack of sensation during sex.
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Thanks so much for your feedback ladies, I truly appreciate it! As Pamela B mentions, uterine prolapse is one of the five kinds of POP, there are 5 altogether. The other 4 are cystocele (bladder, most common type), rectocele (colon), enterocele (intestines), and vaginal vault (vagina caves in on itself after a hysterectomy-I wonder how many physicians bring this up prior to hysterectomy although mine didn’t and I am so glad I had my hysterectomy. I felt better 2 weeks after surgery than I felt the 2 years prior.)
Kegel exercises are one of many treatment options for POP, and they must be done properly to help, a health discussion I posted at the following link goes into Kegels in detail. Other treatment options (typically 2 or more treatments are utilized at the same time) are pessaries, pilates/pfilates core strengthening exercises, electrical stimulus, biofeedback, hormone replacement therapy, and support garments.
The biggest cause for POP is vaginal childbirth, closely followed by menopause. The other causes are chronic constipation or coughing, heavy lifting (think about how many times you pick up your babies and then grandbabies, repetitive heavy lifting), that genetic factor that Pamela mentioned and jogging or running (don’t stop running, just make sure you have internal support in when you do it).
The choice of whether or not to have surgery is a very personal one, every woman brings a unique set of circumstances and symptoms to the table and there truly is no right or wrong answer about whether to have surgery or not-it is the right choice if it is the right choice for you.
I am hopeful we can change the awareness curve for POP, this is something that will not go away on its own after you have it and so many women are not familiar with the condition, symptoms, or causes. Once we create some recognition, women will be able to detect POP at an earlier stage and get less aggressive treatment.
Typically POP is not caught in routine exams unless patients are complaining about symptoms, most physicians do not routinely check for POP. I speak with so many women on a daily basis who like me, had never heard of POP until they were diagnosed at an advanced stage.
So do your Kegels and pay attention to the signs your bodies send you ladies!
thank you this is very informitive! I have had 4 kids and I know all the pain and discomfort from doing the vaginal thing, lol. This is something I had never heard of. My mother had to have her bladder lifted because of having children. Is that the same thing as POP???
A cystocele (bladder) is one of the 5 kinds of POP. She may have had other POPs fixed as well, might want to ask her-typically all women disclose to others is the bladder issue. If you are noticing a few of the symptoms of POP, it would be a good idea to bring it up to your dr. Each baby you have increases your risk of POP (there are some women who have children who don't get POP as well); catching it early will mean more choices for treatment.
Hello. I just found this thread because I was trying to find info about vaginal "bubbles". Do you know if having those bubbles is a sign of POP as well?
I am 32 and my third baby who was 9 lbs 12oz at birth is now 2 months old and weighs 15 lbs. I'm 5'1 and about 145lbs. (My other two were 5 lbs. and 8 lbs). I have almost all these signs and symptoms you listed above. I plan on going in to see my doctor this coming week. I had been putting it off thinking it would just work it self out but the pain is getting worse and the bubbles are more frequent. I am a runner and cannot run without being in pretty bad shape for a few days after just a 2 mile run. After reading your post I am more sure than ever that POP is what I have. Thank you so much for your information.
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