About 2 weeks ago I became concerned that I might have some sort of pelvic organ prolapse - i noticed what appeared to be some extra tissue protruding just slightly from my vaginal area - i am 22 years old and have never been pregnant nor had any surgeries. I have recently gotten into running (in the last 6 months or so) and run an average of 7 miles five or so times a week (potentially marathon training). I have noticed some abndominal discomfort in the last 2 weeks also - a sort of fullness feeling in my stomach with some difficulty defecating - however I was on vacation when i noticed this, so i attributed that feeling to diet change. I plan on seeing my primary care physician as soon as possible, but am trying to maybe learn a bit more before then. I made the mistake (?) of googling possible reasons for the "extra" tissue - and came up with only POP as a somewhat plausible possibility, but it really freaked me out, as well as confused me since it seems most are caused by pregnancy or menopause. I am on birth control currently and am sexually active. Could either of these two things have anything to do with POP?
I am so glad that you have recognized something is going on and are being proactive with finding answers! Although vaginal childbirth is the leading cause of POP, there are actually many causes and running is one of them. Whenever you are involved in an activity that causes downward jerking of the pelvic organs without internal supprt (this is a HUGE pocket of women, most are not aware that this is an issue), you are setting yourself up for potential POP issues. The good news is you have become aware of it and are looking for answers.
POP can fluctuate a bit depending on what you are doing (standing/lying down/running/carrying heavy weight) so you may notice some tissues bulging one day and the next it may seem to go away. The bottom line however is if you have seen them, you should address it right away and do what you can to control the degree of POP. The feeling of fullness and difficulty pooping are additional symptoms of POP. Here is a link to a post I put on the Urogynecology Forum with the basics of POP
The birth control pills and being sexually active should have no impact on you getting POP. What needs to be addressed is the running. I never discourage women from running; being physically active is vital to health, wellness, and state of mind. What I do encourage is that they have internal support when they run. There are a few ways to go to achieve this. The first step is seeing a physician for diagnosis. If you have a good relationship with your gynecologist, I'd recommend seeing her for a consult about POP. She should be able to diagnose the degree of POP and can fit you for a pessary, one of the types of internal support you can utilize. (Others are inserting a tampon to create support, the third is a product available online; I'll PM-private message-you on how to access that info.) A pessary is a diaphragm type device specifically for support of the pelvic floor and you need to be fitted by a physician for it.
If you don't have a good relationship with a gynecologist, I recommend seeking a consult with a urogynecologist-this is the specialist for pelvic organ prolapse and will be able to advise you on all treatment options.
Good luck, if you have additional questions as you are finding info please send them in and I'll do my best to guide you.
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