What is a prolapsed Uterus?
Sometimes your pelvic floor just can’t take the weight anymore! Stretching and weakening to the muscles and ligaments in your pelvic floor can lead to a prolapsed uterus. This is the unfortunate slipping of the uterus into or sometimes protruding out of the vagina.
Most women won't even notice a prolapse in its early stages which is why it’s so important to pay careful attention to our pelvic floor and give it the love it deserves.
Why is this happening? Our bodies are not designed to do this surely?!
It can happen to women of any age, although some ladies can experience the symptoms more. Common causes can include pregnancy, lower oestrogen levels following menopause, chronic coughs and even heavy lifting. More often it affects postmenopausal women and those who've had one or more vaginal births.
The 5 signs to look out for!
A prolapsed uterus can happen to anyone and we can all take steps to prevent it. Let's talk about the signs.
- What does it look like? In more extreme cases you may see tissue protruding from the vagina
- Urine leaks. Urinary incontinence can occur as a result of coughing, sneezing and excess pressure on the bladder.
- Discomfort. This can include feelings of fullness or a pulling sensation in the pelvic area, discomfort when walking and pain in the lower back. In some cases, it may also feel as though you're sitting on a small bar, or something is falling out of your vagina.
- Painful sexual intercourse. A prolapsed uterus can take the joy out of sex, either through pain, or a feeling of looseness taking away the sensation of sex.
- What’s changed. It’s a pretty simple one, but remember, you know your body! Always talk to your doctor if you ever feel a change in your vaginal health.
What treatments can you expect?
Once you've visited your doctor, and been diagnosed with a prolapsed uterus, there are a number of treatments they may recommend to assist your recovery depending on the severity;
- Kegel exercises! Yes, you do need to be adding these to your daily routine as a preventative measure, as well as a vital first step in waking up that pelvic floor. The most effective way to build up a weak pelvic floor is to add kegel weights. The weights will fire up the muscle fibres in the pelvic region using intentional repetitions, which will fatigue the muscles and help rebuild the hammock which supports the pelvic organs.
- Treating constipation. It might not be something you're associating with a prolapsed uterus, however, just think about the strain your whole pelvic floor area is feeling during constipation. This will be something your doctor can help you with or a change in diet may be beneficial.
- Weight loss. With the extra weight on our bodies, this can also add pressure to your vaginal area. Easing the extra pressure will aid in recovery.
- Vaginal pessary. It's not as scary as it sounds. This is a plastic or rubber ring you can insert into the vagina which will support bulging tissues. You can remove this yourself, and should do regularly for cleaning.
- Surgery. Hopefully, you will be able to use the self-care options listed above, however, in severe cases, surgery may be required. This could be either by repairing the damaged tissue to the vagina from grafting your own tissue or donor tissue to the pelvic region. Another option may be a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus).
Let’s prevent it!
- Kegel exercises! Those amazing exercises and weights we talked about earlier are an amazing preventative measure against multiple vaginal health issues. Keeping your pelvic floor muscles strong from any age is a must for all women.
- Oestrogen therapy. This will assist in rebuilding and strengthening the tissues around the vagina.
- Avoid heavy lifting. Or at least make sure you're doing it right! Crack out those manual handling guides, and always use your legs to take the weight, and not your back or waist to avoid unnecessary pressure.
- Sort out that cough! A consistent cough can happen for a number of reasons and can stress out your pelvic floor.
- Keep fit and healthy. Making sure your weight is in control through diet and exercise can be easier said than done but we all know the positive effects this has on our overall health, and our vagina is not exempt.
Always keep an eye on changes to your vaginal health, and never fear to speak with your doctor about it.
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