Ever felt like this? I hear this concern ALL THE TIME!
"I just had a baby, and I feel like my insides are coming out, especially at the end of the day." or "I've been told I have a prolapse, but I'm not sure what to do next."
This is so very common. Vaginal heaviness, bladder leaking, bowel leaking, inability to hold back gas and diagnosis of pelvic organ prolapse are things we talk about and hear about daily in our practice.
Pressure in the pelvis, heaviness, and being told that you have pelvic organ prolapse, especially after giving birth can be scary, and often times unnerving.
What does it mean?
Well...it could be a sign of weakness or imbalances in the muscles of the pelvic floor, hips and upper legs. It could be a sign of altered pressure management in the abdominal cavity. It could be a sign that we need to think outside the box and come up with new and different ways to move through your day to day routine to help you live your best, most fulfilling life.
Maybe you've been told that you have pelvic organ prolapse and you're thinking, "Ok, now what?"
What does that mean? Can I lift, can I run, can I jump, can I chase after my kids?
It does NOT mean you have to stop living or wear granny panty garments for the rest of your life to "hold everything in."
This is where we start to dive into what is causing the feelings of heaviness and prolapse symptoms.
At Hays County PT, we like to start with looking at the whole picture. What are you feeling, what are your goals, what do you want/need to be able to do, and then we look at you, your movement patterns and make a plan.
So, we start looking at posture. What does your posture look like?
After growing a baby for 9 + months, your posture is bound to change some, your movement patterns have shifted and changed over time, so have your breathing patterns. So we see what your posture looks like now and then we look at your breathing patterns.
Are you using one area of your trunk more than the other? Do you breathe into you ribcage side to side, do you breathe up into your shoulders? Does your belly rise and fall when you breathe? The goals it to have even diaphragmatic breathing patterns that allow the trunk to adapt to movement and don't increase pressure into the pelvic floor excessively.
Now we talk movement patterns and activities. How's your squat? How's your deadlift? How's your ability to carry objects? To carry your baby? What do those movements look like? How are you moving in and out of bed? In and out of the car? In and out of the chair? Observe how you're going through your day.
Once we've started to figure out where the challenges are, we work to do something different. Try stretching, strengthening, new breathing patterns.
Explore something different. Work on ribcage expansion breathing laying on your back, sitting upright, laying on your side (this gives your body a variety of movement options. Work on diaphragmatic breathing and breathing into your belly without increasing pressure in the pelvic floor (just a gentle relaxation of the muscles.)
Then we make the movements more complex. Adding in the weight of your baby, the carseat, your toddler, a dumbbell, a barbell, and so on until you feel strong, confident and back to the activities you love symptom free.
Prolapse-like symptoms are not necessarily a sign that you have to STOP everything. It is just something that you may consider seeing a pelvic floor physical therapist for an evaluation and some guidance on returning to your active lifestyle.
If your doctor or midwife does not give you the guidance you're looking for or does not entertain the idea of pelvic floor physical therapy, then ask for a referral or a second opinion. You do not have to live with feelings of heaviness, pain, or prolapse symptoms. There is help and you can feel confident in your body!