Support Options for Prolapse
Hello friends! Are you living with prolapse? Prolapse is not a death sentence, but it often takes some work to learn how to manage your symptoms. Did you know there are support options to help manage your symptoms without surgery? This week we will discuss different support treatment options for prolapse.
Let’s start first by talking about why we need support. The pelvic floor muscles, along with many ligaments and bones, help to support the pelvic organs. The pelvic floor muscles play act like a hammock starting at the pubic bone in the front and the tailbone in the back. If injury happens to these muscles (like is common with childbirth or chronic straining/constipation), one or more of the organs can start to fall into the vagina. Even if you have developed pelvic organ prolapse, having a strong, coordinated pelvic floor can help to manage your symptoms better!
Supports can be a great addition to pelvic floor muscle training when dealing with prolapse. These supports can be internal (inserted into the vagina) or external (on the outside of the vagina).
Internal supports can seem scary and overwhelming, but they are a great conservative, non-surgical option. Extra internal support gives many individuals the freedom they need to do the things they want. The internal supports are inserted into the vagina to stop the pelvic organs from falling down into the vaginal canal.
A pessary is an internal support that is fitted by a physician or nurse in the United States. In other countries, some other healthcare professionals, like pelvic floor physical therapists, can also fit pessaries. Pessaries come in many shapes and sizes so fitting works by trial and error. It may take 2-3 different pessaries before finding the best one. 70% of women can be successfully fit with a ring-shaped pessary. You are able to remove and insert this type of pessary on your own, and it can also be worn during sex. Speak to your doctor to learn more!
There are several other internal support options that do not require a fitting by a healthcare professional. These can include:
*As always, this is not medical advice and be sure to follow manufacturers guidelines for any products that you use.
To learn more about internal supports, watch the video below.
External supports help to alleviate symptoms of prolapse. These supports may also be called perineal support and provide an extra support or “lift” around the vagina to the area called “the perineum.” Perineal supports can help with symptoms of prolapse as well as varicose veins. While perineal supports can’t stop the organs from falling inside the vaginal canal, they can help to stop them from prolapsing outside of the vagina. External supports can be a game changer for many individuals. Some of our favorite supports are the Cabea belly band and the Prenatal Cradle.
If you don’t want to purchase an external support, wearing tight clothing like leggings or compression shorts can help to provide some of the same relief.
To learn more about external supports, watch the video below.
Internal and external supports are typically one piece of the puzzle when managing prolapse symptoms. Pelvic floor muscle training, physical therapy, estrogen creams, lifestyle modifications, and more can all be helpful. See a pelvic floor physical therapist near you or join our Power Over Prolapse E-Course to start enjoying the things you love again!
Here are some great resources to help you start living your life with prolapse:
Ask your healthcare provider for a referral to a pelvic therapist to help you exercise safely and to prevent any pelvic floor symptoms.
Find a pelvic therapist on your own at myPFM.com. We have links to 4 free searchable databases under Find a PT.
Watch our YouTube playlist on Prolapse and the PFM
Read our blog on Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Read Pelvic Organ Prolapse: The Silent Epidemic by Sherrie Palm
Learn more about the pelvic floor muscles with our book: My Pelvic Floor Muscles The Basics
Sign up for our email newsletter!
For providers, check our online courses to help your clients with prolapse and pelvic floor dysfunction. Consider joining our Ambassador Program and most of our courses are included with your membership!
Hypermobility and the Pelvic Floor with Dr. Linda Bluestein, MD
How to Pass the Women’s Clinical Specialist (WCS) Exam: Part 1 with Dr. Jamille Niewarra, PT, DPT, WCS
How to Pass the Women’s Clinical Specialist (WCS) Exam: Part 2 with Dr. Beth Shelly, PT, DPT, WCS, BMB-PMD
Written by Emily Reul, PT, DPT