It may start as an unusual sensation at the end of a long day.
But it's not painful... so you ignore it.
A few weeks later, you notice it's starting to show up more often and linger for longer.
It's like sitting on a ball, or maybe it just feels like something has fallen.
You finally muster up the courage in the shower to reach down and feel for the "something."
That's when you might actually feel a ball of tissue around the vaginal region that wasn't there before.
You reach for your handheld mirror and notice there is something in the vaginal area that is shiny and protruding down.
Your heart starts pounding, "WHAT IS THAT!"
Alarm bells and sirens are going off, blood pressure is rising.
There might be a few thoughts going through your head:
"My body is ruined after birth."
"I will never be the same."
"Something is wrong with my body."
"How can I live like this?"
"How do I make time to take care of this when I have so many responsibilities?"
(And doctors offices require you to find childcare during your appointment during COVID...)
Okay just typing all of that sent me into a little panicky spiral!
The first thing to do is to breathe. You are going to be okay. You have just noticed what is very likely pelvic organ prolapse.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse occurs when one or more of the three organ in our pelvis loses support and starts to descend down into the vaginal opening.
What you are seeing is not the organ itself, it's the skin of the vagina with the organ on the other side.
There are three organs in the pelvis that can potentially descend.
If you take action NOW, there is so much we can do to improve this condition.
If you decide to WAIT, for several more months/years/through another pregnancy...
There is still so much we can do but it is more likely you will have to manage the condition through the rest of your life.
You will first want to schedule with a pelvic floor physical therapist. Pelvic floor physical therapy is the first line of defense against pelvic organ prolapse.
Make sure you have your appointment on the books.
Then you will want to schedule with your Ob/Gyn, Midwife, or Uro/gyn doctor to get a pelvic exam.
They can help you determine what organ has fallen, rule out other possible pathologies, and get you set up with a pessary fitting down the road if needed.
A pessary is a silicon ring that can be placed in the vagina to help support the organs that have fallen if needed.
Most of the time my clients do not end up needing a pessary, especially in the postpartum population, but they are a nice tool to have available if needed.
While you are waiting for your first physical therapy appointment, try to avoid lifting heavy objects, straining on the toilet, or participating in high impact physical activity.
Try lying on your back with your feet up a wall for 5-10 minutes everyday to help physically bring the organs back into the abdominal cavity.
Pelvic organ prolapse can be frightening, but there is so much physical therapy can offer for women experiencing prolapse. I see my clients healing from prolapse everyday, and you can too.
Although you won't want to aggravate your symptoms with physical activity in the early days, you will more than likely return to lifting, running, and jumping again.
Book a free consult with me today if you're worried you might be suffering from prolapse!