Focuss on Women’s health: Pelvic organ prolapse – what you need to know

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common problem whereby a person may suffer from urinary incontinence, anal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. With August being National Women’s Month in South Africa, this article will mainly give information on pelvic organ prolapse which is an extremely common female health condition which has been on medical record for over 4000 years. Pelvic floor prolapse is the descent of one or more of the anterior vaginal wall, posterior vaginal wall, the uterus or apex of the vagina (post hysterectomy). Some of the symptoms a person with pelvic floor dysfunction may experience is abdominal sensation, interrupted function of pelvic organs and a prominent bulge out of the vaginal/abdominal pelvic region.
The above symptoms of abdominal sensation and function is worsened by standing for long periods of time and exercising. Some causes are pregnancy, childbirth when young and during natural birth, surgery in the region, ageing, hormonal changes, chronic constipation, obesity and heavy lifting as well as neurological diseases.
Physiotherapy intervenes via education by teaching pelvic floor exercises and behavioral changes.
Basic pelvic floor exercises include kegel exercise, core exercises and exercises of the supporting muscles of the pelvis such as transversus abdominis, lumbar multifidi and the diaphragm which forms support for the spine.
Kegel exercise is the squeezing and lifting of muscles between your legs as if to stop urination. Include these in your daily routine such as when sitting on the couch watching TV. Behavioral changes include correct sitting posture on the toilet by putting your feet up on a step and leaning forward with your elbows leaning on your thighs, relax and don’t strain by holding urine.
Visit the physiotherapist as part of prenatal care before a lady gives birth and after as part of post-birth recovery. For more information please call 056 816 2154.

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