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Pelvic Organ Prolapse, Support Thread

post #1 of 1498
Thread Starter 
Some of us mamas who are dealing w/ Pelvic Organ Prolapse thought it might be helpful to start a POP support thread. This appears to be one of those things that many women experience, but few talk about. The medical community views surgery as the best treatment, but we are a group of women trying our darnest to keep our bodies whole & find more natural methods of managing the prolapse.

In a nutshell, POP is when is when the uterus, bladder, rectum, or small bowel fall into the vagina. Some of the symptoms may be stress urinary incontinece, a full feeling in the pelvic region, bulging and discomfort in the vagina. It can be caused by difficult labor & deliveries, but not always. Some women experience prolapse at menopause, some even before having children. Prolapse is not dangerous nor usually a medical emergency, but more of a quality of life issue. For further information, I encourage you to visit www.wholewoman.com . It is an invaluable resourse and the author, Christine Kent, is leading the way in alternatives to surgery for POP.

I'll start by introducing myself, and hope that others follow.

I was recently dx w/uterine & bladder prolapse (cystocele). My symptoms are stress urinary incontinence, varicose vein pain, PSD pain (both of these I had in pregnancy & the prolapse aggravates them), and backache. My GYN immediately began speaking of hysterectomy and a bladder sling. I was completely floored by the dx. and the tx. recommendations. I felt that my body was failing me. After much research I found Whole Woman and began the path of treating my prolapse naturally. Currently, my personal tx. plan includes chiropractic care, the exercises and posture from Whole Woman, Sea Sponges as a pessary (they may hold the uterus in place), RRL Tea, nettle supplements for the VV, Vit. C and extra Calcium/Magnesium to aid in healing, and a decrease in heavy lifting.

I am still learning about POP, and look forward to talking w/others. I hope this can be a safe, supportive place where we can gather to discuss, vent, and share ideas about life w/POP.
post #2 of 1498
Subbing!

I'm only 6 weeks pp right now...a long pushing phase, shoulder dystocia, and a 4th degree tear all contributed to "pushing around" my pelvic organs and stressing the muscles in that area as well. I'll be meeting with my OB this week to see what has resolved on it's own and what might need some help to resolve. I can say right now that voiding completely is still difficult (I void, then a moment later can void again) and when voiding I have a feeling of pressure...like the sensation of a tampon that is too low, perhaps?
post #3 of 1498
cystocele mama
hi all - i wanted this to end up on the support thread! sorry to duplicate.
i had a grade 3 cycstocele at 4 wks postpartum.
my labor was long (26 hrs) and pushing phase 1 hour+ baby came out compound, meaning his hand was over his head.
I had a 2nd degree tear and at 3 wks pp discovered that something was bulging when i was in the shower.

I have been doing vaginal biofeedback/ pelvic floor PT and am greatly encouraged. Now at 8 wks pp, my cystocele is a grade 2. I have actually noticed that on certain days i feel almost normal.
yet if i have been straining (eg. picking up the kids or lifting) then i feel like my bottom is saggy.
I think listening to your body is very important. Also try not to strain or lift, which is always a challenge with litttle ones. Keeping stool soft is important to avoid straining with BMs. My friend who is a nutritionist recommends All Bran Bran Buds every day and encourages lots of water for this issue.
my best to all who are dealing with this
post #4 of 1498
Thread Starter 
Just got back from a visit to my chiropractor. She did a uterine massage & we both clearly felt the bladder move back into place. I felt really great afterward. The key will be to see if it stays that way. :
post #5 of 1498
Sooo...

I saw my OB the other day and she said she thought the bladder prolapse was "pretty minor at this point" and she would re-eval at 6 months pp to see if I needed PT.

But, well, minor or not it's bugging me! Though I'm thrilled that it has already improved a bit and that the rectal tissue is healing fine too. Anyway, I know there are some exercises in the Whole Woman book (I ordered it through interlibrary loan, but it's going to take a while)...

I do have the Mummy Tummy book (from a few years ago) and someone here mentioned the exercises are similar? If I do the Mummy Tummy exercises and some belly dance do you think it would help reduce the prolapse the way the whole woman exercises would? Or can someone give me a better idea about what the whole woman exercises are?

Thanks!
post #6 of 1498
Thread Starter 
When recently reading the Mummy Tummy book, I thought the author was working on some of the same premises as Christine, although the exercises are different for the most part. I can't say whether they could help heal the prolapse, but I do not think they could hurt it. I have actually wanted to post that same question on Whole Woman, but haven't gotten there yet.

Good news from your OB!!! I am glad to hear you are healing well. When you say it still bothers you, how exactly are you feeling it?
post #7 of 1498


Well, I was initially told I had a level II bladder prolapse which my OB felt would resolve on it's own. At 6 weeks pp she said she'd call it a "just barely level II...more droopy than fallen really" bladder prolapse.

In terms of symptoms, they aren't horrible...just annoying. A constant sensation of something "in" the vaginal area, similar to wearing a tampon that isn't inserted properly/all the way. There is also a sensation of friction in the vaginal area when I walk or sit. I have a specific "ache"/pain when voiding that feels better (but doesn't go away) when I press on the front of my pelvic area. And when I void I need to void once, then adjust my position and void again in order to fully empty the bladder.

At this appointment she did check for UTI (nothing) since some of the symptoms are similar. I'm staying really well hydrated and drinking plenty of cran juice as well as taking acidopholus suppl to help prevent UTI.

Her current advice is belly dance, pelvic rocks, walking, kegels, sitz baths with comfrey or epsom salts, high fiber diet, extra vit c, and kegels. Especially since some of the pain could be due to still healing tissue (it's only been 6 weeks and she said the sutures wouldn't be fully gone for another 2-3 months due to the size used on the muscles) and plain old vaginal birth tissue trauma/muscle strain. She'll check in 3 months if my symptoms don't change at all but my next appointment is for 6 months...

One concern I have is that she said the prolapse is getting better but my symptoms have been getting progressively worse?
post #8 of 1498

Thank you ~*max*~!!!!!!!! I can't believe I haven't seen this thread before. I posted a thread on the Birth Professional board asking about Postpartum healing. They suggested a book, Natural Health after Birth: The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness by Aviva Jill Jill Romm. I was surprised to see Peggy's O'Mara's name along with what she said about the book on the front cover. Must be a good book. I feel a bit betrayed that my MW's never told me that POP is quite possible. Every woman before, during and after childbirth should be well educated about POP. Prevention is key! This needs to be a STICKY. MODS, can we get a Sticky?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
At this appointment she did check for UTI (nothing) since some of the symptoms are similar. I'm staying really well hydrated and drinking plenty of cran juice as well as taking acidopholus suppl to help prevent UTI.

One concern I have is that she said the prolapse is getting better but my symptoms have been getting progressively worse?
I think I have a hunch on why you feel your symptoms getting worse while your prolapse is improving.

Is the Cran Juice sweetened? Anytime I go over board on sweets I have a UTI. When I was 19 I thought I had a UTI all the time but the test showed that I didn't have it. I drank the Cran Juice ALL the time. Sweeten, because thats all they come in unless you get the pill or eat the tarty fruit raw or buy unsweetened juice.
Bacteria thrives on sweets. When your not able to completely empty the bladder then the little urine thats left becomes a breeding ground for bacteria.

In my case, I developed Interstitial Cystitis. Ulcers in the bladder and urethral wall. It'll give you the sensation that you have to pee all the time and its chronic. This is not fun to deal with. Especially since I have a grade 4 cystocele! AHHH!!! Its AGGRAVATING!!!!!! sorry, I had to vent a little. It can be manage so whoever gets it, its not the end of the world. The KEY is to drink LOTS and LOTS of water. Don't drown your self tho. This is the best way to flush the bacteria out of your bladder. Something else thats really important, go often, empty the bladder as best you can ever hour or two. IF you wait too long you will over extend the bladder and cause stretch marks so to speak. Those stretch marks in the bladder interfere with the natural protective lining that coats the bladder and urethral wall. This lining is essential. If I eat spicy foods or highly acidic foods I'll have an IC flare up because that lining is missing where the stretch marks are. Those stretch marks are the ulcers.

My cystocele feels like I have a water balloon in my vagina. I'll go to a PT next Monday for the first time. She said the worse case scenario that she's dealt with was an elderly woman in her 80s. Her entire uterus was hanging outside her body. The PT got it back in its place and it stayed there. This 80yo was terrified of surgery. I gather surgery would've caused other problems so its good she was able to avoid that.

I want to share with you more about what I've been doing but I'll wait to do that in a different post. Be prepared, I've done something no one has ever done before. Its a little controversial but you smart ladies can handle it.

Thank you ~*max*~
post #9 of 1498
Thanks fruitful...I'm mostly drinking "homemade" cran juice but I've been cutting it with apple juice so, ummmm, yeah. Sweetened it is. I'll see if I can find the pills, or maybe sweeten it with stevia or a non-sugar sweetener.

The UTI test was Thursday, so I was "clean" 3 days ago...I'll keep my fingers crossed that I stay that way.
post #10 of 1498
So glad to find this thread... I'm a year postpartum with ds2 and am finally trying to do something about my prolapse, or whatever it is... but most importantly trying to get over the feeling that my whole body is falling apart on me and feeling overwhelmed with what's necessary to get back on track. I have abdominal separation as well, but have read that I shouldn't do much to work on that until I have my pelvic floor back in condition due to the pressure abdominal work can put on internal organs. I don't have anything to contribute, really, but am so glad to find others who know what I'm talking about. I told my mom it felt like I was 'birthing an orange... perpetually' and she acted like I was from Mars...

to get involved with Physical Therapy do you start with an OB? I only have a midwife here. What type of doctor treats this condition?
post #11 of 1498
Quote:
Originally Posted by debsdancer View Post
So glad to find this thread... I'm a year postpartum with ds2 and am finally trying to do something about my prolapse, or whatever it is... but most importantly trying to get over the feeling that my whole body is falling apart on me and feeling overwhelmed with what's necessary to get back on track. I have abdominal separation as well, but have read that I shouldn't do much to work on that until I have my pelvic floor back in condition due to the pressure abdominal work can put on internal organs. I don't have anything to contribute, really, but am so glad to find others who know what I'm talking about. I told my mom it felt like I was 'birthing an orange... perpetually' and she acted like I was from Mars...

to get involved with Physical Therapy do you start with an OB? I only have a midwife here. What type of doctor treats this condition?
A friend of mine also has abdominal separation and she went to an Osteopath who did acupuncture on her. She said she could feel tingling in the mussels and it really helped her. Its not so separated now. You can skip the Osteopath and go straight to an acupuncturist for treatment.

The PT I'm going to go to said she needs a referral, either from an OB or a chiropractor. I'm going to try to get one from a chiropractor since I went to a Midwife with my last three births.
I'm Happy you found us!
post #12 of 1498
Thread Starter 
Fruitful Womb, I can't wait to hear your controversial treatment........
Don't keep us hangin' woman!!!
post #13 of 1498
Joining in I had both a cystocele and a rectocele after my son's birth in April 06. He was born very quickly (very fast labor and he pretty much just flew out ) with me in an standing upright and his head apparently caught both as he descended, so here I am with this issue 15 months later. I've been using the ideas from Whole Woman and I have to say I'm pretty pleased with it. I went from having it bother me alot and causing chronic backache to feeling like it barely bothers me.

I've completely overhauled my diet and exercise routine and I feel great overall, and really notice the difference in my prolapse. I do see a chiro regularly and I've done some of the T-Tapps exercises which are supposed to be helpful. I think making sure I'm in the "posture" all of the time, especially while exercising, is really what has helped the most. I would like to have another baby next year so it is important to me to heal this as much as possible. I am a little worried that it won't be "healed" enough for a HB midwife to take me as patient though. Anyone know anything about that?
post #14 of 1498
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~*max*~ View Post
Fruitful Womb, I can't wait to hear your controversial treatment........
Don't keep us hangin' woman!!!
How do I begin.
When your pregnant your uterus seem to go back into place right? A lot of remission happens when your pregnant. I get a break from my IC only when I'm pregnant. It must be the hormones. On that note, I tried something not many would do. I prepared my saved placenta and took six big gulps of it. And let me tell you, THAT WAS THE WEIRDEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!! I was in an altered state of energy for days! My dh even noticed. I did this because, well, for one thing I was desperate, and thought wth what can it hurt, it just might help. I think it did. The hormones that supported the uterus were once again back in my body. Would I do it again? Probably not the way I prepared it the last time. That was pretty hard for me. It reminded me of the Fear Factor show. I'm not so sure if this effect will last because I starting to feel my cystocele again. Its really discouraging. I'm not kidding when I say its like a water balloon in my vagina. But for two days after I drank my placenta (some of it) I felt normal. Everything was tight and in place. The next time I'll hire a Chinese Dr. who will prepare the placenta for me. They'll dehydrate it and put it in capsules. I hear it can be useful for menopause. My main intention will be to speed PP recovery.

About the MW, for the pp concern... I asked that same question. I'm thinking about UC next time because during the last 3 deliveries the same MW freaked out at the very end. If you do a MW go to someone who will support a delivery while you don't push. I think its called fire-breathing. Is that what they're talking about when they say breath the baby out? Women in comas can give birth vaginally. Your uterus is going to push the baby out with or with out you. In our case of POP its better to let our bodies do it on its own. Its a good idea to breath the baby out to avoid POP in the first place. Does anyone else feel betrayed that our MW's never told us POP was possible? I wish I knew better.
post #15 of 1498
I definitely have a rectocele. I diagnosed myself, but there is no doubt about it. I also suspected the beginnings of a cystocele, but that seems to be correcting itself as time goes by.

I hate having the rectocele. It's so embarassing! I feel like the only one in the world who has a hard time just going to the bathroom. It developed during my last pregnancy, which was my 6th baby in a bit less than 9 years, so I guess it's not a huge surprise that my body started to give a little bit.

I'm 12 months PP right now and I really hope to be able to wait another 3 or 4 years before getting pregnant again. With my last babe, I didn't push much at all. My body pushed him out very efficiently. He was quite big (10 lbs, 1oz), so I'm sure that didn't help.

I've been doing acupuncture for lots of different things and the person doing it knows about the prolapse, but she's not sure it will help. I've spoken with my sister about it (she's a doctor), and she told me the only thing to do is surgery. That's not going to happen unless it gets reeeaalllllyyyyy bad. My aunt had that surgery recently and she couldn't get out of bed for six weeks! No thank you.
post #16 of 1498
Thread Starter 
Fruitful Womb, very cool about the placenta. I wish I had saved mine & gone the chinese herbalist route. (I don't think I could stomache it any other way, but yay for you for doing it!) Since this is my last babe, I am placenta-less.

Welcome Debsdancer, Celestialdreamer & Barefoot Mama. Glad to have you w/us.

Querico, how's it going w/you?

Wombatclay, I hope the UTI stays clear for you! Those are the worst.

Speaking of which, I am scheduled for urodynamic testing w/my urologist next week. Has anyone done this? I am soooooo not looking forward to it, but feel I should have a complete diagnostic picture as I proceed to treat this on my own. My worst symptom is stress urinary incontinence. It is constant & really sucks. That is the part that gets me down the most. I feel like an old lady. And, w/all the things I have implemented to treat this, it seems to be getting worse.
post #17 of 1498
Quote:
My worst symptom is stress urinary incontinence. It is constant & really sucks. That is the part that gets me down the most. I feel like an old lady. And, w/all the things I have implemented to treat this, it seems to be getting worse.
I was reading the other day that cystocele can actually reduce stress incontinence since the bladder can push in such a way as to block leakage. As the bladder moves back into place the pressure shifts and the leakage gets worse. I hope it's temporary...
post #18 of 1498
I've had my prolapse since '04 and been dealing with it pretty good. I've developed chronic daily headaches which makes the prolapse not the worst thing out there!!! One thing for sure, that has helped me out is talking and listening to other women who have it too, and that surgery isn't the only option.

When I first discovered prolapse, it bothered me like crazy. I would always go to the whole woman forum for a little support. It would always help me.
post #19 of 1498
I had pelvic floor reconstruction in March; laparascopic cystocele and uterine prolapse surgery, and then my perineum was re-opened and incomplete repair work re-done to correct the rectocele. I have lingering stress incontinence issues (new post-surgery; I did not have an elevated risk of it pre-surgery, but got nailed by the normal risk). I may go back under the knife for this in a couple of months.
post #20 of 1498
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wombatclay View Post
I was reading the other day that cystocele can actually reduce stress incontinence since the bladder can push in such a way as to block leakage. As the bladder moves back into place the pressure shifts and the leakage gets worse. I hope it's temporary...
Thank you for sharing that! Maybe it is moving into place. I have been doing Mayan Uterine Massage, which feels like it is helping, but I couldn't understand why I would be having more incontinence. Do you recall where you were reading that? i'd really like to learn more.
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