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POP what?! Understanding pelvic organ prolapse and how physiotherapy can help

Welcome to my blog! Today, I'm delving into a topic that might sound a bit unfamiliar but is incredibly important for women's health: Pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Whether you've heard of it before or it's completely new to you, understanding POP and knowing the ways physiotherapy can assist is crucial for maintaining your pelvic health.



A blue balloon in front of a blue background, with the word POP written on the balloon

What is pelvic organ prolapse?

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) occurs when one or more of the pelvic organs, such as the bladder, uterus, or rectum, descend from their normal position due to dysfunction in the pelvic floor muscles and tissues. This can lead to a feeling of pressure or fullness in the pelvic area, and in more severe cases, organs can protrude into the vaginal canal.


Common symptoms of POP

  • A feeling of heaviness or dragging in the pelvis

  • Bulging in the vagina

  • Discomfort during intercourse

  • Difficulty emptying the bladder or bowel

  • Lower back pain


Causes and risk factors

Several factors can contribute to the development of POP, including:

  • Childbirth, especially multiple or difficult deliveries

  • Aging and menopause, which reduce oestrogen levels and weaken pelvic tissues

  • Obesity, which increases pressure on the pelvic floor

  • Chronic coughing or straining, as seen in chronic constipation

  • Chronic overactivity in the pelvic floor muscles


How physiotherapy can help

Pelvic floor physiotherapy is a highly effective, non-surgical treatment option for managing and improving the symptoms of POP. Here's how it can help:

1. Pelvic floor exercises

Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles is often the first line of defence against POP. Physiotherapists can guide you through exercises like Kegels, which involve contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles to enhance their strength and endurance. However, sometimes weakness isn't the cause of the POP and in fact it is can be due to tightness. This is why it is really important to see a specialist women's health physiotherapist for an assessment. You can read my previous blog here, where I talk all about releasing tension in the pelvic floor to improve your POP symptoms.


2. Biofeedback and electrical stimulation

These techniques can help you gain better control over your pelvic floor muscles. Biofeedback involves using sensors to monitor muscle activity, providing you with visual or auditory feedback to improve muscle coordination. Electrical stimulation can activate pelvic floor muscles, especially useful if you find it difficult to contract them on your own.


3. Lifestyle and behavioural modifications

Physiotherapists can provide advice on lifestyle changes to reduce symptoms and prevent further prolapse. This might include weight management, dietary changes to alleviate constipation, and strategies to avoid heavy lifting or straining.


4. Postural and breathing techniques

Improving your posture and learning proper breathing techniques can alleviate pressure on the pelvic floor. Physiotherapists can teach you how to modify everyday activities to protect and support your pelvic organs.


5. Education and support

Understanding your condition and how to manage it effectively is crucial. Physiotherapists can offer personalised education, helping you understand the mechanics of your pelvic floor and the best practices for maintaining its health. And most importantly teach you how to get back to doing what you love without discomfort!


Why choose Ali Cann Physio?

I specialise in women's health physiotherapy, with a particular focus on pelvic health. I am dedicated to providing compassionate, individualised care tailored to your specific needs. I believe in empowering women through education and practical solutions to enhance their quality of life.


If you're experiencing symptoms of POP or simply want to maintain your pelvic health, don't hesitate to reach out to me. I offer comprehensive assessments and personalised treatment plans to help you regain control and confidence.


Take the next step towards better pelvic health

Pelvic organ prolapse can be a daunting condition, but with the right support and treatment, you can manage and improve your symptoms effectively. Contact me today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards better pelvic health.


Remember, POP doesn't have to define your life. With the right approach, you can regain your strength and live comfortably and confidently.


Visit my website alicannphysio.co.uk for more information and resources on pelvic health and my physiotherapy services. Together, let's build a healthier future!

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