Pelvic organ prolapse can be the result of several different or a combination of factors.
Miss management of internal abdominal pressure (IAP)
Weakened or inefficient pelvic floor muscles
Repeated or prolonged downward force
# 1 - It can be the result of a miss management of pressure in your core canister. Too much pressure will have to escape somewhere, and it often chooses the weakest link.
The buildup of pressure may happen at one time (pushing in labour), or happen repeatedly over time (breath holding, heavy lifting, etc).
# 2 - When we have weakened pelvic floor muscles, they cannot contract with enough force, poor timing, or are unable to maintain a long enough contraction (endurance). Not to mention the ligaments and muscles that hold the pelvic organs in place have been stretched and strained through pregnancy and delivery, making it harder to return to their normal locations after baby has left the womb.
# 3 – Repeated or prolonged downward force such as pregnancy, running, jumping or other high impact activities can put a fair amount of strain on the weakened tissues.
This is one of the reasons why I highly suggest Mamas take the time to restore and repair their core after pregnancy & delivery. Jumping back into running too quickly can do a number on your pelvic region.
POP isn’t just reserved for Mamas either. Men, gymnasts, runners, Crossfit athletes have all been known to prolapse. Us Mamas are just a little more prone to it due to carrying baby around in our bellies for so many months, and then trying to push them out! If we have previous athletic backgrounds that create strain on our pelvic floor it can complicate our healing.
I didn’t know about any of this before I had babies. I didn’t know that the years I spent sucking in my tummy to appear skinnier was harmful. Pelvic floor or breath training wasn’t part of any of my ½ marathon running plans. No one mentioned that actively pushing for 5 hours could result in prolapse or pelvic floor dysfunction.
I share this information so that you know going forward. So you can possibly prevent it for yourself or someone you know. I also share it because I deal with it on the regular and I want you to know that there is help out there and that you are not alone. The faster you can recognize the symptoms and seek help, the better outcomes we see for living with POP.
Certified Postnatal Personal Trainer