Have you heard about pelvic organ prolapse? It’s a commonly observed condition wherein the muscles and tissues that provide support to the pelvic organs experience a decline. This results in the bulging or descent of one or more pelvic organs into the vaginal wall. The pelvic organs that may be affected include the uterus, bladder, and rectum.
According to Yale Medicine, one in four women above the age of eighteen suffers from POP. Oz Harmanli, MD, states that the condition is much more common than people think. He also states that its incidence increases with age.
While medical treatment is critical for this condition, a lot of women also wonder if there are home remedies. In this article, we will explore precisely this question.
How Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse Conventionally Treated?
The treatment of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) can vary depending on the severity of the condition, the specific organs involved, and the impact on a person’s quality of life. Conventional treatment options include:
Estrogen Replacement Therapy
When women go through menopause, which is the natural cessation of menstrual periods, estrogen levels decline.
The decline in estrogen can contribute to changes in the pelvic tissues, making them more susceptible to weakness and loss of elasticity. This can, in turn, contribute to the development or exacerbation of pelvic organ prolapse. Estrogen replacement therapy aims to address this hormonal deficiency and provide benefits to the pelvic tissues.
However, it needs to be stated that ERT doesn’t directly address POP but can help in its prevention among at-risk women. Studies on over 1400 women conducted by Wasenda, Atan, et al., revealed that the effects were too small to be clinically relevant.
Surgery is often considered for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) when conservative measures and non-surgical interventions do not provide sufficient relief or when the prolapse is severe and significantly affects a person’s quality of life.
Vaginal mesh or graft procedures are a common option and involve synthetic mesh or graft materials to reinforce and support the weakened pelvic tissues. That said, this isn’t without its complications. There are several investigations regarding what can be used instead of mesh for prolapse situations.
According to TruLaw, there are several complaints made by women who report infections and pain during intercourse after having vaginal mesh surgeries. A vaginal pessary is one promising alternative, but there needs to be more research in this area.
Common Home Remedies and Treatments
While there are no home remedies that can cure pelvic organ prolapse (POP), there are certain lifestyle modifications and exercises that may help manage symptoms and improve pelvic floor strength. It’s important to note that these measures may not reverse the prolapse but can potentially alleviate some of the discomfort and improve overall pelvic floor health.
1. Kegel Exercises
According to an article posted on Healthline, Kegel exercises excel at strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. They note that it can be used to address the lowering of pelvic organs into the vagina.
It’s clear that regular and correct practice of Kegel exercises may improve pelvic floor tone and reduce symptoms associated with POP.
To perform a Kegel, tighten the muscles around the vagina and anus as if trying to stop the flow of urine, hold for a few seconds, and then relax. Repeat this exercise several times throughout the day.
2. Pelvic Tilt Exercises
Pelvic tilts can help strengthen the muscles in the lower back and abdomen, providing some support to the pelvic organs. Recline on your back, ensuring your knees are flexed and your feet are planted flat on the floor.
Engage your abdominal muscles and tilt your pelvis upward, lifting your buttocks slightly from the ground. Maintain this contraction for a short duration before gently lowering your back to the ground. Repeat this sequence several times. Pelvic floor exercises are very helpful and can be performed in your bedroom with little or no extra equipment needed.
3. Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Excess body weight can contribute to increased pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and connective tissues, potentially worsening pelvic organ prolapse. When a person is overweight or obese, there is additional strain on the pelvic structures, which may weaken the support for the pelvic organs and lead to or exacerbate prolapse.
In conclusion, POP varies in severity, and not all cases require immediate or invasive intervention. Some women may have a mild prolapse that doesn’t significantly impact their quality of life, while others may experience more pronounced symptoms.
It’s reassuring to know that this is a relatively common condition, especially among women who have experienced childbirth and menopause. While some treatment methods do have complications, treatment is often safe and easy for millions of women.