21 Jun Pelvic Organ Prolapse Awareness Month
June is Pelvic Organ Prolapse awareness month.
I still come across women frequently who have never even heard of this condition. It is when one of the pelvic organs (uterus, bladder or bowel) start to descend down into the vagina, and in severe cases, out of the vagina.
It is the main reason I keep tissues handy, and it is estimated that 50% of women who have had a baby will experience prolapse. That is an alarming amount.
Women that I see feel alone, embarrassed and completely devastated. I try to direct them to a Facebook group I have become aware of for support, as I try to help them navigate a condition that has been termed the silent epidemic.
For the month of June, instead of my usual posts warning people of the tell-tale signs and encouraging them to seek help, I asked one of my patient’s if she wanted to write something in her own words about her experience since her diagnosis of prolapse, in the hope that when we are open about talking about these conditions it will encourage more women to be aware of how to avoid it, and to come forward and seek help when it is needed.
This is Jo, she is a Mum of 2 and first came to me late last year when she suspected that things were not completely right with her body.
Hi, I’m Jo.
I’m 33 and I have been diagnosed with a prolapse.
Shocking I know, believe me I was shocked. I cried for about 3 weeks straight I think! I thought it was for old ducks, apparently not. Am I ashamed to talk about it? NO way! Is it life threatening? No. It is life altering though, and I wish I knew more about it before I got it! Knowledge is power, google is bad.
Finding the right information early on is so important. The more I think about it the more I think that actually I have had symptoms of a prolapse for years, I just didn’t know what it was. I thought wetting my pants a bit was ok, because pretty much every mum I know does! I put it to the back of my mind and kept on keeping on with the kids.
There were other signs too; back pain, groin pain, hip pain, tampon not fitting quite right, so many clues my body was giving me. Kegels (pelvic floor exercises) are not the only fix, I know now that our pelvic floor runs deeper, just like that kids song; my hip bones are connected to my back bones…this could also be sung about our muscles and how they are all joined. The right information can be powerful though, Bec at GC Physio for Women opened my eyes and gave me confidence to ask questions.
I hope that my story can help others start to open up to their friends and seek the right information when it’s needed. I am not ‘fixed’ but my symptoms are certainly so much better. I can’t help but wonder if I had of asked someone earlier about my issues, or if I had more support after I gave birth, if my prolapse would be as bad as it?
Talking about your vagina should not be taboo; we all have our own wonderful birth stories which I know we all share, why can’t we share when things go wrong as well? Then when it happens, maybe women wouldn’t feel so isolated and alone.