Pelvic Floor: Kim Vopni
Pelvic organ prolapse in menopausal women can be a big problem. The pelvic floor muscles can be weak, overstretched, slow to work, too tight, or torn just like the other muscles of your body.
When the pelvic floor weakens it can lead to pelvic organ prolapse. Where one or more organs of the pelvic area shift out of their optimal anatomical position. And bulge into or descend into the vagina.
“This causes a bulge in the vagina that will sometimes protrude through the vaginal opening.”
Causes Of Menopausal Pelvic Organ Prolapse:
There are many causes of pelvic organ prolapse (heavy lifting, vaginal birth, hysterectomy). And, the lack of estrogen during menopause thins the supporting structures holding pelvic organs in place, causing them to shift.
Initially, prolapse can happen with stress from vaginal childbirth. Later in life with menopause, there can be further thinning of the tissues. When the tissues supporting the pelvic organs are thin or damaged., the organs they support may drop down and press against the wall of the vagina. Especially if the pelvic floor muscles are not working optimally. This causes a bulge in the vagina that will sometimes protrude through the vaginal opening.
The lack of vaginal moisture associated with menopause can also cause problems with sexual function. The vaginal tissue becomes frail and less supple and stretching from intercourse can be very irritating or even painful at times.
“Unlike other symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, pelvic organ prolapse symptoms can increase with age.”
Pelvic Organ Prolapse Symptoms:
Symptoms can range from minor pain and difficulty urinating to emotional distress. Unlike other symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes, pelvic organ prolapse symptoms can increase with age. Other symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse include:
- Pain or a feeling of pressure in the pelvis or vagina
- Feeling that something is coming out of your vagina
- Tissue protruding from the vagina (bleeding or tenderness)
- Difficulty urinating or a feeling that the bladder will not empty
- Bowel movement difficulty
- Lower back pain
- Urinary incontinence (urine leakage during sneezing, coughing or exertion)
- Frequent bladder infections
- Painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
Since the reduction in estrogen is one of the main contributors of menopausal pelvic organ prolapse, hormone therapy (HT) can help restore the integrity to the vagina and may help to strengthen the vaginal structures supporting the pelvic floor. Moreover, if your prolapse conditions are advanced, your doctor may prescribe a pessary. A pessary is a device that, when placed into the vagina, holds varying organs in place.
In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. If you are considering surgery as an option, it is important to work with a pelvic floor physiotherapist and be diligent with your pelvic floor exercises before and after surgery.
About the Author:
Kim Vopni is a self professed pelvic health evangelist and is known as The Vagina Coach. She has a BA in Psychology and a postgraduate certificate in Health and Fitness. She is a certified fitness professional who became passionate about spreading information on pelvic health when she was pregnant with her first child.
Kim is the founder of Pelvienne Wellness Inc – a company offering pelvic health programs products and coaching for women in pregnancy, motherhood and menopause. She is also the creator of the Ab System – a revolutionary birth prep and recovery system for pregnant women. Kim certifies other fitness and movement professionals to work with women with core and pelvic floor challenges through her Core Confidence Specialist Certification and Pre/Postnatal Fitness Specialist Certification. You can find her on-line at www.vaginacoach.com and on social media @vaginacoach