If you have been diagnosed with a prolapse, it’s likely you’ve been given your diagnosis and told to do your pelvic floor exercises (and perhaps not much else!). You’ve heard the word prolapse (maybe a grade) but you have no idea what this means for your life. It may have come as a shock because it was a routine check and you’re actually symptom-free. Or you may have had a suspicion and it’s now been confirmed.
But what is the value of the diagnosis?
Whilst, it’s not about withholding information from someone, it’s about using the prolapse diagnosis to have a helpful conversation. This conversation could include:
- The frequency of prolapse diagnosis (perhaps supported by stats, so that someone feels less alone and isolated)
- The potential for improvement in symptoms (which I think is huge!)
- How good your pelvic floor function is or what can be worked on (and there is always ways to make improvements)
- What a path to exercise looks like
- How a prolapse may not actually change a grade (for want of a better phrase “get worse”)
- How many women do live a fulfilling and active life with pelvic organ prolapse
Should a prolapse always be graded?
Prolapses are generally graded from 0 (no prolapse present) to grade 4 (referred to as a significant or severe prolapse). Staging may also be informed by the POP-Q system which takes measurements from 6 locations and 3 anatomical markers.
The difficulty with grading or staging is that
- A prolapse can present differently at different times of the day, month, etc
- Different providers may report or grade differently (also depending on the above)
- What value does this add to a client who has a prolapse and no symptoms versus someone who finds examinations uncomfortable and emotionally challenging?
- Provides no information on the support structures eg pelvic floor muscles and how well they may be doing their job (which I think can be hugely reassuring, don’t you?)
Is it more helpful to talk about prolapse symptoms versus a diagnosis?
I think so. In a recent DM conversation, a lovely lady got in touch to say her GP had diagnosed a prolapse and she stopped running and lifting weights. In a session with a physio, it was found that a tight (hypertonic) pelvic floor was driving her “prolapse-type” symptoms. With some conservative treatment and self-management, she could get back to the exercise she loved without the symptoms of heaviness.
Symptoms are something we can often influence through physio, self-care techniques as well as movement, whereas we can’t always influence the presence or grade of a prolapse.
If you are finding it hard to move past your prolapse diagnosis and get back to the exercise you love, and would like some help. Book in for a 15 minute chat here.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is not a replacement for medical advice you may have been given by your healthcare professional but represents the thoughts and views of the author.