So many women feel the mental load of pelvic organ prolapse. And whilst pelvic organ prolapse is a physical shift and descent of the pelvic organs from their original position. I truly believe it can impact all aspects of a person’s life and being. From relationships to body image, mental health, etc. This blog will explore some of the key themes I observe through my work and conversations with those who have prolapse
A prolapse diagnosis or the realisation that the symptoms you are feeling is actually a prolapse can come with a huge onslaught of emotions, feelings, thoughts, and questions. Such as;
Will it ever get better?
Will it get worse?
What if everything falls out?
How will I look after my baby/children?
What about my sex life? Will my partner notice?
What does it mean for future children and expanding my family?
And finally…why me?
Part of my work as a personal trainer and coach for women who have prolapse and want to exercise, is to help lighten the mental load. So, here are some of the explanations or phrases I use for clients.
It wasn't the workout you did
For many prolapse symptoms “appear” immediately after or around an athletic or highly physical event. It could be the first run postpartum, or a class they did pre-pregnancy or lifting something heavy. But we know that pelvic organ prolapse is rarely down to a single event or a single exercise. But more an accumulation of factors that may happen over time or have been happening. It’s natural to want to tie it to a particular event (mostly for better understanding) but can create a tendency to blame the event, or blame yourself. Plus can create fear around doing the things, that you think may have caused it.
You did not fail at giving birth
Birth injury, or an assisted birth may contribute to the development of prolapse. So, it can be super common to blame yourself for not giving birth in a way that prevented this. Again, birth can be complex, multi-faceted and you may feel that the outcome wasn’t within your total control.
Being able to share your experience and speaking to someone who specializes in birth trauma can be really helpful in processing your experience.
Relieve yourself of the burden of "fixing" your prolapse
I know the messaging in the health and fitness industry may say differently, but you do not need to get rid of your prolapse in order to live an active and awesome life. In-fact, if you only focus on reversing your prolapse, you may never get round to moving past it – both physically and emotionally. During the years I have been working with clients who have POP, I’ve shifted my own focus from it being all about the prolapse, and the grade, to make it about the person (you) and your lived experience and goals. I focus on what we can truly influence without prolapse being the handbrake in your life. And if there is a reduction in grade, then that is fab, but let’s not make it the only measure of success.
You're not alone (but not all communities are positive)
Having pelvic organ prolapse can feel isolating. Especially if you are the only person you know who is experiencing it. Although given the statistics, it’s likely to know people who have a prolapse – and they may or may not be aware themselves. There are many social media groups set up to provide support. But WARNING they may not all be positive. Many clients who have been part of these groups may have been told that surgery is their only option, or that their prolapse will only get worse (particularly if they continue to exercise). Find a forward-looking, positive group with plenty of genuine support and uplifting stories.
Even though pelvic organ prolapse is very common, I never underestimate the impact it may have on someones life. So, if you are experiencing prolapse symptoms and would like my help in helping to improve symptoms and live an active and awesome life, below are some resources.