Before entering the world of pelvic floor functionality, I had never really thought about pelvic organs in women beyond their relationship to childbearing. In fact, at the age of 40 I had never heard of pelvic organ prolapse in women. I didn't know what it was, much less how it felt. Or more importantly, I had no idea how women felt about experiencing symptoms of prolapse, including their fears, their beliefs, and their frustrations.
As NAFC has expanded its mission in recent years to include public education and advocacy on behalf of people living with pelvic floor dysfunction, I have learned that women with prolapse are often misinformed, misunderstood, and even discounted by the medical community. I won't try to tackle here the reasons why. Our own research reveals that many women don't know what is happening to them when they have a feeling of a lump or a bulge in the vagina or rectum, low backache, a sensation of heaviness and dragging, and even need to use their finger to push the bulging out of the way to complete a bowel movement or empty their bladder.
Understandably, a cancerous tumor is the first thought some have. Not wishing to be delivered bad news, they actually forego making an appointment with a doctor. Still others assume it is a natural part of aging or the natural aftermath of repeated childbirth and vaginal delivery. Certainly, while those factors place us at increased risk of pelvic organ prolapse, it is not a condition to accept as "natural." It is not our God-Given inheritance as the female gender to endure years of discomfort, uncertainty and embarrassment, and compromised sexual intimacy with our partners.
Even though only 10-20% of the adult female population show any symptoms of prolapse upon pelvic examination, all of us need to be educated about what it is, the risk factors, how we can promote pelvic floor strength for support, and what the treatment options are if suspect it. Don't just accept it. And don't let your mother, your sisters, your aunts, or your friends accept prolapse either. To read more, go to http://www.nafc.org/bladder-bowel-health/prolapse/
Published On: July 01, 2008