It’s a scary thought; your sexual organs falling down and out of your vaginal canal.
What’s even scarier, is that 44% of women will experience some degree of sexual organ prolapse in their lifetime, with one in three needing a hysterectomy by the time they’re 60!
So if prolapse is such a common problem, why aren’t more women talking about it?
Yep! Women are suffering in silence for fear of being ridiculed or judged.
Hence, I decided to write this blog to shed some light on what prolapse is, what causes prolapse, and how we can prevent and heal it.
Because none of us want our most precious lady parts journeying south.
What exactly is sexual organ prolapse?
The term ‘prolapse’ means to fall out of place.
When you’re told by a doctor that you have a prolapsed sexual organ, the muscles, fascia and ligaments that are designed to hold the organ in place have become weak.
So weak, that they can’t do their job anymore, leaving them vulnerable to the effects of gravity.
Prolapses can happen to many of our internal organs; the bladder, intestines, bowel, uterus… even our vaginal walls can collapse downwards.
In worst case scenarios the organs fall down through the vaginal opening.
Yes, the whole vagina can turn inside out and come out containing all of our pelvic organs!
Shocking, I know!!
When this happens women are advised to have surgery to remove a sexual organ.
Yet this doesn’t solve the problem.
We want to keep all of our sexual organs as they form super important functions, even once our baby making days are over.
What we also need to consider, is that our sexual organs are packed tightly together and behave as a single entity within the pelvic cavity.
Because of the natural, fascia-lined space between the organs, each can move and function independently, but they are intimately connected.
So when you take one of these organs out in surgery, it upsets the whole structure, and almost certainly guarantees further operations to remove more organs as they make their descent, unable to stay pinned into their position due to the loss of other crucial organs that were helping hold them in place.
Ok then… we know what sexual organ prolapse is and why we don’t want to have surgery to heal this condition, let’s find out…
What causes a woman’s sexual organs to prolapse?
The two main drivers of prolapse are a lack of fascial support in the pelvis; the connective tissues in the pelvis becoming overstretched or overly tight.
The uteral-sacral ligament for example, with runs from the top of the uterus to the sacrum, can become gradually stretched over the years.
Its job is to stop the uterus from moving down and out every time we have a bowel movement.
However, connective tissue issues are not the root cause of prolapse, but a symptom of how we use ourself.
The most common ways we ladies facilitate faulty ergonomics, is through:
- Unhealthy posture
- Sucking in your belly
- Wearing high heals
- Straining when you poop
- And a sedentary lifestyle
All things that we can change, right?
I know you love how your calves look when you wear high heels and how flat your belly looks when you suck it in.
However when we pop on the stilettos or pull in our belly (something many of us have been conditioned to do unconsciously) it irons out the natural curve in our lower back.
The same thing happens when we slouch.
Why is this a problem?
Because when we lose our lumbar curve it pulls the sexual organs away from the abdominal wall where they belong, leaving no place for them to go, except down.
Our pelvic floor isn’t designed to support our sexual organs.
And no amount of Kegels will build that kind of pelvic floor strength.
You need to hold your body in a way that allows all of your natural curves to remain in place, so your sexual organs can be supported by your abdominal wall and the bony pelvis.
Our womanly curves are there for a reason, and as soon as we iron them out through unhealthy habits, we upset the bony structures, which leads to weaknesses and stresses in our muscles and tissues.
OK, so we need to ditch the heels and let our belly relax.
We also need to avoid straining when we poop!
When we push too hard to poo, it causes weakness in the organs, fascia and muscles within the pelvis – which creates excessive abdominal pressure – and this can lead to prolapse.
If you experience constipation you need to get that sorted, if you want to ensure your pooping doesn’t stress out your lady parts.
And to help with this, I suggest reading my blog: ‘Constipation: Do you have trouble pooping?’
What about sitting?
Yes, spending too much time sitting – living a sedentary lifestyle – is also a key contributor to sexual organ prolapse, because it creates tightness in the groin.
This is where practices like yoga which invite the body to release tension and create more flexibility in the body, are beautiful ways of looking after our sexual organs.
Giving birth can also cause wear and tear that leads to prolapse, especially births where there has been vacuum extractions, forceps or episiotomies.
If the pelvis and its contents are not in ideal condition pre-birth, this can cause many of the structures within the pelvis to be damaged during childbirth.
That’s why it’s so important for women to build a solid foundation within the pelvis before conceiving.
For me personally, it was learning specific techniques on how to release and let go during birth, that meant that my vagina wasn’t damaged, and my organs quickly went back into place after the birth.
You can read more about my birth experience in my blog: ‘My Positive Birth Story’.
How do we prevent and heal prolapse?
Preventing and healing prolapse requires two things.
Firstly, you need to change the habits and patterns that are causing weaknesses within the body that would result in prolapse.
Yes, that means ditching the high heels, relaxing your belly, standing tall in a way that allows your natural womanly curves to be present as you walk through life, making sure you have good digestion so you don’t need to strain when you poop, and moving your body in a way that allows for a full range of movement.
The natural design of the female spine and pelvis are perfectly adapted to keeping the pelvic organs well positioned over the course of the full human lifespan.
It’s our habits and behaviours – how we use and treat our body – that get in the way of them doing their job as they were designed.
So while incorrect use of our body will result in prolapse, so will a lack of use.
That’s why we also need to invest time in exercising our lady parts.
And I don’t mean doing Kegels.
Kegels actually do more harm than good, as I explain in my blog: ‘Kegel exercises: Do they really work?’
Neither do I mean doing a heap of core work that focuses on building abs of steel!
In order to have well functioning sexual organs that remain in place well into your twilight years, you need a practice that works directly with the ‘pelvic parfait’.
When I refer to the ‘pelvic parfait’, I’m talking about the muscles, organs, tissue and facia that sit within the pelvic bowl.
You need to consider the whole area, not as different muscles that need to be exercised (like the PC muscle in Kegels), but as a whole.
Without this approach to your sexual organ workout, you’ll create weaknesses in the way that each part communicates with the next.
And this is why I created Yoga for the Vagina; a practice that uses a Jade Egg to work with the internal systems to prevent and heal prolapse.
By using a Jade Egg you pull the energy and organs upwards.
And by learning how to squeeze and release the entire ‘pelvic parfait’ you create tone and stability within the endopelvic fascia, which is the major support system of the pelvis and the organs within it.
As well as being guided on how to establish a healthy home practice to support your sexual organs, in the Yoga for the Vagina online course I share specific instruction on how to invite a healthy posture – that supports your natural curves – into your daily life.
The best bit is that you can work through this program in the privacy of your own home and gently heal your organs on your own.
Ok ladies, now you know the deal with sexual organ prolapse, let’s spread the word.
Share this blog with your lady friends.
If we look at the stats, around half of your friends will be suffering in silence.
So let’s band together and strip off the shame and fear around women’s sexual issues and get the conversation started.
As they say, prevention is better than cure, so for those ladies who haven’t experienced any prolapse symptoms yet, get in early, so you never have too!