Despite the common nature of pelvic organ prolapse, discovery upon diagnosis is the norm for most women. Millions of women suffer in silence with embarrassing symptoms they don’t understand. Stigma shrouds pelvic organ prolapse (POP) despite medical records dating back nearly 4000 years to the Kahun Papyrus in 1835 BC.

“Knowledge is power,” Dr. Roger Dmochowski of Vanderbilt University once said, adding “and a woman should have all the information she needs to make an informed decision about her body.” 

The most common symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse are:

  • Tissues bulging from the vagina.

  • Urinary incontinence.

  • Chronic constipation.

  • Fecal incontinence.

  • Pressure, pain, or fullness in the vagina, rectum, or abdomen.

  • Urine retention.

  • Painful intercourse.

  • Lack of sexual sensation.

  • Coital incontinence.

  • Inability to keep a tampon in.

The most common causes of POP are:

  • Childbirth: large birth weight baby, long second stage labor, forceps or suction delivery, multiple births.

  • Menopause: age related estrogen loss impacts muscle tissue strength, integrity, elasticity, and density.

  • Chronic constipation: poor diet, IBS, lack of exercise.

  • Chronic coughing: smoking, emphysema, allergies.

  • Neuromuscular diseases: Multiple Sclerosis (muscle weakness), Marfan (collagen deficiency), Ehlers-Danlos (hypermobility).

  • Repetitive heavy lifting: children, lifestyle, employment, fitness routines.

  • Aggressive downward pounding fitness activities: jogging, marathon running, aggressive aerobics.

  • Diastasis rectus abdominus (DRA): separation of the long abdominal muscle during pregnancy.

  • Genetics.

Millions of women suffer in silence with their untold story every day, and frequently those who share it are told it’s “all in your head.”

It is imperative we speak out loud about pelvic organ prolapse, the signs, the symptoms, the causes and the treatments, to increase awareness and enable women suffering in silence to find the answers they need to live happy, productive, healthy lives