Physiotherapy can help prevent complete prolapse

Physiotheraphy has been touted as a potential treatment for prolapse, before resorting to surgery.

Canadian physiotherapist Carolyn Vandyken is a specialist in pelvic prolapses and she claims that one in seven women will suffer some degree of prolapse in their life. Some simply do not recognise the signs and go on to live with a degree of discomfort. She is calling for automatic scans at set periods after childbirth, as problems can begin at this stage and go on to worsen as the woman ages. In the end, even constipation can trigger a prolapse.

Once the prolapse is serious enough, surgery is the only option, but early detection and spotting the warning signs can help women avoid surgery altogether. If it’s caught early enough, a series of exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor can stave off the need for surgery.

Canada is ahead of the curve with this treatment and now has 400 physiotherapists providing this kind of treatment in the Ontario area alone. Studies have shown that pelvic floor physiotherapy provides a moderate to marked improvement in women that are showing the early signs of prolapse.

“We grade prolapses from zero to four,” explained Vandyken. “One means coming into the vagina, two means coming right to the opening, three means coming through and four means the vagina is turning inside-out like a sock. Physiotherapists are best able to help people with one or two. Three or four probably need a surgical consult.”

The physiotherapy is based on the legendary Kegel exercises that form part of the standard pre and post-natal regime recommended by all mothers. In physiotherapy the exercises are much more advanced, though, and the women are taught to isolate certain muscles for exercise in a regulated fashion.

If your uterus problems result in the need for surgery, you can rest assured that surgical procedures are much less invasive than they used to be; sacrohysteropexy is a new procedure that allows the surgeon to reposition the uterus, which actually saves women from having to go through a full hysterectomy. Mr Jonathan Broome practises this laparoscopic technique and has a 100% success rate, allowing women to have more children, but there are non-surgical treatment options for less serious cases.

Prolapse repair surgery is always the final solution, but even specialists would prefer women to avoid surgery by any means possible and physiotherapy is taking off. Just make sure you catch any prolapse symptoms early.


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