*Special welcome to the Huffington Post readers!*
True, this is not the sexiest topic in the world but its one that is not talked about enough.
Do you know what pelvic organ prolapse is? Let me define it for you…
It’s when your cervix, bladder or rectum falls out of place pushing into your vagina wall creating a bulge that you can feel and see from the vaginal opening. This happens from a weakened vaginal wall.
It’s a shame that most women have never heard of prolapse before they have it.
You read and hear nothing of it in pregnancy books or at OB/Gyn visits. Most doctors casually dismiss it as being a non-issue.
But if you have a prolapse, then girl it’s a BIG issue, especially at the onset….
Today I am sharing with you about a time in my life that should have been wonderful and sweet but ended up being pretty dark and depressing.
But first I want to pause here…
If you are reading this blog post because you just found out you have a prolapse then let me reassure you that you are in the right place for POSITIVE information about it.
There is so much negativity about how horrible prolapse is and how your life will never be the same again. Girl, don’t read that crap (sorry but it is crap).
You just stick with me, and know that everything is going to be okay.
Okay, on with my story…
Two weeks after the birth of my third child I realized things were NOT normal “down there”.
Panicked, I called my doctor’s office right away. I was terribly afraid that my insides were falling out of me.
In the doctor’s office I was told that my bladder had fallen into the walls of the vagina, a stage two bladder prolapse, medically termed a cystocele.
Horrified and teary eyed I asked my doctor what it meant. He calmly and confidently said it happens to some women. He said I should be back to normal by the first birthday of my baby.
Feeling reassured I left the office confident, yet I still had so many questions. Honestly, I was bummed it would take a year but I was happy life would eventually go back to “normal”.
A few days after my diagnosis I was thinking about my half marathon goal and how soon I could start training for one. I’d never run a half or full marathon but had planned on doing it the coming summer.
In the Google search form, I typed, “running” and “prolapse”.
The information I found was devastating. Instantly my body tingled, I felt hot and heartache set in.
The articles I read said that I would never run again and my body would never return to normal.
The following weeks you could find me in a heap on my couch and crying.
Girl, I WAS afraid to walk, jump, pick my kids up, even be intimate with my hubby!
Afraid that if I did anything my bladder would fall out completely.
Depression hung around for months. I couldn’t exercise confidently so the post-pregnancy weight started to creep up. And without the endorphin release from exercise, my anxiety level was high.
Running has always been the way I lose the weight and de-stress after a baby so this news only added to my frustration and heartache.
Days, weeks and months went by with no idea what to do for myself. As time went on I started to feel better “down there” yet I was still so afraid to exercise.
Frustration filled every part of my being when I thought about how I would never lose the baby weight. I felt lost and lonely.
Nobody else understood. All these other moms with babies were fine. Their vaginas were not crippled like mine.
My Turning Point…
One Saturday morning my Mom called me and said to listen to a local health talk-show on the radio. She said they were discussing women’s health. I tuned in and received a huge answer to prayer!
Two women, who specialized in women’s health physical therapy, were talking about pelvic health, how to heal, get stronger and how they could help!
That week I called and booked my first appointment with one of them!
The PT helped me tremendously and gave me hope. After working with her for a while she even told me to start running again. So I did!
This was years ago now. I have not run a half marathon yet but I have gotten up to a 10k. Training is slow but steady. It’s more that I have been too busy to train rather than an inability to train.
On top of running again my life is normal. I weight train (with modifications), I workout regularly. I have even lost the baby weight and THEN SOME!
(Umm and the alone time with hubby is fantastic, just sayin’! *blushing now*)
More good news! I have been back to the doctor (a different one now) and the prolapse has receded!
Prolapse is not just an “old lady” disease or a “birthing trauma”. It can happen to anyone.
There are ways to strengthen your pelvic floor (and not just with kegels either).
You can live a happy life with pelvic organ prolapse.
If you are struggling with prolapse and do not know where to turn to for help then you can start here today.
Don’t sit on your couch with your kleenex wondering how you will get through the rest of your life like I did!
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I look forward to helping you and talking with you! -Natalie