I discovered I had a prolapsed bladder just 2 weeks after giving birth to my fourth child. I could feel a fleshy bulge caused by my bladder slipping down and putting pressure on my front vaginal wall. I was devastated. I felt broken, scared and alone.
I wondered if I would ever be able to bear children again. I began looking for information and found sites like www.wholewoman.com. It was there that I learned how common pelvic organ prolapses (POP) are (we are not alone!) and that they CAN be managed with lifestyle changes. That was 4 years ago.
Since then, I’ve given birth two more times with little or no effect on my prolapse (despite an OBGYN’s insistence that it would only get worse if I continued childbearing). I have learned so much in the last four years about pelvic organ support and health.
I have come out of a place of fear into a place of thankfulness and here are my top 10 reasons why I’m thankful for my POP:
- I think twice about raising my voice with my children! Yelling can actually aggravate POP so it is helpful to try and remain soft-spoken as much as possible.
- I have a greater need to avoid stress and foster peace in my life! Stress also aggravates POP so making an effort to live a peaceful life goes a long way in managing prolapse.
- I focus more on healthy eating! Because bowel trouble (especially constipation) is really terrible for POP, it is so important to eat foods high in fiber, as well as nutritious foods that promote optimal health.
- I lead a more active lifestyle! I can’t say that with 6 kids I am always faithful at exercising but I am certainly more active and I do exercise more than I ever did before. Avoiding exercises that strain your pelvic support system such as pilates and some yoga positions is key!
- I wear more feminine clothing! Tight clothes can really aggravate your POP so wearing loose fitting and flowing garments such as skirts and dresses contributes to keeping your prolapse in check! And it helps you feel feminine and beautiful too!
- I make better birthing choices. It’s true you can continue to bear children even with POP! My midwife is always mindful of protecting my prolapse as much as possible during childbirth. We avoid interventions. I usually try to give birth on my hands and knees so my bladder is out of the way. At my last birth, the placenta was a little stubborn and my midwife was careful not to coax it out to avoid damaging my prolapse. I was very appreciative of her support.
- My teens help out with household chores (especially ones that require heavy lifting!). I try to avoid lifting heavy things as it really can aggravate POP. I have learned not to carry around an overflowing basket of laundry or heavy garbage bags. My teens have learned to become more helpful and I have had to learn to delegate!
- I have a cuddle chair! At first, I was really sad about having to avoid lifting my heavy toddler. But, I eventually got creative and designated a chair where we would cuddle together whenever a toddler-sized-crisis arose. It actually became a really special spot for us to bond and spend time together!
- I take care of my bladder! With a bladder that sits a little low, there is always the potential for bacteria to accumulate in stagnant urine. This can lead to painful cystitis and urinary tract infections! I have learned to pay attention to my fluid intake (I drink lots of water!). I also take cranberry capsules daily to help flush out bacteria and I often pee standing over the toilet, while leaning forward to tip my bladder so it empties fully. It works wonders!
- I have learned that I can lead a normal life, even continue to bear children, with a little bit of wisdom, and smart lifestyle practices! Most days, my prolapse does quite well and doesn’t affect me at all. I’m thankful for women who have shared their stories and wisdom so that I could learn from them! So many women are affected by POP (some stats say 1 out of 2 women will experience a form of POP in their lifetime) and yet we are so afraid to talk about it.
If you have discovered you have a pelvic organ prolapse (bladder, uterus or bowel), take heart! There is hope! You can learn to manage POP and live a full life! Christine Kent has wonderful information over at wholewoman.com! The face of POP isn’t just the post-menopausal woman. Childbearing women can also experience POP. If this is you, take a deep breath, find information and live life fully!