Friday, February 16, 2018

What to do if your uterus feels like it's going to fall out of your body. Or: Pelvic Prolapse

Disclaimer: I'm turning 29 in a few weeks and have had many experiances in my life, none so crazy and wonderful and terrible as natural childbirth (twice) (humblebrag). It's pretty much stripped me of any embarrassment around my body, and also helped me become a better and more true version of myself. That said, if you are my Dad or my 3rd cousin or my elementary school teacher and can't handle me talking about female anatomy, kindly click away from here.


So cue to about 3 months ago. I was roughly 2 weeks postpartum and I was feeling GOOD y'all. My recovery from Lorelai's birth was incredibly easy, my angel newborn was sleeping 5-6 hours at night, I was feeling #blessed. I didn't tear at all with Cub, but there's always a certain amount of swelling and general weirdness that goes down afterwards. But then another few weeks went by, and that swollen heavy feeling was not going away. I was chatting with a friend who had her baby just a couple weeks after I did, and described the feeling. She'd had 3 babies and had no clue what I was talking about.

The feeling was a nagging. A heaviness in my vagina, like a menstrual cup or tampon thats edging out and irritating you in a way you just can't quite describe. When I'd wipe or sit on the toilet, the feeling was stronger, and to be honest with you I was terrified to look and see if what I thought had happened had really and truly happened. I was also plagued with feelings of self doubt. I do not tend towards hypochondria, but I didn't want to drag myself and my new baby and perhaps my toddler in to a doctors office only to be told that this was all part of the normal postpartum healing process. One night I'd had enough and I explained to Jared what I thought it was and forced him to check it out. All he said was "It definitely looks like something is there."

Reader: It was my uterus.
A girl with a slipping uterus

Spoiler alert: my uterus did not ever leave my body. But it was NOT where Mother Nature had originally placed it. And Google will tell you some very unclear and scary stuff about all of this. Once I went in to the midwives, they confirmed a stage 2 prolapse. Stage 3 would have been completely out, this was just very low. Basically, Cubby came out so fast and furious (some would say 2 Fast 2 Furious)  that my muscles had just given up. They could no longer adequately hold up my internal organs. My uterus had slipped down in to my vagina.
Image result for womens pelvic floor
It's important to note here that nothing is fastening your reproductive organs in place. Your pelvic floor in basically a hammock of muscles, and if they are weakened enough it causes massive problems. Most women have urine leakage problems after having a baby, and slight prolapse is why. Other women's prolapse is so bad they have to wear special devices called pessaries to hold everything up and in. Basically a vagina cork. My midwives set me up with a pelvic floor therapist and sent me on my merry way.

When I got in the car after my appointment, I was feeling pretty darn bad for myself. I wanted to shuffle off this mortal coil, and had a good cry and a milkshake. In truth I was incredibly lucky to have 0 symptoms besides the nagging feeling in my nethers. Some women experience constant poo and pee leakage after prolapse. While I was convinced in the moment I would never be able to sex, carry a baby, or live a happy life ever ever again, that certainly was not true.


Shortly after this pity fest, I met with Eliza, my pelvic floor therapist. She is a doctor of physical therapy and specializes in women's health. She is very charming, disarming, hilarious, and the person I really needed at the moment. When I walked in to her office she first told me that I was VERY freshly post-partum (6 weeks) and that I truly was still healing. People are often telling me to give myself a little grace, and I am often being an A Type freak who needs TO FIX THINGS RIGHT NOW. ahem. Anyway, she did an assessment that was quite literally her sticking a few fingers in my vagina, feeling around and having me kegel. For many people this would be mortifying, but I was so scared of  my organs falling out I felt only mild chagrin.

At this point she confirmed the stage 2 prolapse, and told me my uterus was hanging out maybe 1/2 to 1 inch inside my vagina. I could only hold a kegel for about 2-3 seconds before giving out. She asked me to work on 5 second holds, and we started meeting regularly.

The next few appointments involved sensors placed on either side of my ahem rectum, so that a computer could chart the strength of my kegels. It was all very scientific. She'd coach me through kegel exercises and taught me how to activate them when carrying things or walking. I worked with Eliza for about 7 weeks and here I am: a graduate of therapy! Who can now hold a set of kegels, standing, for 10-15 seconds at a time! I no longer feel that heavy nagging feeling.
Image result for womens pelvic floor
I am not a doctor, and I won't go in depth to much about what I actually did at my appointments because I am sure everyone is different. I wanted to write this post because when I was searching for information about this there just wasn't a lot out there. I posted on 2 separate Facebook groups for women and didn't receive even one response. Not a word of encouragement or an acknowledgment that this happens to others. Well, guess what it happens to LOTs of people. This is why lots of ladies end up regularly peeing themselves when they sneeze! That joke is part of the zeitgeist, and we just accept it and move on. Doesn't have to be that way

Here are 4 things I learned in PT that will hopefully help you:
  1. Kegels. You are probably doing one now if you are a vagina-owner and thinking "Please 10 seconds? I got this." But it's not about the length of time, it's about endurance. To strengthen your pelvic floor you need to be able to squeeze those muscles, release fully, tighten again and release fully in sets of 10. And to keep doing that multiple times a day. Try it and I am sure you'll feel yourself tire. 
  2. If you have health insurance, chances are PT is covered. I barely had to pay anything for my treatment, and I have a high deductible plan. It's really hard to learn how to do these exercises on your own. The coaching and monitoring helps so much. 
  3. You can see results quickly in your symptoms! I felt some relief just a few weeks after starting PT.
  4. Your health and comfort are worth WAY more then embarrassment over having a doctor look at, touch or talk about your vagina, anus, uterus or any other part down there that may cause you to blush. 

^^ myself and Lorelai, the pelvic floor destroyer.

If you have any questions or you'd like Eliza's info, let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Hey we were in the ward with your family before moving to NSB. I stumbled upon this bc friends with your brothers and seen other posts of yours. I really appreciate you being so candid and sharing your experience bc I too have experienced pelvic floor dsyfunction. Not a total prolapse like you but still some uncomfortable, embarrassing symptoms I still deal with. It got worse after each kid and I just had my 4th 3 days ago! I did a water birth at home and had to have my midwife really coach me through the pushing bc of my weak pelvic floor. Once I recover I would greatly be interested in pelvic floor therapy but not sure if there is one near me. Any other info you have would be helpful! My email is: or find me on Facebook. Thanks! - Mary Kay Steflik