There is a question that I get asked a lot. It’s not a particularly pleasant question, but it is one that everyone should know the answer to. It’s also a question that many people don’t ask because they are scared to hear the answer. But it’s time we spoke about taboo subjects more; it’s time to stop them from being taboo!
The question I get asked is, “Is there a happy life after prolapse?”.
I have a reputation. It’s a reputation I am happy with. I am known as the straight-talking, no-nonsense physio who tells it how it is. I believe in being honest and not over-promising things I can’t achieve or that I don’t feel other people can achieve. But in response to the question, “Is there a happy life after prolapse?” my answer is yes. A big fat yes yes yes.
“Esther and the knowledge she has already provided gives me my first glimpse of hope when it comes to life after prolapse. Her positive energy, extensive knowledge base, passion for teaching, and dedication to her community areirreplaceable. I know I have a long road ahead to recovery, but I know I can do it, and these are the women I want to do it with. Thank you, Esther, for creating this amazing community, spreading awareness and for working every day to ensure more women get the answers they so desperately look for.”
Experiencing any pelvic health concern is crap; there is no denying that. We go through life taking our pelvic floor for granted. We don’t realise just how vulnerable it is and how much we should be looking after it. We know it’s there, but we don’t give it a second thought until one day something changes. That something could be caused by childbirth, or weight training, or hormone changes due to age. All of which can weaken our pelvic floor. But we don’t look after it because we have no idea, we need to…no one tells us! There is such little education on the importance of pelvic health, and as a consequence, over 50% of women will experience some degree of prolapse in their lifetime. I could rant forever on this topic, but instead, I want to focus on the here and now. Let’s talk about being happy!
Sadly, there is a myth that life after prolapse has to be a miserable one. That there is no way to gain physical improvement and that symptoms will only ever get worse. But this is just not true. I can’t promise miracles because, as I said before, I am blunt and honest. So yes, it is true that for many women, living with prolapse is something that they need to learn to do. But that doesn’t have to be just an “existence”; just trudging through life every day feeling depressed and in pain or discomfort. For a vast percentage of sufferers, dramatic improvement of their symptoms can be gained with the proper support and guidance. And for many others, including myself, they go on to live symptom-free lives.
“Esther has really helped me understand my own body more, as well as the importance of maintaining both a strong pelvic floor and core. She goes above and beyond by sharing her expertise and her own experiences of pelvic health concerns. With her regular updates, live sessions, and short courses, Esther instils you with confidence that you can regain control of your body again. I am finally starting to get my life back again and not having to worry about where the nearest loo is when I go out!”
Prolapse isn’t just caused by childbirth, but there is no denying that it is in most cases. Our bodies carry a considerable amount of extra weight, which puts massive pressure on our pelvic floor. Let’s be honest, though…after having babies, can we really expect our vaginas to look the same as they did pre-baby?? No. We need to be realistic that there will be some changes, but those changes should not lead to pain and discomfort, and if they do, there is something wrong. However, for most of us, there is so much we can do to make that better for ourselves.
Once an organ has prolapsed, it is doubtful that that area of tissue will fully return to exactly how it was before. However, during the postpartum period, our bodies will see some level of recovery; this is down to a balance of natural healing, hormone changes, commitment to physio and some good old fashioned positive mental attitude. Those first 12 - 18 months can be an amazing time for our bodies, and a lot of healingwill occur. It is so important, though, that we help these things along. The purpose of good pelvic health physio is to build a strong, functioning pelvic floor that we have confidence in. Confidence that we can walk, laugh, and lift our children without being scared of the consequences. This may not mean that our vaginas are fully back to the “old normal”, but that’s not the aim. The aim is to do what we want to do and whatmakes us happy. I believe this is possible, and my mission is to help every single woman around the globe achieve that…to whatever degree that may be!
For some, that means being symptom-free; for others, that could mean only experiencing minor symptoms at set times of their cycle (or after specific exercises). For many women with more advanced symptoms, it may be about looking at different pessary options to make them feel more comfortable either day to day or just when doing exercise. There are so many options, and most of them can and will bring us a better quality of life.
“Finally, a professional that truly cares. Esther encouraged me to take back control and offered the practical and emotional support I needed. Esther’s approach gives you the tools, explains the reasoning, and encourages you to do as much as you can about your situation. She teaches you about your body and coaches you to keep trying while also inspiring you to be your best in every way. What I have learned so far has been invaluable to me, and I’m steadily becoming more confident and active again. Thank you so much,Esther, for caring, supporting, and educating women. You’re changing lives!”
I can’t deny that prolapse can be life-changing for some women, and not everyone can find the level of relief they would like through pelvic physio, pessaries, or even surgery.But this percentage is small. Very small. And like anything in life, we can’t focus on other people’s experiences. Your journey is your own, and your own choices and actions will dictate your future.
So, in answer to the question “Is there a happy life after prolapse?” the answer is YES. For the majority of women, life after prolapse can be just as happy and fulfilled as before. But does that happiness come overnight? Unlikely. And will it come without any commitment or dedication to healing? For some, yes, but for the majority, no. Based on my own experience and the experiences of the hundreds of women I have helped, prolapse is not a life sentence. Many women I have worked with have recovered from prolapse to the point that they lead symptom-free lives. And the ones that do have symptoms find that they are not only manageable, but they can return to most of the activities they use to enjoy. Some have changed their exercise preferences but have enjoyed the changes and discovering new things. Others have had trial and error with finding that “perfect pessary” but have finally, with the right guidance, found one that works for them.
Prolapse is shit. A big massive pile of poo. And we all know that the education around it needs to be better. But right now,we need to work with what we have, which is about focusing on making that pelvic floor work the way we want it to. As I said, I can’t promise miracles, but I can promise that some level of improvement, for most women, is not out of reach. In fact, with a bit of commitment and self-belief, it is right there in front of you; you just need to grab it with both hands!
If you would like to find out more about how I might be able to help you on your road to recovery, you can book an appointment at www.esther.health or join our free supportive community at https://www.facebook.com/groups/pelvicpowermc