My daughters aged four and five do not know yet that their Mommy lives with a health condition called pelvic organ prolapse or POP. Often referred to as “the silent epidemic” of women, pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the uterus, bladder, rectum, or vagina or a combination of these organs herniate into the vaginal canal. A woman who shares her symptoms with a physician, family member or friend must describe intimate physical details that relate to her anatomy, sexuality, and excretion habits. Not fun yet a devastating reality for millions of women world wide in varying degrees.
I am not afraid to tell my daughters that they should eat a healthy diet rich in nutrients to stay regular. Chronic constipation is one of the causes of pelvic organ prolapse. I know now that a diet rich in nutrients and proper hydration may have prevented me from developing pelvic organ prolapse or delayed the onset of the condition.
I am not afraid to tell my daughters that they should prioritize their own health. Physical exercise helps you to be strong and vital. I will tell my daughters that their bodies are a gift…the house that they will live in for their entire life. I will tell them that their pelvic floor can be cared for by the way they do their exercises. I know now hat there are special exercises that keep the pelvic floor strong.
I am not afraid to tell my daughters that they should listen to their bodies. I will tell them that they have an amazing intuitive understanding of their own bodies and that they know their bodies best. I know now that if something doesn’t feel right a woman should be empowered to find out why and get answers.
I am not afraid to tell my daughters that they themselves should be their biggest priority. I will tell my daughters that they must care for their physical and emotional wellbeing. I know now that life can get busy and priorities can be misconstrued. I know now that it is not selfish for a woman to prioritize her own physical and emotional wellbeing. The wellbeing of a woman’s future family ultimately depends on her commitment to self-care!
But I am afraid to tell my daughters that I have pelvic organ prolapse because POP still needs a lot of research. There is a genetic component that is not yet understood. Once a woman is diagnosed with POP she may feel isolated and may be unaware of the different ways to begin self care such as pelvic floor physiotherapy. While many women have benefitted from successful surgical repair of their POP the surgery is not always recommended for every women and it has not been perfected yet.
Here’s the good news! Gains have been made and women are speaking out about POP. Through advocacy and research we will increase our understanding, awareness and find solutions. I believe this for your daughters and mine!