My daughters, aged four and five, do not know yet that their Mommy lives with a health condition called Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). Often referred to as “the silent epidemic” of women, POP 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. I know now that a diet rich in nutrients, and proper hydration may have prevented me from developing POP, or delayed the onset of the condition.
I am not afraid to tell my daughters that they should prioritize their own health. I will tell them that their pelvic floor can be cared for by the way they do their exercises. I know now that 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 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 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 be unaware of the different ways to begin self care, such as pelvic floor physiotherapy. While many women have benefited from successful surgical repair of POP, the surgery is not always recommended for every woman, 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 and awareness, and find solutions. I believe this, for your daughters and mine!