Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) – What is it??

By Bonnie Broomfield 

Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) is when one or more of your organs (bladder, uterus, bowel) have moved down within the pelvic cavity towards your vaginal opening. In some cases, the organ can still be inside the body and in other cases, the organ is outside of the body. Depending on where the organ is in respect to the vaginal opening will determine the ‘stage’ in which we refer to it.


For example, a basic explanation of the staging would be:

  • If the organ is more than 3cm inside the body it is classified as a Stage 0 POP or no POP
  • If the organ is more than 1cm inside the body it is classified as a Stage 1 POP
  • If the organ is within 1cm inside or outside of the body it is classified as a Stage 2 POP
  • If the organ is more than 1cm outside of the body it is classified as a Stage 3 POP
  • If the organ is completely outside of the body it is classified as a Stage 4 POP


Pelvic floor muscle strength and tone is vital to support your organs and can help keep them inside the body. Therefore, pelvic floor strengthening is usually involved when a person has POP. However, due to the organ lacking vital fascial support (which is not muscle therefore cannot be strengthened), sometimes pelvic floor strengthening alone is not good enough to improve a person’s symptoms.


Most commonly reported symptoms for POP include:

  • Heaviness
  • Dragging
  • Bulging
  • Pressure
  • Feeling like things internally are sitting low
  • Lower abdomen pain
  • Lower back pain


When treating POP, there are so many things that need to be assessed and treated which can have a significant impact on POP and its associated symptoms. These include:

  • A comprehensive head-to-toe body assessment
  • A thorough pelvic floor muscle function assessment
  • A complete medical history and medication use
  • Hormone levels
  • Breathing patterns
  • Occupation
  • Exercise
  • Obstetric history
  • Intra-abdominal pressure and associated control

… just to name a few!


There are so many factors which influence what treatment options might be suitable and there are various treatment options to utilise when treating POP. A pessary is just one of those treatment options. A pessary is a silicone device that can be inserted vaginally to support your organs if necessary. There are pros and cons of pessary use as there is with all treatment options but for the right person, it can be very helpful.


Here at Sydney Advanced Physiotherapy we strive to give our client’s the best care possible. If you are concerned about POP and want a thorough assessment, then come and see us.

Leave a reply