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Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Did you know?
These situations can make pelvic organ prolapse worse:
- Being overweight
- A chronic cough
- Frequent constipation
- Pelvic organ cancers
Pelvic floor muscles and ligaments keep the uterus, small intestine, colon and bladder in place. When the pelvic floor can no longer support the pelvic organs, the floor will collapse. The organs will slip out of place. This drop is called pelvic organ prolapse.
Pelvic organ prolapse is a very common condition that affects half of all older women who have had children. It was once shielded in secrecy but has become a priority for women’s health leaders.
Pelvic Prolapse is most often linked to childbirth. During pregnancy and delivery, these muscles and ligaments are stretched and weakened. Pelvic organ prolapse can also happen after a hysterectomy. This is because the other pelvic organs have less support after the uterus is removed.
There are several types of pelvic organ prolapse:
- Bladder Prolapse is called Cystocele. It happens when the bladder falls toward the vagina. It creates a large bulge in the vaginal wall.
- Bladder & Urethra Proplapse is called Cystourethrocele. It is the most common type in women. It happens when the bladder and urethra colapse at the same time.
- Urethra Prolapse is called Urethrocele. It creates a bulge near the vaginal opening when the urethra presses into the vaginal wall.
- Small Bowel Prolapse is called Enterocele. Part of the small bowel slips down between the rectum and the back of the vagina.
- Rectum Prolapse is called Rectocele. It happens when the end of the large bowel bulges into the back wall of the vagina.
- Uterine Prolapse is the second most common type of prolapse. It happens when the uterus drops into the lower vagina.
- Vaginal Vault Prolapse happens after a hysterectomy. The vaginal vault at the top of the vagina falls in on itself.
Pelvic organ prolapse is not usually life threatening. It can be very uncomfortable and stressful. It is diagnosed during a traditional pelvic exam by either your primary care provider or gynecologist.
- Feeling pelvic pressure
- Feeling full in your lower abdomen
- Feeling that something is falling out of your vagina
- Feeling a pull or stretch in your groin area
- Needing to urinate a lot
- Having pain during sex
- Having constipation
Pelvic prolapse treatments depend on the severity of your condition. You can do Kegel exercises, maintain a healthy weight, cut back on caffeine and avoid lifting heavy items if your symptoms are mild. Your doctor may fit you with a device called a pessary. It is inserted in your vagina to help support your pelvic organs. Surgery may be the only way to relieve your symptoms if you are extremely uncomfortable.