Pelvic Organ Prolapse
The pelvic organs include the vagina, cervix, uterus, bladder and urethra. When the tissues around these organs fail to keep their strength this results in weakening and protrusion of these organs through the vagina called pelvic organ prolapse.
Symptoms of prolapse may include:
- bulging in the vagina
- pulling or aching
- low back pain
- leakage of urine or problems having a bowel movement
- sexual difficulties
- need to push organs back into the vagina to have a bowel movement or to urinate
Pelvic organ prolapse is caused by the weakening and/or damage to the muscles and supporting tissue of the pelvic floor.
Possible causes include:
- Vaginal or cesarean delivery
- Prior pelvic surgery
- Intense physical activity
- Chronic straining
- Heavy lifting
- Chronic coughing
- Obesity, being overweight
Types of prolapse include:
- Uterine prolapse – uterus
- Vaginal vault – top of the vagina
- Cystocele – bladder
- Urethrocele – urethra
- Enterocele – small intestine
- Rectocele - rectum
Diagnosis is made by a qualified physician taking into consideration symptoms and physical exam findings. Physical exam maybe performed in both the lying and sitting positions and additional testing may be needed to more accurately diagnosis the defects and to offer the best treatment options.
Treatment options include medical, surgical and behavioral treatment and should be individualized to the patient and their symptoms.
Behavioral treatments include Kegel exercises, dietary and physical activity modification.
Medical options include both barrier to prolapsed area such as Pessaries and possible medications like stool softeners/laxatives and incontinence medicine.
Surgical options may include treatment to one or more than one type(s) of prolapse, but remember surgery may relieve some but not all symptoms and needs to be individualized.
Please see your medical provider if you feel you may have prolapse or have any concerns or questions. We are always available to help.