Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse happens when an organ from the pelvic region drops from its usual position down into the lower part of the stomach and pushes against the walls of the vagina.
This often happens after childbirth as the muscles that structure the pelvic organs weaken or stretch. The most common type of prolapse is the bladder, but can also include the urethra, uterus, vagina, small bowel or rectum.
In order to diagnose a pelvic organ prolapse, your gynecologist will conduct a physical and pelvic examination. However, your symptoms may include:
- a feeling of pressure against the walls of the vagina
- feeling of fullness in lower stomach
- feeling as though something has fallen out of the vagina
- a stretch or pull in the groin
- lower back pain
- frequent urination or incontinence
- vaginal pain during intercourse, or
Types of treatment for prolapse vary depending on your symptoms. Some symptoms can be easily treated by:
- Practicing healthy habits
- Performing Kegel exercises
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Avoiding lifting heavy objects that may implement stress on the pelvic muscles
However, if you experience ongoing symptoms, your doctor may discuss fitting you for a pessary to help ease pain and pressure.
If you continue to experience severe pain, bladder or bowel issues or painful intercourse, your doctor may suggest surgery. Types of surgeries include:
- Repairing tissue around the prolapsed organ or the vagina
- Closing the opening of the vagina, or
- A hysterectomy
It is possible for pelvic organ prolapse to return even after surgery. Therefore, it is important to continue Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles.