Pelvic organ prolapse is a disorder in which the pelvic floor muscles stretch, weaken, or become torn causing one or more of the pelvic organs to drop from their normal position. This can occur due to factors such as pregnancy, vaginal childbirth, advancing age, excess weight or chronic constipation and straining a stool. Approximately 5% of women develop prolapse; women in their sixties have the highest incidence of the dysfunction.
- The organs that can be affected include the following:
- Uterus (uterus drops into the vagina)
- Vagina (the walls of the vagina fall in on themselves if the uterus has been removed)
- Bladder (the bladder sags into the vagina)
- Rectum (the rectum bulges into the vagina)
- Small Intestines (the small intestine bulges into the vagina)
In severe prolapse, the woman can see or feel a bulge of tissue at or past the vaginal opening. Most women have mild prolapse, with only a slight dropping of organs and no symptoms. Symptoms of pelvic prolapse can include some or all of the following:
- Feeling of fullness, heaviness or pressure
- Pulling or aching feeling in the lower abdomen or pelvis
- Difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement
- Urine leakage when coughing or using stairs
- Painful or uncomfortable sexual intercourse
If you have symptoms, prolapse may be treated with or without surgery. The goal of treatment is to relieve your symptoms. Your healthcare provider can discuss your treatment options with you. These may depend on several factors, including the nature of your problems, your lifestyle, and your wishes. You may have both surgical and nonsurgical options.
In many cases, nonsurgical treatment is a good choice. This may be true if your pelvic organ prolapse is mild or doesn't bother you much. To help ease symptoms, your provider may give you a device to wear in the vagina (pessary) or instruct you on pelvic floor exercises.
If your symptoms are severe and disrupt your life, and if nonsurgical options have not helped, you may want to consider surgery. Each type of prolapse is corrected in a specific way, with either open surgery or laparoscopy. Your healthcare provider will discuss which route is best for you.
The providers at Women's Care of Wisconsin are devoted to you and your health. That means having the most advanced techniques, up-to-date educational information and a compassionate, caring staff. Our providers offer a well-rounded approach to your OB/GYN care, one that meets both your physical and emotional needs throughout every phase of your life. We call it our Circle of Care. From adolescence through menopause and beyond, you can depend on us. Meet our providers and learn more about gynecology, pregnancy care, infertility, procedures and surgery, incontinence, osteoporosis, menopause and more at www.womenscareofwi.com. Or call or text us at 920.729.7105.