Pelvic organ prolapse can be an especially uncomfortable condition for many women and may even interfere with physical activity, intimacy, and quality of life.
It occurs when the muscles and tissues that support pelvic organs, which include the bladder, uterus, cervix, vagina, and rectum, become weak or damaged. As a result, organs can drop to the extent that they press against the vagina or protrude out of its opening.
So, what exactly causes pelvic organs to become prolapsed, and how can it be repaired?
Continue reading to learn all about pelvic organ prolapse.
What Are the Causes of Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse can be caused by a number of different factors including vaginal childbirth and having a baby that weighed 8.5 pounds or more on delivery. That being said, it’s possible for pelvic organ prolapse to occur in women that have never given birth vaginally or at all.
Additionally, increased and constant abdominal pressure, which may be the result of obesity, a chronic and forceful cough, or straining with bowel movements, can place stress on the pelvic floor.
Advanced age also puts women at increased risk for pelvic organ prolapse. In fact, women 60-79 years old account for 37 percent of cases.
Similarly, menopause and declining estrogen levels have been linked to pelvic organ prolapse. It is also more common in patients with a family history of the condition.
What Are the Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Patients with pelvic organ prolapse often see a visible bulge protruding from the vagina or feel as though something is coming out of it.
Other symptoms include: Pressure, discomfort, aching, or fullness in the pelvis; urinary incontinence or difficulty with defecation; problems with sexual intercourse and/or using tampons; pelvic pressure that’s exacerbated by coughing or standing.
How Can Pelvic Organ Prolapse Be Treated?
Treatment of pelvic organ prolapse often depends on the type of prolapse, symptoms, and the patient’s age. That being said, non-surgical options include a pessary device that’s inserted into the vagina to offer support and muscle therapy to strengthen the pelvic floor.
For sexually active women, pelvic organ prolapse can be surgically repaired using mesh or their own tissue to build pelvic floor support. Alternatively, the vagina can be surgically closed if patients are no longer having sexual intercourse.
If you are experiencing symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse and want to learn more about your treatment options, please call Tysons Gynecology to schedule an appointment with Dr. Melinda Hall in Vienna, Virginia.