Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a very common problem in women, affecting up to one-third of the female population in the United States, especially as women grow older. There are several different kinds of prolapse, but all stem from a weakened pelvic floor, which allows your organs to drop down. Thankfully, we have several different options that can restore your organs to their proper positions.
At Advanced Women’s Healthcare, under the experienced leadership of Drs. Dele Ogunleye and Lisa Emm, our team partners with women in Bloomington, Illinois, for great reproductive health through every stage of their lives.
If you’re struggling with pelvic organ prolapse, or suspect you may be, here’s what you need to know about this condition and a look at your treatment options.
Types of pelvic organ prolapse
Your pelvic area houses a number of important reproductive, gastrointestinal, and urinary organs, all of which function well when everything is in its place. If your pelvic floor — a group of muscles and tissues that provide support for those organs — begins to weaken, the organs can shift downward, interfering with the functions of other organs.
The primary types of pelvic organ prolapse include:
- Uterine prolapse: Your uterus drops into your vagina.
- Rectal prolapse (rectocele): Your rectum pushes against the back of your vagina.
- Bladder prolapse (cystocele): Your bladder shifts downward.
- Vaginal vault: The top of your vagina collapses downward.
- Small intestine prolapse (enterocele): Your small intestine drops down, pushing against your vagina.
Some of these prolapses are a singular problem, but many are related, with one leading to another.
Behind pelvic organ prolapse
Prolapse is often gradual and typically develops because of:
- An aging and weakened pelvic floor (especially after menopause)
- A hysterectomy
- Carrying extra weight
The symptoms of POP are varied and depend on which organs are affected and to what degree the organ has prolapsed and is interfering with other organs. Many women have some degree of prolapse and feel no symptoms, while others are plagued by problems such as:
- Discomfort or pressure in the vagina
- Bulging tissue
The bottom line is that if your POP is affecting your quality of life, we can help in several different ways.
Treating pelvic organ prolapse
After thoroughly assessing your pelvic organ prolapse, we create a treatment plan that best fits your circumstances. In its earlier stages, prolapse can often be solved simply by restrengthening your pelvic floor through exercises, such as Kegels. If you’re carrying extra weight, losing a few pounds can go a long way toward relieving the pressure on your pelvic floor.
If your prolapse doesn’t respond to these more conservative measures, we can insert a silicone device called a pessary into your vagina to provide the support your pelvic organs need, keeping them in their proper positions.
In extreme cases, there are surgical remedies for POP. Rest assured, we use the latest minimally invasive techniques available, including da Vinci® robot-assisted surgery.
To explore your treatment options for pelvic organ prolapse further, please give us a call at 309-214-9371.