Pelvic Organ Prolapse/Pelvic Support Problems
Chances are you never think about the muscles that support your pelvic organs until they weaken and your uterus or another organ falls out of place, a condition called pelvic organ prolapse. Rest assured, the medical team at Advanced Women’s Healthcare have helped many women overcome the pressure and discomfort of prolapsed organs, often with conservative treatments. If you think you might have a prolapse, please call our office to schedule an appointment with one of our providers.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse Q & A:
How are pelvic floor muscles related to pelvic organ prolapse?
The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that support your uterus, bladder, and rectum. These muscles essentially form a sling that holds these organs in place. Some of the pelvic floor muscles are also responsible for controlling urination and bowel movements.
Like all the other muscles in your body, the pelvic floor muscles can become stretched, damaged, and weakened. They naturally lose tone as you get older and vaginal childbirth can significantly weaken them or when you lift heavy objects.
When your pelvic floor muscles don’t function properly, you can develop problems with urination or experience pelvic pain. And when they become too weak, you can end up with pelvic organ prolapse.
What is pelvic organ prolapse?
When an organ prolapses, it slips out of place, moving forward or down. When one of the organs supported by the pelvic floor muscles drops down from its normal position, it’s called pelvic organ prolapse. There are three primary types of pelvic organ prolapse:
As the uterus prolapses, it pushes against your vagina. At first, you may notice a bulge in the vaginal wall, but in severe cases, the uterus may come down through the vagina.
If your bladder prolapses it’s called a cystocele. A prolapsed bladder also pushes down against the vagina.
A rectocele occurs when the rectum prolapses and pushes into the vagina.
What symptoms develop due to pelvic organ prolapse?
You may be able to see or feel the bulge where the prolapsed organ affects your vagina. The following symptoms may also occur if you have a prolapsed organ.
- A feeling of pressure or discomfort in the pelvis
- Discomfort during physical activity or sex
- Pelvic pressure that’s worse when you stand or cough
- Urinary incontinence
- Hard time inserting tampons
- Difficulty having a bowel movement
You may find that your symptoms are worse at the end of an active day.
How is pelvic organ prolapse treated?
The team at Advanced Women’s Healthcare begins with the least invasive options such as pelvic floor exercises and physical therapy. A pessary or a rubber ring that helps to support the pelvic organs may also be a good option. If you’re overweight, losing weight will also help relieve the pressure.
When conservative therapies don’t improve your symptoms, your Advanced Women’s Healthcare doctor or nurse practioner may talk with you about surgery to put the organs back in place and repair the muscles. Some patients may be candidates for surgery using the advanced da Vinci® surgery system.
If you have the uncomfortable symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, call Advanced Women’s Healthcare to schedule an appointment.