Pelvic Prolapse Q & A
What Is Pelvic Prolapse?
Pelvic prolapse occurs when organs such as the bladder or uterus descend from their normal place in the abdomen and push against the walls of the vagina. This relatively common condition can be uncomfortable or painful but is not usually a serious health issue. The organs that can drop out of place include the: bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina, small bowel, and rectum. When pelvic prolapse happens, women might experience a feeling of pressure in the vagina or fullness in the lower belly. Pain during intercourse is another symptom. Some women might experience a pulling or stretching sensation in the lower back or problems with passing liquid or solid waste. If you have concerns about pelvic prolapse or are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with the doctors at San Francisco Women’s Healthcare.
What Causes Pelvic Prolapse?
Pelvic prolapse typically occurs when the pelvic floor muscles are stretched or weakened during pregnancy and childbirth. Prolapse is also common following hysterectomy as the removal of the uterus can result in less support for the other pelvic organs. The condition can become worse by any additional pressure on the stomach such as excess weight, constipation, tumors on pelvic organs, or even long lasting coughs.
How Is Pelvic Prolapse Treated?
Typically, treatment begins conservatively with pelvic floor exercises, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight, eating a high fiber diet to avoid constipation, and avoiding activities that stress the pelvic muscles. However, if the condition does not improve or the patients do not experience a relief of their symptoms, the doctors may suggest other treatments. A pessary may be prescribed. This device is placed into the vagina and provides support to the prolapsed areas. There are surgical treatments for pelvic prolapse as well. These can include the placement of surgical grade mesh to support and hold organs in place. Surgical repair of the vaginal wall, small bowel, or rectum is another option to keep the organs in the correct places.