Pelvic organ prolapse is a form of pelvic floor disorder where the muscles of the pelvic region get weak. The weakened pelvic region can result in the bladder or rectum falling into the vagina, the uterus protruding to the outside of the vagina, the tip of the vagina protruding to the outside and the bowel protruding to the outside of the vagina.
One out of two women past the age of 45 experience a form of pelvic organ prolapse but only 15% seek medical attention.
What Causes Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
There are many causes for pelvic organ prolapse such as aging, menopause, obesity, pregnancies, pelvic surgeries, working hard labor, lifting heavy things and chronic cough or COPD patients.
Is Pelvic Pain a Symptom?
There are both specific and non-specific symptoms for pelvic organ prolapse. The specific symptoms are when the patient comes to us and says, “Things are falling out” or they have a protrusion or a bulge or their partner is feeling a bump. The non-specific symptoms are when you have pelvic pain, when you have back ache and sometimes these symptoms get worse towards the end of the day or during coughing or exercise. If you have difficulty inserting a tampon or an estrogen creme applicator or if you have difficulty emptying your bladder or moving the bowel and if you have to do manipulation or movements to go to the bathroom you may have pelvic organ prolapse.
Pelvic organ prolapse is diagnosed with a simple pelvic exam that is done in the clinic. It does not require any specific testing or tools to diagnose.
How is Prolapse Treated?
Pelvic Organ Prolapse can be treated in many ways. The conservative approach to treatment involves strengthening the pelvic muscles by using pelvic exercises and physical therapy. If surgical treatment is required, there are advancements with minimally invasive surgical procedures that allow you to return to your daily living in a short period of time.
You do not have to suffer through this. We understand this can be embarrassing, but you have to talk to your doctor. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your provider or schedule an appointment.