Women's Health
Pelvic Organ Prolapse

​​​​Overview:

  • Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a medical condition where the pelvic organs (including the bladder, uterus and rectum) slip down from their normal position towards or into the vagina.
  • Pelvic organ prolapse is attributed to weakness of the muscles and tissue supporting the pelvic organs.
  • Sometimes pelvic organ prolapse does not show any symptoms; but it may also result in a feeling or heaviness or discomfort.
  • Although pelvic organ prolapse can affect women of all ages, it is more common in older women. 
  • Most often the symptoms can be controlled by non-surgical treating methods. Sometimes, however, a surgery will be necessary.
Introduction:
Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition where one or more of the pelvic floor organs (including the bladder, uterus and rectum) slip down from their normal position, and bulge toward or into the vagina, causing a feeling of discomfort or pain. Not considered a serious medical problem, pelvic organ prolapse does not usually worsen; on the contrary, the symptoms may be alleviated over time.

Names:
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP)

Types:
  • The front wall of the vagina sagging down;
  • The uterus, cervix or top of the vagina bulging or hanging down into the vagina;
  • The back wall of the vagina slipping down.
It is possible to have more than one of these types at the same time.

Cause: 
Pelvic organ prolapse happens when the group of muscles and tissues that normally support the pelvic organs, called the pelvic floor, becomes weakened over time, and cannot hold the organs in place firmly. There are certain risk factors that make the occurrence of this condition more likely.

Risk factors:
  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Pregnancy
  • Frequent natural deliveries
  • Prolonged pushing during delivery
  • Obesity 
  • Hysterectomy
  • Weightlifting
  • Severe constipation
  • Chronic cough
Symptoms:
Sometimes pelvic organ prolapse does not show any symptoms; but it may also result in a feeling or heaviness or disturbance. The common symptoms include: 
  • A bulge (or something coming out) of the vagina;
  • A feeling of pressure or heaviness in the vagina;
  • Urinary or fecal incontinence;
  • Difficulty urinating;
  • Painful intercourse.
When to see a doctor?
See a gynecologist if you have any of the above-mentioned symptoms of a prolapse, or if you feel discomfort or notice a lump in or around your vagina.
Diagnosis:
  • Medical history
  • Clinical examination
  • Other tests, including: endoscopic examination of the vagina, MRI, or X-ray (intravenous pyelography).
Complications:
  • Ulceration of the organs sagging down from the vagina;
  • Frequent urinary tract inflammations.
Treatment:
Treatment of pelvic organ prolapse depends on how severe the symptoms are. Treatment can include one or more of the following therapies:
  • Doing Kegel exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles;
  • Changing eating habits if the pelvic organ prolapse involves the bowel;
  • Hormonal therapy (estrogen);
  • Vaginal pessaries: A device made of rubber (latex) or silicone is inserted into the vagina and left in place to support the vaginal walls and pelvic organs.
  • Surgery: If non-surgical options have not worked or the prolapse is more severe, surgery may be an option. It can be an abdominal (traditional) surgery, or a vaginal endoscopy.
Prevention:
In most cases, pelvic organ prolapse cannot be prevented. However, some risk factors can be controlled by following the following guidelines:
  • Maintain a healthy weight;
  • Exercise regularly to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles;
  • Do Kegel exercises, designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, regularly; 
  • Pay close attention to treating constipation; 
  • Avoid carrying heavy objects; 
  • Treat chronic cough or bronchitis;
  • Stop smoking. 
FAQ: 
  • Is intercourse possible after surgery?
    • Yes, intercourse is possible weeks after the surgery (a period necessary for healing).
  • Is pregnancy possible after surgery?
    • Yes, pelvic organ prolapse surgeries (unless they include hysterectomy) do not prevent pregnancy.




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Last Update 19 December 2019 11:34 AM
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