Pelvic Organ Prolapse is a condition that affects women. This happens when a pelvic organ such as the bladder drops or prolapses from its normal location into the lower belly and pushes against the vagina walls. This occurs when the muscles holding the pelvic organs in their rightful place become weak or stretched from surgery or childbirth. This condition can be very uncomfortable and painful. It's good to know that it doesn't usually cause too much of a problem or worsen over time. In fact, for most women, it gets better with time.
Pelvic organ prolapse may involve one or more of the following organs:
- small intestine
The bladder is the most common organ affected in this type of condition.
Strain during childbirth is the most common cause of pelvic organ prolapse. Normally, the organs in the pelvic area are kept in place by the muscles in the lower belly. When a woman gives birth, these muscles get stretched or weak. If the muscles are not able to recover after some time, they will not be able to support the pelvic organs.
It is also possible to get pelvic organ prolapse if you have undergone surgical procedure to remove the uterus. Removal of the uterus can result in less support for the other pelvic organs.
Other than these, anything that puts pressure on the belly can make this condition worse. These include:
- chronic cough
- pelvic organ tumors
- frequent constipation
Pelvic organ prolapse is also common among older women and those with family history of this condition.
- frequent urination
- pain in the lower back
- stretch in the groin area
- fullness in the lower belly
- pain in the vagina during sex
- feeling of pressure on the vaginal wall
- problems with the bowels such as constipation
- feeling as if something is coming out of the vagina
The doctor will evaluate your condition by asking you questions about your symptoms, past pregnancies, and health problems. He/she will also perform a physical exam that will include an examination of your pelvic area.
The treatment depends on what particular pelvic organ has the prolapse. The severity of your symptoms will also be taken into consideration.
For women who have mild symptoms, there are home remedies to make you feel better:
- Special exercises called Kegels may be recommended by your doctor. Kegels can help strengthen your pelvic muscles.
- It's also a must to adopt healthy habits. Minimize intake of caffeine that acts as a diuretic and can worsen your condition.
- It's imperative that you don't do any heavy lifting as this can put stress on the pelvic muscles.
If symptoms persist, the doctor may advice you to be fitted with a device called pessary. This is designed to help ease the pain and pressure that comes with this condition.
Surgery may also be considered:
- if there is too much pain
- if the condition prevents you from having sex
- if there is a problem with the bladder and bowels
Types of surgery include:
- removal of uterus
- closing of the vaginal opening
- repair of tissue around the vagina
- repair of tissue that supports the prolapsed organ