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Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Types, Causes and Symptoms

Pelvic organ prolapse is a medical condition commonly seen in women. It is caused by the weakening of the pelvic muscles. This results in the sagging of your pelvic organs. There are chances that the pelvic organs will bulge and slip down the vagina. Nearly 3%–11% of people experience this condition. Though this condition does not seem life-threatening, failing to treat it can result in complications. You must be aware of its symptoms to treat it early. There are treatments and several exercises to help you recover from this condition. Here is a quick outlook on the types, causes and symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse.

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Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Overview

The pelvic muscle is responsible for supporting the pelvic organs, including the urinary bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum. There are chances that the ligaments, tissues and muscles holding the pelvic organs will loosen and get damaged. This can result in the shifting of the pelvic organs. This is called pelvic organ prolapse. If the condition is not treated, the pelvic organs will drop outside your vagina, resulting in discomfort.

Types

  • There are different types of vaginal prolapse. It is possible to differentiate between the different types depending on the area of weakness and the type of organ affected by the prolapse.

1.Anterior vaginal wall prolapse:

This is the most common type of pelvic prolapse.

  • Cystocele: This type of prolapse shifts your bladder and bulges it into your vagina. This type is called a cystocele.
  • Urethrocele: This is a condition where the urethra drops from its position and bulges out of your body.
  • Enterocele: The condition where the small intestine bulges into the vagina is called enterocele.

2.Uterine prolapse:

The type of prolapse where the uterus shifts to the vaginal canal is called uterine prolapse. There are four types of prolapse of the uterus based on the stage of the uterus.

3. Posterior vaginal wall prolapse:

This type of prolapse is also called a rectocele. The pelvic floor muscles loosen in between the rectum and vagina. This bulges your rectum.

Common Symptoms

You can get to know that you are affected by pelvic prolapse through some symptoms. Some of the common symptoms are listed below.

  • Feeling your pelvic organs bulging out of your vagina.
  • Feeling pressure on your vagina.
  • Backache or lower back pain.
  • You may experience pain during sexual intercourse.
  • Spotting or bleeding.
  • Urinary incontinence.
  • Fecal incontinence.

The symptoms listed above can help you determine the type of genital prolapse you experience. The symptoms of a prolapsed uterus are:

  • Urine leakage
  • Back pain
  • Constipation
  • Pressure on your pelvis

Keeping track of the symptoms can help with easy diagnosis and treatment.

Causes

There are certain potential reasons that result in pelvic organ prolapse. The weakening of the pelvic floor muscles is the main reason for POP. The following are the reasons that weaken your pelvic floor:

  • Normal Childbirth: Women who have undergone several vaginal births are at risk of pelvic organ prolapse. Women who have delivered twins or larger fetuses can experience injuries to the pelvic floor muscle, which results in POP.
  • Increased Weight: People who are obese or heavy can put pressure on their pelvic muscles. This results in POP.
  • Getting Old: When you get old, the pelvic floor muscles get weakened, thereby losing your pelvic strength. As you age, there is a decrease in the production of estrogen, which weakens the pelvic floor muscles, resulting in POP.
  • Family History: It is possible to inherit a weaker pelvis, which is the cause of POP
  • Pressure in the Abdomen: You may develop constant pressure in your abdomen, resulting in injury to the pelvic floor. Conditions like constipation, coughing and lifting heavy weights can worsen the condition and result in POP.

Diagnosis

It is important to diagnose the condition immediately when you notice the above symptoms. Your doctor would examine your pelvis based on your symptoms. You would be asked to cough to study the severity of the prolapse. when you strain.

  • Pelvic examination is enough to diagnose the condition. Some of the supporting tests to detect the condition.
  • Bladder function test: This is done to detect urinary issues. Cystoscopy is done to examine the status of the urethra and bladder.
  • Ultrasound: To have a clear view of the pelvic area An MRI nay be done to diagnose the severity of the prolapse.

Treatment

Treating pelvic prolapse is quite important, though it is not life-threatening. Non-surgical treatments are mostly recommended to treat the prolapse. If this treatment does not work, your doctor may recommend surgery. A vaginal pessary is one such non-surgical treatment in which your doctor inserts a silicone device inside your vagina to hold your sagging pelvic organs. It may be recommended that you practice certain pelvic floor exercises called Kegel’s exercise and others to strengthen the pelvic muscles.

There are conditions in which you may need surgery to treat vaginal prolapse. Both reconstructive and obliterative surgery can help treat this condition. A Vaginal hysterectomy with Pelvic floor repair(anterior and posterior colporrhaphy),sacrocolpopexy and sacrohysteropexy are some of the surgeries that help treat vaginal prolapse.

Prevention

Following a healthy lifestyle can help you prevent vaginal prolapse. Some of the precautions that can help you avoid vaginal prolapse are:

  • Maintaining the right weight
  • Performing pelvic floor exercises
  • Avoid smoking
  • Prevent constipation.

The above gives a clear understanding of the cause, symptoms and treatment of pelvic organ prolapse.

FAQs:

1. What causes pelvic organ prolapse symptoms?

The pressure buildup on the pelvic organs is responsible for the pelvic organ prolapse symptoms.

2. What is the most common cause of prolapse?

The most common causes of prolapse are numerous vaginal births, family history, obesity and ageing.

3. What is the most common symptom of pelvic organ prolapse?

The most common symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse are urinary incontinence, pressure int he vagina, spotting and pelvic organs dropping out of the vagina.

4. What are the symptoms of a prolapse?

Usually, when you suffer from prolapse, you may experience pressure and heaviness in your vagina. The vaginal organs or other pelvic organs bulge and come out of the vagina, causing discomfort.

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