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Uterine U-Turn: Everything You Need to Know About Uterine Prolapse

December 3, 2020

If you’re approaching menopause, and have had one or more vaginal deliveries, it’s worth understanding the risks of uterine prolapse.

You may have heard of uterine prolapse. Perhaps it’s affected your mother, your aunt or your neighbour. The condition affects women of all ages, but it is more likely to occur in postmenopausal women who have had at least one prior vaginal delivery.

Here’s all you need to know about the condition.

What Is Uterine Prolapse?

Uterine prolapse occurs when pelvic floor muscles and ligaments collapse, no longer able to support the weight of the uterus. Subsequently, the uterus slides down into the vagina, sometimes protruding out of it. While mild uterine prolapse typically does not warrant any treatment, your doctor may advise treatment if your condition begins to hamper your daily activities.

What Are the Causes of Uterine Prolapse?

Uterine prolapse is influenced by bodily changes that weaken the pelvic muscles over time. Some factors include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Trauma or complications during labour or delivery
  • Delivery of a large baby
  • Obesity
  • A decline in oestrogen levels after menopause
  • Chronic constipation
  • Bronchitis
  • Persistent heavy lifting

What Are the Symptoms of Uterine Prolapse?

Uterine prolapse runs a spectrum of severity. Mild forms of the condition usually do not present any signs or symptoms, whereas moderate to severe forms may lead to the following:

  • Heaviness or strain in the pelvis
  • Soft tissue bulging out of the vagina
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Constipation
  • A sense of obstruction while sitting down
  • Sexual discomfort and vaginal laxity

You may also find your symptoms worsening through the day.

How Is Uterine Prolapse Diagnosed?

Uterine prolapse is generally diagnosed via a pelvic exam, where your doctor might request you to tighten your pelvic muscles or bear down, to assess the severity of your condition. You might also be asked about symptoms you may be experiencing in daily life and their consequences on your lifestyle. If you are suspected to have severe uterine prolapse, you may be advised additional tests to allow your doctor to tailor your treatment accordingly.

Read More: LAPAROSCOPIC HYSTERECTOMY

How Is Uterine Prolapse Treated?

Prolapse treatment pivots on the severity of your case. While milder forms of the condition may be sufficiently managed with self-care measures, more severe forms may require surgery. Here’s an outline of the possible options you may be presented with.

  • Self-Care Measures

If you are diagnosed with mild uterine prolapse and experience minimal symptoms, your doctor may recommend changes in your lifestyle to help you manage your condition independently. Kegel exercises can go a long way in fortifying your pelvic muscles, helping you lose weight and relieving constipation.

  • Medical Management

Hormone therapy can revitalise the vagina and help restore tissues and muscles. You may be given an oestrogen cream or suppositories to help balance your hormone levels. This is a treatment typically advised to postmenopausal women.

  • Surgical Management

If your uterine prolapse is severe, you may be recommended surgery. Laparoscopic or vaginal surgery may be used to repair your weakened pelvic floor muscles through a tissue graft. Alternatively, you may be advised a hysterectomy, to remove your uterus entirely.

Read More: Hysterectomy Handbook

  • Alternative Therapy

If you choose not to undergo surgery, your doctor might recommend support devices, called pessaries, for your uterus. Pessaries are inserted into the vaginal canal to serve as a buttress for the uterus. They may be used as stop-gap arrangements or as permanent treatments. However, they are not advisable in severe cases of uterine prolapse.

If your uterus has taken a U-turn, go ahead and set it on the right track with timely treatment. The sooner you take action, the sooner you can seek relief.

Must Read: About Uterine prolapse

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