What is pelvic organ prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when a pelvic organ slips out of place or drops downward. It’s caused when the muscles and connective tissues of the pelvic floor become weakened, stretched, or torn.
The types of pelvic organ prolapse include:
- Cystocele (prolapsed bladder): The bladder has moved downward to protrude into the wall of the vagina.
- Enterocele: The small intestine has moved into the wall of the vagina.
- Rectocele: The rectum has moved into the wall of the vagina.
- Uterine prolapse: The uterus has moved downward into the vagina.
- Vaginal vault prolapse: In women who have undergone hysterectomy to remove the uterus, the walls of the vagina may collapse inward over time.
What are the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse can feel like bulging or fullness below your belt and can happen when you’re exercising, sitting at your desk, or standing in line at the supermarket. Women with prolapse say it feels like your internal organs are falling out.
Symptoms may include:
- Uncomfortable bulge or pelvic pressure
- Urine leakage
- Lower back pain
- Sexual difficulties
What are the risk factors for pelvic organ prolapse?
Some women are born with weak pelvic floor muscles. Other risk factors for pelvic organ prolapse include:
- Childbirth, especially if your children were large at birth
- Family history
- Frequent constipation
- Frequent coughing
- Frequent heavy lifting
How do you treat pelvic organ prolapse?
You and your pelvic floor specialist will determine the best treatment based on the severity and type of prolapse you have. Your pelvic organ prolapse treatment may include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Non-surgical devices
- Gynecologic surgery