Pelvic organ prolapse is the descend into or outside of the vaginal canal or anus of any of the pelvic floor organs. You may hear them referred to in these ways:
- Cystocele: A prolapse of the bladder into the vagina, is the most common condition
- Urethrocele: A prolapse of the urethra (urine-carrying tube)
- Uterine prolapse
- Vaginal vault prolapse: prolapse of the vagina
- Enterocele: Small bowel prolapse
- Rectocele: Rectum prolapse
What Causes genital prolapse?
Anything that increases pressure in the abdomen can lead to prolapse. Common causes include: Pregnancy, labor, Obesity, chronic cough and constipation.
What are the symptoms?
Some women notice nothing at all, but others report these symptoms:
- A feeling of pressure or fullness in the pelvic area
- A backache low in the back if it is the uterus
- Painful intercourse due to drop of rectum or uterus
- A feeling that something is falling out of the vagina if it the uterus
- Urinary problems such as leaking of urine if it is the bladder
- Constipation if it is the rectum.
How can genital prolapse be prevented?
- Do Kegel exercises daily to maintain good muscle strength in your pelvic area
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Avoid constipation
- Do not smoke
How is genital prolapse treated?
Treatment depends on how severe the symptoms are. Treatment can include:
- Behavioral treatments, such as doing Kegel exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
- Mechanical treatments, such as inserting a small plastic pessary into the vagina to provide support for the drooping organs.
- Surgical treatment, either to repair the affected tissue or organ or to remove the organ (such as removal of the uterus by hysterectomy).