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Pelvic Organ Prolapse

When the muscles and ligaments supporting a woman’s pelvic organs weaken, the pelvic organs can drop lower in the pelvis, creating a bulge in the vagina (prolapse). You may hear them referred to in these ways:

  • Cystocele: a prolapse of the bladder into the vagina
  • Urethrocele: a prolapse of the urethra
  • Uterine Prolapse: the cervix, or lower part of the uterus, protrudes out of the vagina
  • Vaginal Vault Prolapse: prolapse of the vagina
  • Enterocele: small bowel prolapse
  • Rectocele: rectum prolapse

Anything that puts increased pressure in the abdomen can lead to pelvic organ prolapse, but the most common causes include pregnancy, labor and childbirth, obesity, respiratory problems with a chronic, long-term cough, constipation, pelvic organ cancers and hysterectomies. Genetics may also play a role in some women.

While some women notice no signs of pelvic organ prolapse, others report these symptoms:

  • A feeling of pressure or fullness in the pelvic area
  • A backache low in the back
  • Painful intercourse
  • Urinary problems such as leaking of urine or a chronic urge to urinate
  • Constipation
  • Spotting or bleeding from the vagina

Treatment of pelvic organ prolapse depends on how severe the symptoms are. Treatment can include a variety of forms, including:

  • Behavioral treatments, such as doing Kegel exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
  • Mechanical treatments, such as inserting a small plastic device called a 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)

The different forms of pelvic organ prolapsed may be difficult to distinguish because they all commonly form a vaginal bulge of some kind. Dr. Chaudhry can reliably distinguish the type of prolapse by performing a detailed pelvic examination and planning a course of treatment for your individual needs. Call or make an appointment today.