Pelvic Organ Prolapse- Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
The term prolapse refers to the drooping or descendent of organs. The pelvic organ is supported by surrounding tissues and muscles like a hammock. It comprises of cervix and uterus, vagina, rectum, and bladder.
Types of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Based on the type of pelvic organ affected, we can categorize the different types of pelvic organ prolapse in women as
- Dropped Uterus: This type of pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the uterus bulges out of the vagina. Dropped uterus can also be associated with small bowel prolapse, a condition where a portion of the small intestine bulges out of the vagina.
- Dropped Bladder: Dropped bladder is the most frequent type of pelvic organ prolapse in women. This is a condition where the urinary bladder bulges out of the vagina.
- Rectocele: This type of pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the rectum bulges out of the vagina.
Causes of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Dysfunctionality of the muscles and tissues surrounding the pelvic organs leads to prolapse. Some of the main causes of pelvic organ prolapse in women are:
- Increased pressure on abdomen: Continuous strain during bowel movements, persistent chronic cough and obesity can cause increased pressure on the abdomen which in turn leads to pelvic organ prolapse.
- Vaginal child birth: During child birth, the vagina will stretch and strain the pelvic floor muscles. Several vaginal childbirths can pose a risk for pelvic organ prolapse.
- Age: Pelvic organ prolapse is generally seen in older women. Most of the women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse are aged between 60- 80 years.
- Menopause: Reduction in the estrogen hormone during menopause can make the pelvic floor muscles weaker and cause prolapse.
Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Some of the common symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse in women include:
- Fullness in the pelvic region
- Pain during intercourse
- Vaginal bleeding
- Severe lower back pain
- Leakage of urine or strong urge to urinate several times
- Constant feeling of something falling out of the vagina
- Pain while inserting tampons
Symptoms mainly differ based on the organ in which the prolapse occurs. If there is prolapse in the bladder, it causes urine leakage. Constipation can occur due to rectum prolapse while small intestine prolapse causes symptoms such as pain during intercourse and lower back pain.
Treatment of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Treatment of pelvic organ prolapse is based on how severe the symptoms are. Several treatment procedures and therapies also depend on which organ is affected. Some of the most common and effective treatment options are
- Pelvic floor exercises: Exercises like the kegel exercises help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises can also prevent urinary incontinence in women.
- Pessary: Pessary is a mechanical treatment involving the insertion of a removable device into the vagina. This device supports the pelvic organs and reduce prolapse.
- Surgery: Surgery involves repair of the affected organ or removal of the organs such as hysterectomy. Another surgical treatment also involves colpocleisis, where the vaginal opening is closed.
Apart from the above mentioned therapies for treatment of pelvic organ prolapse, one can also prevent its occurrence by maintaining a good lifestyle, good eating habits, and practicing a good fitness regime. The pelvic organs are the most important organs in women and we must ensure to take care of it in every possible way.