Pelvic prolapse occurs when an organ in your pelvis drops and pushes against the walls of your vagina due to tissues that hold the organs becoming weak or stretched. The organs that can be involved in pelvic prolapse include the bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina, small bowel and rectum.
Causes of Pelvic Prolapse
More often than not, pelvic prolapse is linked to strain during childbirth. However, there are other common causes of prolapse, including:
- Pregnancy – Pregnancy puts pressure on the abdomen and uterus.
- Menopause – Estrogen levels, which help pelvic connective tissues stretch, drop during menopause
- Surgery – Pelvic prolapse can occur after the surgical removal of the uterus because the other organs could potentially be left with less support
- Obesity – Leads to pressure in the abdomen
- Genetics – People with a family history of pelvic prolapse are more likely to experience it.
Symptoms of Pelvic Prolapse
People often think the main symptom of pelvic prolapse is pain. However, there are many symptoms associated with prolapse, such as:
- Pressure from the pelvic organs pressing against the vaginal wall
- Feeling of fullness in your lower belly
- A pull in your groin
- Vaginal pain during intercourse
- Constipation and pain during bowel movements
Treating Pelvic Prolapse
While some women are able to reduce pain and pressure with non-surgical treatments such as lifestyle changes, exercises and a removable device, pessary, that is placed into the vagina, other situations require surgery. The choice to get surgery depends on the organs involved and the severity of the pain. Surgical options include:
- Cystocele or urethrocele – Repair of the bladder
- Hysterectomy – Removal of the uterus
- Rectocele or enterocele – Repair of the rectum or small bowel
- Vaginal vault suspension – Repair of the vaginal wall
- Vaginal obliteration – Closure of the vagina