A pelvic prolapse may involve one or more of your pelvic organs, including your bladder, cervix, uterus or rectum. The condition causes pelvic pain. Prolapse can be treated at Century Medical and Dental Center, a multi-disciplinary clinic that provides everything you need for your overall health. Don’t wait until you need prolapse surgery when non-invasive techniques suffice if you catch the condition early enough. Call for an appointment.
A woman’s abdomen and organs are supported by a complex web of muscles, ligaments and fascia or connective tissue. When these tissues weaken, the internal organs can drop out of position. If they drop low enough, a bulge forms in the vagina.
This condition, called a pelvic prolapse, often occurs as women age. It can be aggravated by childbirth, menopause or a hysterectomy. If you experience any of the uncomfortable symptoms, such as pelvic pressure, consult with your Brooklyn GYN doctor at Century Medical and Dental Center to treat the condition, as it can have significant long-term effects, such as persistent urinary tract infections.
Symptoms of Pelvic Prolapse
In addition to the feeling of pressure and a possible bulge in your vagina, the most common symptom of a prolapse is pelvic pain. The pelvic organs consist of the reproductive organs — such as the uterus, cervix and vagina — and the bladder and rectum. Any or all of these organs can be affected if your pelvic floor muscles weaken. The bulge often felt in the vagina isn’t dangerous, but it can be painful. Other symptoms may include:
- Pressure and pain in the lower back
- Urinary incontinence problems, such as a constant urge to urinate or involuntary leaking
- Uncomfortable or painful sexual intercourse
Stages of Pelvic Prolapse
Pelvic prolapse doesn’t happen overnight. The condition tends to follow four stages of development:
- In the first stage, you may experience minor symptoms: leaking urine, increased constipation, discomfort during sex and a slightly full feeling. Your pelvic muscles still support the organs.
- In the second stage, your pelvic organs begin to shift slightly down and symptoms increase.
- During the third stage, the affected pelvic organs fall into the vagina more noticeably. Most women notice the bulge in their vagina at this stage. Urinary tract infections and constipation issues increase.
- In the most severe stage, the fourth, some of the pelvic organs fall completely through your vagina. This stage causes damage to organs, risk of infection and severe symptoms.
Causes and Types of Pelvic Prolapse
Your doctor refers to your pelvic prolapse based on which organs have shifted down. Most of these conditions occur because of weakened pelvic muscles, usually due to natural childbirth. Other factors include aging, lung disease that causes frequent coughing or being overweight. The various types of prolapse include:
- Cystocele prolapse. The most common form of prolapse occurs when your bladder descends into the vagina. When this happens, the urethra or tube where urine exits the body becomes bent, causing problems with proper voiding.
- Rectocele prolapse. In this type of prolapse, the rectum pushes against the back wall of your vagina, producing a noticeable bulge.
- Uterine prolapse. This condition involves a prolapsed cervix, causing your uterus to descend into the vagina.
Treatment Options for Pelvic Prolapse
The subjects of urine leakage, constipation and painful sex may be uncomfortable to discuss with anyone. You must be able to trust your Brooklyn gynecologist enough to relate the problems you’re having so they can be addressed directly and efficiently. Pelvic prolapse may become extremely painful if untreated.
Your doctor at Century Medical and Dental Center always starts with the most conservative treatment options first. Treatments include:
- Physical therapy, including Kegel exercises. Your pelvic muscles can be strengthened with targeted exercises. At this physical therapy clinic, your physical therapist helps you find and exercise these muscles. Kegel exercises can relieve prolapse symptoms by strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. Your therapist may also use biofeedback or electrical stimulation to increase the pelvic floor strength.
- A pessary device. Made from silicon, a pessary is custom-made to fit inside your vagina. It supports your pelvic muscles and prolapsed organs.
- Prolapse surgery. Severe pelvic prolapse symptoms often require surgical intervention. But if other treatments have proven ineffective or uncomfortable, your gynecologist may recommend surgery. The type of surgery depends on which organ causes the most discomfort, such as:
- Bladder repositioning is the most common.
- For a uterine prolapse, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy.
- Vaginal vault suspension surgery repairs the vaginal wall damage caused by protruding organs.
- A sacrocolpopexy surgery repositions several affected organs through tiny incisions in your abdomen.
In the U.S. alone, gynecologists perform approximately 200,000 surgical operations for pelvic prolapse conditions every year. Although pelvic prolapse usually isn’t life-threatening, surgery for prolapsed organs significantly improves your quality of life.
Pelvic Prolapse Prevention
The best treatment for pelvic prolapse involves prevention. If you’re prone to prolapse issues due to your medical history or especially if you’ve already experienced a prolapse event, your doctor guides you toward preventive measures to ensure your pelvic muscles’ strength. Good preventive techniques include:
- Losing weight if you carry extra pounds
- Using a proper carrying technique for heavy objects: pulling in your abdominal muscles and tightening your pelvic floor muscles
- Stopping cigarette smoking, as this contributes to lung issues and coughing
Have a frank discussion with your gynecologist regarding pelvic prolapse symptoms. Resume your daily activities without the discomfort and complications of a prolapsed uterus, cervix or bladder. Contact medical practitioners in Brooklyn at Century Medical and Dental Center today!