A uterine prolapse may have no symptoms in the early stages, and if the condition is caught then, treatment is much simpler. But if the condition remains unchecked, it can reach a point where your uterus protrudes out of your vagina. Don’t let it get that bad. Call today for an appointment at Century Medical and Dental Center in Brooklyn.
Your pelvic floor muscles and ligaments keep several organs in their proper place. The uterus may shift and slip into — or protrude out of — your vagina if these muscles weaken or the ligaments stretch too much. At that point, the tissue no longer provides the support your uterus needs to stay in place, and you may suffer from a uterine prolapse.
Mild cases of uterine prolapse may require no treatment. On the other hand, a prolapsed uterus may inhibit your sexual activity and prevent you from becoming pregnant. If the uterus protrudes out of your vagina and becomes irritated or uncomfortable, you need treatment from a skilled gynecologist at Century Medical and Dental Center in Brooklyn.
Types of Prolapse Conditions
Most pelvic prolapse conditions involve an organ slipping out of its normal place into your vagina. When this happens with your uterus, it’s called a uterine prolapse. All types of prolapse events compromise your vagina and cause a prolapsed vaginal wall. Other types of prolapse conditions include:
- A vaginal-vault prolapse, called a vaginal hernia, finds the top of the vagina or the vaginal vault slipping down onto itself.
- A cystocele involves the bladder dropping into the vagina.
- A urethrocele is when If your urethra, the tube that carries urine from your bladder out of your body, falls into the vagina.
- A rectocele happens when the rectum bulges into your vagina.
- An enterocele involves the bulging of the small intestines against the back wall of the vagina.
Symptoms of Uterine Prolapse and Other Prolapse Conditions
Many women report that their problems are less frustrating in the morning and worsen throughout the day. More moderate or severe cases may exhibit:
- A heavy or pulling sensation along the lower part of your pelvis
- Urinary concerns, such as leakage or urinary tract infections from urine retention
- Tissue trying to protrude from your vagina that makes sitting uncomfortable
- Discomfort or straining when trying to have a bowel movement
- Sexual issues, whether looseness of your vagina wall or protrusions against it
Because uterine prolapse occurs in stages, your symptoms develop slowly. The four stages of uterine prolapse are:
- At the first stage of this condition, your uterus has slipped into the vagina a little. You may not notice any symptoms.
- In stage two, your uterus has completely fallen into your vagina, but is not yet to your vulva.
- By stage three, the uterus tissue is poking out of your vagina.
- Stage four is when the uterus is hanging out of your vagina.
Causes of Uterine or Vaginal Prolapse
A wall of muscle and ligaments line your pelvic floor. Any condition or event that weakens these muscles can cause prolapsed vagina or other organ prolapse conditions. These include:
- One or more full term pregnancies
- Delivery of a larger than average baby
- Prolonged labor or traumatic delivery
- Prior pelvic surgery
- Lower estrogen levels after menopause
- Lifting heavy objects repeatedly, especially with poor form
- Conditions that cause chronic constipation or straining to have a bowel movement
- Smoking or other lung conditions that contribute to chronic coughing or bronchitis
Other risk factors include a family history of prolapse conditions, getting older or having Caucasian or Hispanic lineage. The primary concern regarding uterine prolapse — besides the pain and discomfort — is that it can displace part of the vaginal wall, occasionally leading to sores from rubbing on clothing. This is called a prolapsed vaginal wall.
Treating Your Uterine Prolapse
At a consultation, your Brooklyn gynecologist performs a pelvic exam to check the position of your vagina, cervix, uterus and other pelvic organs. Discuss any incontinence or constipation you’re experiencing. Also talk about any digestive or sexual concerns, even if they seem embarrassing. Your doctor understands and wants to resolve your symptoms.
Your treatment options depend on the severity of the prolapse. Some possibilities include:
- Kegel exercises that help strengthen your pelvic muscles to support your other organs
- Weight loss, as losing pounds reduces the strain on your pelvic floor
- Stool softeners and other medications for constipation
- Stopping your smoking to reduce coughing episodes
- A plastic or rubber ring called a pessary, inserted into your vagina, gives extra support to the uterus and other organs, although you have to remove this device periodically.
- Surgical options if the prolapse is more advanced, to repair the pelvic tissue with your own tissue, donor tissue or synthetic material that your body eventually integrates
- A hysterectomy or removal of your uterus, if you’re past childbearing age — a safe, irreversible procedure that prevents pregnancies
Aftercare for Continued Pelvic Floor Strength
Once you’ve addressed your prolapse, certain habits keep your pelvic muscles strong so you don’t experience another episode. Some of these tips can even provide relief from mild cases of prolapse. Change your daily routine to include:
- Practice regular and consistent Kegel exercises to keep ligaments, muscles and fascia strong
- Eat a high-fiber diet to control your constipation and keep stool loose
- Lose weight or avoid weight gain if you fight obesity
- Avoid lifting heavy objects and carry smaller loads
If you need more advice or wish to be examined for a possible prolapse, contact practitioners in Brooklyn at Century Medical and Dental Center . Having multiple medical specialties in one place makes it easier for you to get the care you need.