Pelvic Organ Prolapse
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Did you know that the pelvic floor muscles hold up literally every organ in your lower abdomen, from your bladder and vagina to your cervix and uterus, even your intestines and rectum. If the pelvic floor muscles are injured, can weaken, stretch or tear, they can no longer do their job of holding all those organs in place. Over time, the organs can shift downward, even so far as to protrude out of your body. This is called pelvic organ prolapse, or POP. It is also referred to as herniation of the genital organs or bowel.
Any pelvic organ can prolapse, but the most common are the uterus, vagina, bladder and rectum. This conditions can result in a number of vague symptoms such as vaginal pressure, back or hip pain and discomfort with sex before the actual organs become visible or there is a palpable bulge of the organ outside of the vagina or anus.
Many women assume that pelvic organ prolapse only affects women who have given birth and then only to really large babies. And while childbirth is a leading factor to organ prolapse, any woman can develop the condition at any age. The important thing is to see treatment.
As with other pelvic floor disorders, there is nothing to be embarrassed about; these conditions are much more common than you think, simply because people don't talk about it. Treatment options are available to help you get your life back.
Many women are able to reduce discomfort and pressure from pelvic organ prolapse with nonsurgical treatments which may include lifestyle changes, doing exercises or a removable device called a pessary. When those aren't enough, we offer surgical procedures to correct different types of pelvic organ prolapse prolapse including:
- Repair of the bladder (cystocele) or urethra (urethrocele)
- Removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) or support of the uterus (uterine suspension)
- Repair of the rectum (rectocele) or small bowel (enterocele)
- Repair of the vaginal wall (vaginal vault suspension)
- Closure of the vagina (vaginal obliteration)
Seeing or feeling something protruding out of your genital area can be alarming and many women immediately think the worst. But a prolapsed organ is not the end of the world or even the end of your sex life. Prolapsed organs can be managed and the condition treated. The first step is talking to a specialist about it.