What is pelvic organ prolapse?

December 13, 2021

Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition that affects the “pelvic floor.” The pelvic floor is the name for the muscles that support the organs in the pelvis, including the bladder, rectum, and uterus. Pelvic organ prolapse is when these muscles relax too much. This causes the organs to drop down and press against or bulge into the vagina.

Prolapse can affect different organs. Doctors use different terms for the types of prolapse:

●Bladder – If the bladder bulges into the vagina, it is called “cystocele.”

●Rectum – If the rectum bulges into the vagina, it is called “rectocele.”

●Uterus – If the uterus bulges into the vagina, it is called “uterine prolapse.”

Many things can contribute to pelvic prolapse including genetics, chronic straining/lifting/coughing, pregnancy, lack of estrogen.

What are the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse?

Many times, prolapse does not cause any symptoms. But when symptoms do happen, they can include:

●Fullness or pressure in the pelvis or vagina

●An aching feeling in the pelvis

●A bulge in the vagina or coming out of the vagina

●Leaking urine when you laugh, cough, or sneeze

●Needing to urinate all of a sudden

●Trouble having a bowel movement

Pain with intercourse

Splinting (When using the toilet, you might need to press on the bulge in your vagina with a finger to get out all your urine or to finish a bowel movement)

Is there a test for pelvic organ prolapse?

Your provider will be able to tell if you have it by doing a pelvic exam.

What is the treatment for pelvic organ prolapse?

If pelvic prolapse does not cause symptoms, it does not need to be treated.  Symptoms can be treated with a pessary, which is a rubber object that is placed in the vagina for support. Symptoms can also be treated surgically, in which the relaxed pelvic fascia tissues are tightened back up using your own tissue, no mesh/no foreign body.

For more information call Bradley Gynecology at 701-877-2020.

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