Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Prolapse occurs when muscles and ligaments that support organs weaken, causing the surrounding organs to slip out of place. Prolapse often get worse over time and sometimes requires surgery. Pelvic organ prolapse can be tested by a bladder function test, a pelvic floor strength test an MRI or a gynecological ultrasound.
Women often experience a prolapse in multiple pelvic organs, though sometimes prolapse only affects one organ. Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapses can be improved by regularly practicing Kegel exercises. Additionally, avoiding weight gain, heavy lifting and treating chronic coughs will help prevent pelvic organ prolapses.
There are 3 types of pelvic organ prolapse:
Cystocele- Anterior Prolapse
Cystocele is a type of pelvic organ prolapse where tissues and muscles that hold the bladder in place are weakened or stretched. This can cause a woman’s bladder to press against the wall of the vagina, causing a bulge. Bladder prolapses are caused when a woman’s pelvic muscles are weakened by aging or damaged by pregnancy or during labor.
A Cystocele often is associated with incontinence during coughing, laughter or jumping. Some women with cystoceles have difficulty emptying their bladder and could result in a bladder infection. Other symptoms include discomfort or urinary leakage during sexual intercourse.
Cystoceles typically does not require treatment, though more severe cases may require surgery. Surgery to correct a cystocele is called Sacrocolpopexy
. A Sacrocolpopexy
will push the bladder and secure the tissue supporting it to keep the bladder in its correct position
Rectocele- Posterior Prolapse
Rectocele is a type of pelvic organ prolapse where tissues and muscles that separate the rectum and the vagina weaken and cause the vaginal wall to bulge. This tissue is called the fascia.
Symptoms of rectocele include a small bulge of tissue in the vagina, difficulty with bowel movements, rectal pressure, or feeling that the rectum is not completely empty following a bowel movement. Prolapses are caused by increased pelvic floor pressure or childbirth.
This bulge is rarely painful and typically does not require treatment, though more severe cases may require surgery. Surgery to correct a rectocele is called Sacrocolpopexy
. A Sacrocolpopexy
will secure the tissue supporting the vagina and rectum to keep the rectum in its correct position.
Uterine prolapse occurs when pelvic floor muscles that separate the uterus and the vagina weaken, causing the uterus to slip into the vagina. Uterine prolapse commonly affects post-menopausal women who have given birth vaginally.
Symptoms of uterine prolapse include tissue protruding from the vagina, difficulty during bowel movements, low back pain, urine leakage, or a pulling sensation in the pelvic muscles. Uterine prolapses are usually caused by childbirth or loss of estrogen after menopause
Mild uterine prolapse is rarely bothersome and typically does not require treatment, though it may worsen over time. More severe cases may require a hysterectomy
or a vaginal surgery. Vaginal surgery uses either personal tissue from other organs or synthetic materials to provide structure to the pelvic organs.
The providers at the Center for Women’s Health understand that caring for a woman’s health requires more than just good “medical” care. Call (770) 297-2200 or contact us
to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physicians to help you with your health needs.