Pelvic Organ Prolapse
If it suddenly feels as if something has dropped into your vagina, it could be pelvic organ prolapse. If this is the case, avoid standing for long periods of time or lifting anything heavy until you can visit your Women’s HealthFirst OB-GYN specialist in northwest suburban Chicago.
What Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
A prolapse is when a body part slips out of its normal place. When it happens to the organs in your pelvis – the vagina, cervix, uterus, bladder, urethra, and rectum – it’s usually because your pelvic floor muscles have weakened, torn, or stretched, and can no longer support the pelvic organs. This can occur due to pregnancy, childbirth, and aging. Obesity, genetics, and frequent constipation can increase your risk of pelvic organ prolapse.
The most common organ affected in a pelvic organ prolapse is the bladder.
Types of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
The condition is usually characterized by how severe the prolapse is. For example:
- First-degree prolapse: At least one pelvic organ has fallen slightly out of place
- Second-degree prolapse: The organ(s) affected have slipped down to the opening of the vagina
- Third-degree prolapse: The organ(s) affected partially protrudes outside the vagina
- Fourth-degree prolapse: When the organ(s) fall completely outside the body
How Do I Know If I’m Experiencing Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
The No. 1 sign of pelvic organ prolapse is the feeling that something is coming out of your vagina. Additional signs or symptoms of a pelvic organ prolapse include:
- Discomfort, pain, or heaviness in the lower abdomen
- A bulge or lump in the genital region
- Sensation that you’re sitting on a small ball when seated
- Urinary incontinence
- Pain during sex or difficulty having sex
If you experience any of the above signs or symptoms, contact your OB-GYN provider right away.
Treatment Options for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Treating pelvic organ prolapse may involve nonsurgical or surgical treatment options.
Nonsurgical Treatment for POP
The most-often recommended therapy for women diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse is pelvic floor exercises, including biofeedback and Kegel exercises, which involve contracting and relaxing the muscles. Physical therapy to strengthen your core may also be recommended.
Another common nonsurgical treatment for pelvic organ prolapse is a pessary, a removable silicone device that is inserted through the vagina to help support the pelvic organs. As long as it continues to fit properly, a pessary can be used for years.
In some cases, hormone therapy may help reduce tissue thinning in the region to help prevent or reduce the severity of a prolapse.
Surgical Treatment for POP
Surgery may be needed to reposition the prolapsed organ. There are numerous ways to approach a pelvic organ prolapse surgery, including minimally invasive methods such as vaginal entry, via laparoscopy, or using robotic assistance. What type of surgery is right for you will depend on the organ involved, and the extent of the prolapse and your symptoms, if any.
Need Help Right Away for Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
If you think you may have experienced a pelvic organ prolapse, with one or more organs slipping into or out of your vagina, contact Women’s HealthFirst by calling (847) 808-8884. You can also request an appointment now. We have five locations near Chicago, Illinois, to serve you.