Around one-third of women experience a pelvic floor disorder, which can include pelvic organ prolapse. Prolapse is defined as “a falling down of an organ or part, as the uterus, from its normal position.” In the case of a pelvic prolapse, any of the organs in the pelvic region, including the uterus, bladder, vagina, small bowel, or rectum, could fall out of place.
Most commonly, women have uterine prolapse, where the uterus slips out of position, and can even protrude outside the vagina. There are several things that can cause pelvic prolapse, but the most basic cause is that the muscles and tissues holding your organs in place weaken and can’t hold their weight anymore.
Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse
You may not have any symptoms, in which case you have asymptomatic pelvic organ prolapse. However, there are other symptoms that you may feel but not recognize.
One of the main symptoms is a feeling of pressure or fullness in your pelvic area. This is caused by the weight of the prolapsing organ pressing down out of its usual place. You may even feel as if something is falling out of your vagina.
2. Difficulty with urination
Depending on which of your organs is slipping out of place, you may feel like you need to urinate all the time, or you may even leak urine. Leaking urine is not always a symptom of pelvic organ prolapse, but it certainly can be.
You may also not be able to empty your bladder completely. In that case, you may have urinary tract or bladder infections.
3. Low backache
A chronic backache is a widespread problem, however, it can be a symptom of pelvic prolapse. When your pelvic organs are pressing against the nerves and bones in your pelvis, you may have a backache. If you have a new, unusual, or a different-feeling backache, especially in conjunction with any other symptoms, you should consult Dr. Swainston to make sure you’re not experiencing pelvic prolapse.
If your other organs are pressing down on your rectum, you may be constipated. Constipation may lead you to strain when you have a bowel movement, which can worsen the prolapse. Thus, constipation can be both a symptom and a cause of pelvic organ prolapse.
5. Painful intercourse
Depending on the type of prolapse you have, as well as the severity, you may experience discomfort or pain during sex.
Treating pelvic organ prolapse
There are several treatment options that Dr. Swainston may suggest for pelvic prolapse, depending on your situation. In some cases, doing exercises to strengthen the muscles that hold your pelvic organs in place will correct the problem.
A small device called a pessary can be inserted into your vagina to support the organs that are dropping out of place.
You may need surgery to repair the tissues that are allowing the organs to prolapse, or in some cases to remove the prolapsed organ.
If you have unusual symptoms, even if they’re vague and difficult to describe, book an appointment online or by phone with Dr. Swainston. The sooner he can diagnose pelvic organ prolapse, the greater the chances you can strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with exercises and avoid more invasive treatments.