Prolapse of Pelvic Organs: What You Should Know?

What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

By prolapse, it means the dropping down of the internal organs. Pelvic organ prolapse is a type of pelvic floor disorder, which can create discomfort in women. Pelvic floor muscles are located between the legs, public bone, and the back of the spine. It acts like a sling to support the pelvic organs. Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition in which the pelvic organs will move from its original place towards the lower abdomen and pushes the vaginal wall. The organs will come down into or outside the vaginal canal or the anus. It includes bladder, vagina, rectum, small bowel, uterus etc. The condition can create discomfort and intense pain in women. Different types of pelvic organ prolapse include:
  • Rectocele in which rectum drops down
  • Cytocele in which bladder moves down towards vagina.
  • Vaginal vault prolapse in which vagina prolapses
  • Enterocele in which bowel prolapses
  • Uterine prolapsed in which the uterus comes down

Causes of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Coming to pelvic organ prolapse causes, it happens mainly when the pelvic tissues are weakened. The pelvic tissues can be weakened resulting in the drop down of the pelvic organs whenever there is an excess pressure on the abdomen. The major reasons that create pelvic organ prolapse are:
  • Pregnancy: The weight of the foetus will weaken the pelvic floor muscles leading to a prolapse.
  • Vaginal delivery: The pelvic floor muscles will be stretched during the process of childbirth. If it is prolonged pushing for labour, the muscles will be stretched vigorously leading to a prolapse in future.
  • Obesity: Being overweight can sometimes result in pelvic organ prolapse
  • Hysterectomy: The surgical removal of the uterus is another cause.
  • Chronic respiratory disease: Chronic cough caused by respiratory diseases or smoking, lung diseases etc also can lead to pelvic organ prolapse.
  • Frequent constipation

Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

The symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse depend on the particular organ or multiple organs that are dropping down. Some might not give you any of the symptoms, while others may create severe discomforts. Commonly found symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse are:
  • Feels the lower abdomen is full always
  • A pressure on the lower abdomen
  • Feeling of something coming out towards vagina
  • A pain in the lower back
  • Bowel problems like constipation
  • Vaginal discharges, spotting or bleeding
  • Painful sexual intercourse happens mostly when rectum or uterus is going down
  • Frequent tendency to urinate especially when the bladder is dropping down

Treatment for Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse treatment largely depends on the severity of the prolapse and the organ which it is affected. It is treatable through non surgical procedures which include change in lifestyle, exercise for pelvic muscle strengthening, etc. Another way is to insert a device through vagina to give support to the pelvic floor muscles. Surgical treatments are also done to repair the damaged tissue. For vaginal prolapse, hysterectomy is used as a treatment method.