Many women suffer from pelvic organ prolapse. If you are one them, then the muscles of your pelvic floor have been damaged and are weak. Childbirth, pregnancy, menopause, repeated heavy lifting, surgery, chronic disease and traumatic accidents are the most noted causes of pelvic prolapse.
The pelvic floor consists of the connective tissue, muscles, ligaments and nerves that support and control the rectum, uterus, vagina, and bladder. When these areas become damaged and/or weak, it results in the inability to support the weight of some or all of the pelvic organs. Due to the lack of support, the organs may drop (prolapse) below their normal positions and cause symptoms such as discomfort, pain, pressure and urinary incontinence. About 35% of women will develop some form of pelvic floor dysfunction in their lives.
There are several types of pelvic prolapse. Treatment will be considered once the diagnosis is confirmed:
A cystocele, also referred to as a bulging bladder, occurs when the wall between a woman’s bladder and her vagina weakens and allows the bladder to droop into the vagina. A cystocele is one of the most common pelvic prolapse conditions. An enterocele, also referred to as a female hernia, occurs when the small intestine (small bowel) drops into the lower pelvic cavity and protrudes into the vagina, creating a bulge. A rectocele, also referred to as a bulging rectum, occurs when the tissues and muscles that hold the end of the large intestine (rectum) in place are stretched or weakened. Finally, vaginal vault prolapse occurs when the upper portion of the vagina loses its normal shape and sags or drops down into the vaginal canal or outside of the vagina.
There are nonsurgical remedies that most physicians will attempt first to treat pelvic floor dysfunction, but many women have found surgery to be very helpful.
A pessary may be used and inserted vaginally to relieve symptoms associated with a pelvic organ prolapse. A pessary is a removable device that is inserted in the vagina to hold the pelvic organs in place. But if you have a severe prolapse, you may have trouble keeping a pessary in place.
Pelvic floor reconstruction surgery is another treatment option for serious symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic floor reconstruction surgery consists of several procedures for correcting pelvic organ prolapse and the goal is to restore the normal structure and function of the female pelvic organs. There are different strategies and procedures for each type of prolapse and the severity of the prolapse will also determine the type of treatment used.
Please contact the North Dallas Urology Associates for more information pelvic organ prolapse and pelvic floor dysfunction. To schedule an appointment at our Plano, Richardson and Frisco locations, call 972.612.8037. To schedule an appointment at our McKinney location, call 972.548.8195.