Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse, also known as uterine prolapse, is a condition that occurs when the normal support of the vagina is weakened and the uterus begins to slide from its normal position. The uterus may slip enough that it drops partially into the vaginal canal, or in severe cases, the uterus slips so far that some of the tissue protrudes outside of the vaginal opening.

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Pelvic Organ Prolapse Facts

What are the associated symptoms?

Women with mild cases of pelvic organ prolapse may not experience any symptoms. However, as the uterus slips further out of position, it can place pressure on other pelvic organs causing a variety of symptoms, such as heaviness, pain or pressure in the pelvis; pain during intercourse; urinary incontinence, frequency or urgency; recurrent bladder infections; lower back pain; etc.

What are the common causes?

Pelvic organ prolapse is most common in postmenopausal women. Weakened pelvic muscles and connective tissues are generally the cause of uterine prolapse, which is often the result of vaginal childbirth, previous vaginal surgeries, loss of estrogen, and repeated straining or heavy lifting over the years. Each of these can weaken the pelvic floor and lead to pelvic organ prolapse.

Are there any non-surgical options to treat Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

In mild cases of pelvic organ prolapse, treatment is usually not necessary. However, several lifestyle changes may be recommended such as:

  • Kegel exercises to improve pelvic floor muscle tone, since over time you may continue to lose tone, making the prolapse more severe.
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight to minimize the stress on the pelvic floor.
  • Avoid heavy lifting and straining, to reduce strain and pressure on supportive pelvic structures.