Pelvic Organ Prolapse
(Source: Voices for PFD) Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a medical condition that occurs when the normal support of the vagina is lost, resulting in “sagging” or dropping of the bladder, urethra, cervix and rectum. As the prolapse of the vagina and uterus progresses, women can feel bulging tissue protruding through the opening of the vagina.
Causes of pelvic organ prolapse
There are many factors that can contribute or predispose women to this condition. The most common are childbirth, menopause and aging. Other possible contributors to POP are race, obesity, constipation, chronic straining or coughing, nerve and muscle disease and smoking.
Some loss of support is a very common finding upon physical exam in women, many of whom do not have bothersome symptoms. Those women who are uncomfortable often describe the very first signs as subtle—such as an inability to keep a tampon inside the vagina, dampness in underwear or discomfort due to dryness during intercourse.
Signs and symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse
As the prolapse gets worse, some women complain of:
- A bulging, pressure or heavy sensation in the vagina that worsens by the end of the day or during bowel movements
- The feeling that they are “sitting on a ball”
- Needing to push stool out of the rectum by placing their fingers into the vagina during bowel movement
- Difficulty starting to urinate, a weak or spraying stream of urine
- Urinary frequency or the sensation that they are not emptying their bladder well
- The need to lift up the bulging vagina or uterus to start urination
- Urine leakage with intercourse
Many women suffer in silence due to embarrassment and lack of information. It is important to see a specialist and discuss options for management and treatments for this condition.
Source: Voices for PFD
Key Point 1
Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition that occurs when the normal support of the vagina is lost. The result of which is that the pelvic organs and the tissues sag downwards. The symptoms often create a scenario of embarrassment, as well as discomfort, patients often don’t talk about it and as a result, a lot of women don’t even know about it.
Key Point 2
Management for pelvic organ prolapse may be exercise or it may be devices or it may be surgery. The course of treatment depends not only on the anatomy and the severity of the condition, but on the individual as well. It is important to know that no matter what, there is something that can be done to improve the condition.