Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a disorder in which pelvic organs (vagina, uterus, bladder, and rectum) droop due to the weakening of the pelvic muscles. In more extreme situations, an organ may bulge onto another organ or outside your body. Your Bellingham Urology Group doctor will recommend therapies to fix POP and reduce discomfort.
The symptoms of a pelvic organ prolapse
Some women experience no symptoms at all, while others experience the following symptoms as a result of pelvic organ prolapse:
- Lower back pain.
- Feeling full or pressure in your pelvic area.
- Painful intercourse.
- A sensation that something is escaping from the vagina.
- Urinary issues such as leaking pee or a persistent need to urinate.
- Constipation or bowel control problems.
- Spotting or bleeding from the vagina.
Common causes of pelvic organ prolapse
Childbirth is the most common cause of pelvic organ prolapse. The baby can stretch and damage the supporting tissues and pelvic floor muscles as it moves through the vagina. The more vaginal deliveries you have, the more likely you will suffer a prolapse organ relapse. Other causes of POP include the following:
- As you age, your muscles might lose strength, especially your pelvic floor muscles. One factor is diminishing estrogen. During menopause, your body secretes less estrogen impairing the connective fibers that support your pelvic floor.
- Long-term pressure in the abdominal cavity can overwork your pelvic floor muscles, weakening them. Chronic constipation, persistent coughing, and frequent heavy lifting all increase your risk of developing POP.
- A family history of POP might raise your chances of having the condition. Although research on the genetic components of POP is ongoing, you might inherit a weaker pelvic floor.
- Being overweight increases your risk for POP. Studies have shown that clinically overweight people are more likely to have POP than those in the normal weight category.
- Collagen alterations might weaken the connective tissues in your pelvic floor, raising your chances of developing POP. Also, those with connective tissue problems, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and more mobility in their joints are more likely to get POP.
Treating pelvic organ prolapse
The severity of the symptoms determines therapy for pelvic organ prolapse. Various procedures that may be used in treatment, include:
- Behavioral therapies include PT (physical therapy) to improve your core muscles and Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
- Mechanical therapies include placing a tiny plastic device known as a pessary into the vagina to support the sagging organs.
- Surgical therapy to restore or remove the afflicted tissue or organ (such as removal of the uterus by a hysterectomy).
Pelvic organ prolapse can have a negative impact on your body image and sexuality. It might induce symptoms that make it difficult to live your life to the fullest. If you experience POP symptoms or feel you have a weaker pelvic floor, don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor.
They can recommend treatments, medical gadgets, and even lifestyle changes to address your POP and enhance your quality of life. Call Bellingham Urology Group or book your meeting online to learn more about pelvic organ prolapse and which treatments suit you.