Do you sometimes feel as if something is falling out of your vagina? Is intercourse painful? These are just a couple of the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which the muscles supporting the organs in your pelvis become weak, allowing the organs to droop.
The involved muscles and tissues
The organs in your pelvis include:
- Small bowel
Normally, the muscles that support these organs work like a sling or a hammock, holding them in place. When those muscles become weak, the organs droop and press down into, or even out of, your vagina.
There are different types of pelvic organ prolapse, depending on which of your organs drops. If your bladder drops, it’s called cystocele, and it’s the most common type of pelvic organ prolapse.
You may also have rectocele, which is when your rectum pushes into or even out of your vagina. You may also experience uterine prolapse, which is when your uterus drops into or out of your vagina.
More rarely, small bowel prolapse, enterocele, occurs. This is when part of your small intestine drops into your vagina.
As you might imagine, if you have pelvic organ prolapse, you may feel as if something is falling out of your vagina. This feeling may be accompanied by sensations of pressure, fullness, and discomfort in your pelvis that seem to get worse when you stand up or as the day goes on.
You may experience urinary incontinence, or have difficulty having a bowel movement.
Getting diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse
The first step in getting a diagnosis is to have a conversation with Dr. Pourzand about your symptoms. There’s no reason to feel embarrassed; you must accurately for honestly describe your symptoms, in order for Dr. Pourzand to understand your troubles and be able to prescribe treatment.
Once you’ve talked about what’s happening, Dr. Pourzand will do a physical exam, and may order other tests to find out how your organs are functioning.
Treating pelvic organ prolapse
There are several methods of treating pelvic organ prolapse and the one that’s right for you depends on several factors. These include which of your organs is drooping, how weak or damaged the muscles of your pelvic floor are, and several others.
One of the most common first line treatments for pelvic organ prolapse is using a device called a pessary. A pessary is a removable device that you insert into your vagina to support the pelvic organs.
You may need pelvic floor muscle therapy in conjunction with another treatment. There are exercises you can do to help strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor.
In some cases, surgery is the best option to treat pelvic organ prolapse. Sometimes, Dr. Pourzand may recommend using a surgical mesh to support your pelvic organs, or she may be able to use your own tissues to repair the prolapse.
Pelvic organ prolapse can be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and can become worse over time. You don’t have to live with it! Book your appointment online or by phone today, and talk to Dr. Pourzand about treatment options.