Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Organ prolapse refers to organs literally “falling out of place” from their correct placement inside the body. The the uterus, bladder, urethra and/or bowel can descend from their correct place in the pelvis and into or outside of the vagina or rectum. This causes added pressure on the vaginal walls,often leading to discomfort and difficulties with urinating or bowel movements.
Female Organ Prolapse
Uterine prolapse can happen in women of all ages, but it’s more common in women who have gone through childbirth. Women with long labor phases or those with large babies are more prone to organ prolapse. Because of the effort required to give birth, the uterus can slip out of place and fall down into the vagina either around the time of the birth or later in life.
Bladder and Rectal Prolapse
When the pelvic floor muscles or connective tissue is weak, the bladder can partially slip down into the vagina.
Similarly, rectal prolapse is a lot more common than most people imagine. A prolapsed rectum means the rectal tissue is slipping down in the anal canal, and a rectocele means the rectum is pushing into the vagina.
Symptoms of prolapse include a sensation of pressure and difficulty with urination (difficulty starting stream, difficulty completely emptying, dribbling after urinating). Patients may also experience difficulty beginning bowel movements or feeling like they cannot fully complete a BM. Another very common sign of organ prolapse is urinary incontinence. In addition, some patients can feel the extra tissue inside or coming out of their vagina or rectum.
Organ prolapse is usually diagnosed with a pelvic exam. Although this is not required of any visit at Grace Pelvic Health, Dr. Grace will be able to offer a more accurate diagnosis.
Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles and making changes in toileting behavior and diet can often improve symptoms enough that surgery can be avoided. In addition, these exercises can offer immediate help with a number of related issues, including urinary incontinence.
Patient education on strategies to help protect the prolapsed tissue can be very beneficial and help reduce symptoms. However, it is important to know that in some severe situations the only way to successfully restore a prolapse is through surgery.
If you are looking for an expert in pelvic health in North Carolina, Dr. Erika Grace is ready to help you. Her services are offered in a caring and professional environment exclusively dedicated to the health of men and women with pelvic floor dysfunction. If you suspect you might be suffering from organ prolapse or if you have already been given a diagnosis, make an appointment to figure out the next step to successfully treat and address your issue.