Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse is the descent or "drooping" of the pelvic organs. This could be the uterus, front or back vaginal walls or top the vagina after a hysterectomy. This is a very common problem that usually occurs as a woman ages. It can be treated in several different ways, including surgical and nonsurgical options.

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling like you are sitting on a small ball
  • Difficult or painful sexual intercourse
  • Frequent urination or a sudden urge to empty the bladder
  • Low backache
  • Uterus and cervix that stick out through the vaginal opening
  • Repeated bladder infections
  • Feeling of heaviness or pulling in the pelvis
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Increased vaginal discharge

Many of the symptoms are worse when standing or sitting for long periods of time. Treatment is not usually needed unless the symptoms bother you. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight and avoiding heavy lifting can help in some cases. In more severe cases, a doctor may prescribe a vaginal pessary, which holds the uterus in place. Surgery is not done unless the symptoms of outweigh the risks of surgery, but in the most severe cases, can include a hysterectomy. The sagging of other organs such as the bladder or vaginal walls will be corrected at the same time.

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