Throughout a woman’s lifetime, she undergoes a series of changes from menstruation to menopause. There’s another common change that many women may not be aware of, even though 300,000 surgeries are performed every year in the U.S. because of it.
This change is known as pelvic organ prolapsed. When the muscles and other tissues supporting pelvic organs weaken or are injured, they can drop from their normal positions.
This is particularly common with the bladder, which can slip out of place and can descend partly or completely outside the vagina. The uterus, urethra and rectum are also susceptible to sagging.
The most common culprit behind pelvic organ prolapsed is childbirth.
Other risk factors include diminishing muscle strength with age, menopause, pelvic surgery and being overweight.
The first warning signs are often undetectable. If the condition worsens over time, the sufferer might notice pressure or a heavy feeling in the vagina that intensifies as the day goes on or gets worse during bowel movements, a sensation of sitting on a ball, bulging tissue that protrudes out of the vagina, urinary incontinence, or difficulty urinating or emptying the bowels completely.
There are a number of available treatment options. If you suffer from any of these bothersome symptoms, your doctor may fit you with a pessary, a silicone device inserted in the vagina that helps to support pelvic organs.
Depending upon the severity of your symptoms, surgery may be your best option.
Watson Clinic offers the latest treatments and minimally invasive surgical techniques through our Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery department. Call 863-680-7243 to schedule an appointment.
Sources: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; American Urogynecologic Society; National Institutes of Health