The constant pressure and pain of pelvic organ prolapse
If you have pelvic organ prolapse, it may feel like the internal organs in your pelvis are literally going to fall out. Pelvic organ prolapse is usually the result of damage to the pelvic floor that happens during pregnancy and delivery, or is caused by heavy lifting or the effects of menopause.
Your pelvic floor is made up of muscles and tissue that hold the pelvic organs, including the uterus, bladder and bowel, in place. If your pelvic floor is injured or becomes weak over time, you may experience pelvic organ prolapse. Main Line Health offers treatment options to help correct pelvic organ prolapse and relieve your symptoms.
Heaviness and other symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse
The most common symptom of pelvic organ prolapse is a feeling of heaviness or pulling in your pelvic region. It may become worse after a bowel movement, at the end of the day or when you’ve been very active or standing for a long time. Other symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse may include:
- Aching in the vagina
- A bulge or feeling of something falling out of your vagina
- Anal leakage or trouble controlling gas
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Pain during urination
- Problems with urination such as leaking, frequent urges, difficulty starting or difficulty emptying your bladder
Relief from symptoms with non-surgical and surgical options
If you have symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, your doctor will begin with a pelvic exam. You will also possibly have an ultrasound so your doctor can get a better view of your internal pelvic organs. Finally, diagnostic laparoscopy (a minimally invasive procedure where a thin tube with a camera is inserted through a small incision) may be used to view your internal pelvic organs.
Your treatment plan will depend on your symptoms and the extent of pelvic organ prolapse. It may be possible to reduce your symptoms by using exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, called Kegels. Lifestyle changes, such as staying at a healthy weight and avoiding lifting heavy objects, may also be part of your plan. Another non-surgical treatment option is physical therapy to help strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
If your pelvic organ prolapse is severe, you may need female pelvic reconstructive surgery to help relieve your symptoms. Main Line Health has urogynecology specialists with experience in female pelvic reconstructive surgery, including minimally invasive, laparoscopic surgery. During surgery, your pelvic organs will be returned to the correct location and your pelvic floor will be strengthened.