The pelvic floor is a set of muscles that sit near the opening of the pelvis. The muscles are designed to surround and support the bladder, uterus, small intestine and rectum. Unfortunately, the pelvic floor muscles can start to weaken over time. Once the pelvic floor is no longer able to properly perform its job, you may start to experience some unwanted medical conditions. One of the most common medical problems caused by the weakening of these important muscles is a pelvic organ prolapse.
What Is a Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
This is essentially a hernia that occurs in the pelvic floor. The pelvic organs break through the supportive muscles and enter the vaginal canal. If the condition is allowed to go untreated for long enough, then the drooping organs can go all the way through the vaginal opening. Almost anything that puts a lot of pressure on the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles can cause a prolapse. While pregnancy is the most common cause, this medical condition can also be caused by constipation, obesity, chronic coughing, cancer or genetics.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
You will likely not notice any painful symptoms shortly after the prolapse occurs. The symptoms will gradually start to appear as the condition gets worse. Some of the most common symptoms associated with a pelvic organ prolapse are lower back pain, urinary issues, vaginal bleeding, painful intercourse and pressure in the lower abdomen or vagina. The exact symptoms you experience will be based on which organs become prolapsed.
The first step in the treatment process of a pelvic organ prolapse is getting your condition diagnosed by a medical professional. They can also help determine the severity of your condition, which will be the main factor in planning your treatment options.
Mild cases of pelvic organ prolapse will be treated conservatively. You will be asked to regularly perform exercises in an attempt to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. A pessary may also be placed inside the vagina to help add support to the drooping organs. This special medical device will be completely unnoticeable, but it will need to removed and cleaned on a regular basis.
If the conservative treatments are impossible or unsuccessful, then you will need to undergo surgery. The goal of the surgery is to return the prolapsed organ to its proper location and repair the damaged pelvic floor muscles. This can be done using a variety of surgical methods.
If you have suffered a pelvic organ prolapse, the professionals at Women’s OB/GYN Center would be more than happy to discuss your options with you. We are conveniently located in Pasadena and Webster, TX. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!