What Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse is a hernia of the pelvic organs to or through the vaginal opening or anal opening. While not life threatening, prolapse causes significant quality of life issues.
The pelvic organs (bladder, uterus and rectum) are supported by a complex “hammock” of muscles, ligaments and bones. Damage to this support system results in the pelvic organs ‘falling’ forward or out. Common causes of pelvic organ prolapse include childbirth, hysterectomy, obesity, aging and chronic asthma or constipation.
Women with severe pelvic organ prolapse may feel or see a “ball” or protrusion from their vagina. Other prolapse symptoms can be vague and nonspecific. Women with a mild prolapse may feel heaviness or pressure all the time or only after a long day of being on their feet or after heavy physical exercise. A mild prolapse rarely affects sexual function but more severe cases may lead to decreased sexual activity.
It commonly occurs with other pelvic floor disorders urinary or anal incontinence, constipation or overactive bladder.
Treatment options include the use of pessaries, surgery or watchful waiting.
According to the National Association for Continence, about 200,000 surgeries are performed each year to correct a pelvic organ prolapse. This means you are not alone. For referral to one of our board certified doctors, call (281) GET-HELP or (281) 438-4357.