Prolapse is defined as “the slipping or falling out of place of an organ.
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when pelvic organs such as the bladder, urethral, rectal, or uterine tissue bulge into, and sometimes all the way outside of, the vagina. According to the research, this condition is seen in a range of 43-70% of women during a gynecological exam. The severity is graded from stage 1-4.
The good news here is that many women with pelvic organ prolapse are not at a severe stage, are asymptomatic and do not require treatment. However, if you are one of the symptomatic groups, read on…
Prolapse can result from the simple dysfunctional physics equation of too much pressure pushing down from above the pelvic organs, and insufficient support below the pelvic organs.
The symptoms associated include: urinary incontinence, urinary urgency and frequency, incomplete bladder emptying and, at times, fecal incontinence.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
The first line of defense is strengthening and increasing the girth of the pelvic floor muscles. Research confirms that a prolapse severity can be reduced by 1.5 grades with this intervention alone. If the severity is greater, a pessary can be used as an internal brace. These are placed by a urological specialty provider (often a nurse practitioner or PA). Usually pelvic floor muscle training is needed to allow the pessary to be held in place. Most often these interventions will do the trick!
If these conservative measures do not provide the correction needed to relieve symptoms, a urogynecological surgical consult is recommended.