PELVIC ORGAN PROLAPSE
WHAT IS IT?
It’s a condition with many names — vaginal bulge, dropped bladder, uterine prolapse, vaginal prolapse, rectocele, genital prolapse, cystocele — the list goes on and on. All of the above conditions fall into a large category called PELVIC ORGAN PROLAPSE (or POP). No matter what it’s called, the origin is the same. Prolapse, or bulging, of the female pelvic organs is caused by a stretch, tear, or other injury to the connective tissues of the pelvis and its organs. These injuries most often occur as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, but other risk factors include age, heavy lifting, smoking, and long term constipation.
IS IT DANGEROUS?
The vast majority of the time, pelvic organ prolapse is not dangerous and does not cause any problems. It typically only becomes dangerous in its most severe stages when it can cause obstruction (i.e. kinking) of the ureters — the tubes that deliver urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Just because it isn’t dangerous however, doesn’t mean it isn’t bothersome. If prolapse is interrupting daily life, then treatment is warranted.
HOW IS IT TREATED?
There are many options for treatment of pelvic organ prolapse. These are as simple as “watch and wait” and as complex as specialized abdominal and vaginal surgery. Other treatment options include pelvic floor physical therapy and the use of a silicone vaginal insert (called a pessary). If you’d like to talk more about treatment options for pelvic organ prolapse, schedule an appointment with Dr. Stewart today.