Uterine prolapse is a type of pelvic relaxation condition. The typical symptoms that occur with pelvic relaxation will vary depending on what type of organ is affected. In many cases, the patient will feel heavy or full, and small to moderate urine amounts may be lost during the completion of normal physical activities like walking, coughing, and laughing. In rare or advanced cases, a mass can protrude from the opening of the vagina. Pelvic support problems, based on which organs are involved, can be described as the following:
- Uterine prolapse
Uterine prolapse is a condition that occurs when the uterus is no longer properly supported by the pelvic floor. It results in the organ dropping into the vaginal canal due to weakened muscles and ligaments. Women who have given birth via the vaginal canal are at a higher risk for developing uterine prolapse. It can also be a sign of reduced estrogen after menopause, aging, a pelvic tumor, or chronic pressure on the muscles of the pelvic floor which can reduce the strength and support. Chronic constipation and straining for bowel movements can also result in uterine prolapse, including other pelvic organs.
Patients with uterine prolapse will often experience symptoms including:
- Lower backache
- Feeling of discomfort in the vaginal area
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Urinary urgency
- Chronic UTIs
- Bleeding or increased discharge from the vagina
- Pressure in the pelvic region
- Uterus visible through the vaginal opening
A physical examination allows Dr. Gandhi of Partners in Pelvic Health North Shore Urogynecology to diagnose this condition properly, and several treatments may be suggested depending on the severity of the prolapse. Mild prolapse may be improved with lifestyle changes and the strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles with pelvic floor trainers and Kegel exercises. Patients may also benefit from the placement of a vaginal pessary. Surgical procedures are considered for more severe cases of uterine prolapse, and may be determined useful for those who want to regain vaginal function, reduce the symptoms, and who have a desire to bear more children. It can improve one’s self-esteem, and provide a positive change in the sexual relationship between a woman and her partner.