What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) occurs when the tissues that hold the pelvic organs in place become weak or stretched, resulting in the displacement (prolapse) of the organs from their normal position. There are five types, involving different organs:
- Cystocele (bladder)
- Enterocele (small bowel)
- Rectocele (rectum)
- Uterine (uterus)
- Vaginal vault (when the upper part of the vagina falls into the vaginal canal)
What Causes it?
Prolapse is caused by muscles and ligaments that have been weakened or damaged. The most common causes of prolapse include:1
- Previous surgery
1 in 2 women may experience prolapse (based on examination).2
What are the symptoms?
To learn more and determine if you have prolapse, take this symptom quiz and talk to your doctor about your answers. Symptoms include:
- A bulge or lump in the vagina
- The vagina protruding from the body
- A pulling or stretching feeling in the groin area
- Difficult or painful sexual intercourse
- Vaginal pain, pressure, irritation, bleeding, or spotting
- Urinary or fecal incontinence
- Difficulty with bowel movements
- Delayed or slow urinary stream
What are the treatment options?
Taking the details of your condition into account, you and your doctor can work together on a treatment plan. It’s important that you understand all the options available, and that you share your thoughts and concerns with your doctor.
Special exercises, called Kegel exercises, may help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. For Kegel exercises to be effective, they need to be done daily.
A pessary is a rubber or plastic device used to support the pelvic floor and maintain support of the prolapsed organ. A health care provider will fit and insert the pessary, which must be
cleaned frequently and removed before sexual intercourse.
There are two approaches to surgical treatment for POP1: obliterative (closing the vagina completely) and reconstructive (restoring the anatomy to its normal position). Reconstructive options include sacrocolpopexy, transvaginal mesh repair kits, and vaginal colporrhaphy and apical suspensions using your own tissue.1
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1. Jelovsek JE, Maher C, Barber MD. Pelvic organ prolapse. Lancet. 2007;369(9566):1027-38.
2. Barber MD, Maher C. Epidemiology and outcome assessment of pelvic organ prolapse. Int
Urogynecol J. 2013;24:1783-1790.