Pelvic Organ Prolapse: How Does It Happen, and How Can It Be Treated?

If you’re experiencing pelvic organ prolapse, or POP, you likely have many questions. Our team at Austin Urogynecology has decades of experience in understanding, diagnosing, and treating pelvic organ prolapse. In this blog, we’ll answer the most common questions about the condition.

How does pelvic organ prolapse happen?

This prolapse occurs when surrounding organs drop into the vagina. This can include the bladder (cystocele), uterus, small intestine (enterocele) or rectum (rectocele). In some cases, all of these organs can drop into the vagina causing a significant vaginal bulge, sensation of pelvic pressure, or even the sensation that something is “falling out of the vagina.”

How do you diagnose pelvic organ prolapse?

Typically, POP is diagnosed with a pelvic examination. Your doctor will determine which organs are dropping, and how severe the prolapse has become. The severity of pelvic organ prolapse is indicated by four stages.

Stage one features minimal dropping of the organ or organs into the vagina. By pelvic organ prolapse stage four, the organ has dropped as far as possible into the vagina. When the bladder, uterus or rectum are protruding all the way beyond the opening of the vagina or the introitus, this is known as total prolapse or complete procidentia.

What are the complications of pelvic organ prolapse?

Complications of advanced prolapse can include urinary tract infections, poor bladder emptying, pelvic pain, breakdown of the vaginal mucosa due to thinning and rubbing of the tissue, constipation, incomplete defecation, lower back pain and pain during intercourse.

How can pelvic organ prolapse be treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of the prolapse. Initial prolapse can be small and asymptomatic. In these cases, POP can be managed without major treatment. However, if the prolapse advances and creates bothersome symptoms, vaginal or robotic prolapse surgery can be performed. In cases with total prolapse, surgical repair is required to restore the anatomy of the vagina. Often a hysterectomy is also required, if the uterus is still in place.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, contact our team of experts to discuss your treatment options.

Got questions? Need an appointment? We’re here to help!