What Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that form a sling across the pelvic opening, which supports the pelvic organs and helps keep them in place. This includes the vagina, uterus, bladder, bowels, and rectum. Because these are some of the primary sexual and digestive organs in the body, it should go without saying that the pelvic floor performs a crucial function for overall sexual and digestive health.

Pelvic floor issues can begin to develop as a result of several factors, with age and childbirth being the most common. However, anything that leads to weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, such as obesity or constipation, can contribute to an increased risk of the following pelvic floor issues: urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, perineal descent, and/or pelvic organ prolapse.

Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when one of the pelvic organs bulges into the vaginal canal or through the pelvic cavity. Depending on the organ, there is a different name for the condition: cystocele is a prolapse of the bladder, uterine prolapse is a prolapse of the uterus, enterocele is a bulging of the small intestine and rectocele describes a prolapse of the rectum into the vagina.

Some women may be experiencing pelvic organ prolapse and not notice any bothersome symptoms, but depending on the type of prolapse any of the following may be present: decreased sensation with intercourse, urinary problems, and/or constipation.

The most effective treatment of pelvic organ prolapse will depend on the specific condition and the severity of symptoms, and include both surgical and non-surgical options. For mild issues, physical therapy that strengthens the pelvic floor muscles may be sufficient to provide relief. For more severe cases, a vaginal prolapse repair may be required.

If you believe that you may be suffering from pelvic organ prolapse, contact Austin Urogynecology today and schedule your free consultation. Our expert staff will perform an evaluation and provide you with all the information you need to determine next steps for treatment.

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