Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the normal support to the vagina is lost causing a dropping of the bladder, urethra, cervix, uterus or rectum. The pelvic floor includes the muscles, ligaments, connective tissue and nerves that support the uterus, vagina, rectum and bladder. There are a number of disorders and symptoms that can result from loss of support to the pelvic floor.
Prolapse: descent of pelvic organs; a bulge and/or pressure, ‘dropped uterus, bladder, rectum or vagina.
Uterine prolapse: pelvic floor muscles and ligaments stretch and weaken, providing inadequate support for the uterus, which can then descends into the vaginal canal.
Incontinence: loss of bladder or bowel control, leakage of urine or feces.
Emptying disorders: difficulty urinating or defecating.
Pelvic (or Bladder) pain: discomfort, burning or other uncomfortable pelvic symptoms, including bladder or urethral pain.
Overactive Bladder: frequent need to void, bladder pressure, urgency, urge incontinence, or difficulty holding a full bladder.
Pelvic organ prolapse can affect women of any age. There are a number of factors that predispose, cause and worsen pelvic organ prolapse. Not only do genetic factors and race influence the risk of prolapse but loss of support to the pelvic floor can be happen when any part of the pelvic floor is injured. Injury can occur during vaginal delivery, surgery, pelvic radiation or with pelvic fractures from falls or accidents. In addition, constipation, chronic straining, chronic cough, heavy lifting and obesity are all condition that increase the risk of prolapse. Aging, menopause and loss of estrogen also contribute to weakening of the pelvic floor and development of prolapse.