The Cause and Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse



Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) is a less talked about problem faced by women mostly after menopause. This is because often women are embarrassed to talk about it or consider it an age-related woe. But during their lifetime, 1 in 11 women need surgery for pelvic organ prolapse, according to an article on Merck Manual

Pelvic organ prolapse involves prolapse or dropping down of the vagina, bladder, rectum, urethra or small intestines due to weakness or injuries in pelvic connective tissues and muscles.  Such problems are associated with symptoms like urinary incontinence, feeling of pelvic pressure and difficulties in bowel movements. These problems are manageable through exercises and mechanical treatments. Surgeries might be required in severe cases, for which you need to consult the best gynaecologist in Hyderabad

Here are some aspects you need to know about the condition.

What Causes Prolapse of Pelvic Organs? 

A group of muscles called the “pelvic floor” and surrounding tissues are responsible for keeping the pelvic organs in place. This includes the bladder, uterus, vagina, small intestine and rectum. Sometimes these muscles and tissues develop problems or injuries due to certain factors, which leads to these organs distending into or outside the vaginal canal or anus. 

For instance, Cystocele is the most common type of POP, where the bladder bulges into the vagina. There are three grades of this condition, and in the most advanced cases the vaginal wall that supports the bladder will bulge out of the opening of the vagina, which needs a cystocele repair surgery or vaginal pessary, according to an article on John Hopkins Medicine

Common causes of such conditions include:

  • Childbirth
  • Severe constipation
  • Chronic long-term cough
  • Obesity
  • Pelvic organ cancers
  • Hysterectomy (Surgical removal of uterus)
  • Lack of estrogen after menopause leading to weak pelvic muscles
  • Heavy lifting

Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Along with the feeling of sitting on a ball, in other words an uncomfortable bulge in your vagina, you could experience symptoms like:

  • Pain or pressure in pelvis; lower back pain
  • Painful sex
  • Leaking of urine or a feeling that you need to urinate constantly
  • Recurring urinary tract infections
  • Constipation
  • Vaginal bleeding or spotting

All these symptoms could indicate a totally different underlying problem, which is why you should get in touch with the best gynaecologist in Hyderabad to know about your condition and options for treatment. 

Diagnosis and Treatment of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Your doctor will conduct a full pelvic exam to see the extent of prolapse if any, and to rule out any infections. After that, they can prescribe additional tests to get a clear idea about the situation of the organs. These tests include:

  • Pelvic Ultrasound
  • Pelvic CT
  • MRI scan
  • Cystoscopy
  • Intravenous pyelography

Sometime gynaecologists may also order urodynamic tests like measurement of the rate of flow of urine, quantity of urine that remains in the bladder after urination and measuring the amount of urine the bladder can hold without leaking.

Treatment options depend on severity of the problem. Typically, post-partum cases are dealt with pelvic floor exercises or ‘kegel exercises’ to strengthen the pelvic muscles. Mechanical treatments like inserting a diaphragm like device called ‘pessary’ into the vagina can be done to provide support to drooping organs.

In severe cases, surgery could be considered. Reconstructive surgery can correct the prolapsed vagina, and improve vaginal sexual function. Sacrocolpopexy is done laparoscopically to suspend upper vagina with synthetic mesh.

These surgeries require the hands of experienced gynaecological surgeons. Some of the best gynaecologists can be found in Hyderabad, Delhi and Bangalore. Be sure to book an appointment to take care of this uncomfortable condition.