Effective treatment for pelvic organ prolapse
A woman’s pelvic organs, including the uterus, vagina, bladder and rectum, depend on strong muscles and connective tissue in the pelvic floor for support. After multiple vaginal deliveries or loss of estrogen during menopause, the structure can get weak, causing pelvic organs to shift or drop lower in the pelvic area. This creates pelvic organ prolapse, or POP. The experienced physicians at Athens ObGyn have the skill and expertise to correctly diagnose and treat pelvic support problems.
What causes pelvic support problems?
Problems with the pelvic floor and the pelvic organs happen for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for POP are vaginal childbirth and aging. During childbirth, the muscles and tissues of the pelvic floor become stretched and strained. As women age, particularly after menopause, their bodies produce less estrogen, raising their risk of developing POP. Some other issues can also cause with the pelvic floor.
- Giving birth to multiples or having a larger baby weighing more than 8.5 pounds
- Being overweight or obese
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic coughing
- Heavy lifting
Researchers are also looking into the possibility that having a family history of pelvic floor problems may raise a woman’s risk.
What are the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse ranges from mild to severe; in fact, some women may not experience any symptoms. Here is a list of symptoms of which women should be aware.
- Feeling bulging, pressure or a fullness in the vaginal area
- Pressure, aching or fullness in the pelvic area
- Low back aches and pains
- Pain or pressure during sexual intercourse
- Difficulty inserting applicators or tampons
- Urinary incontinence, or involuntary leaking of urine
- Problems emptying the bladder
- Feeling a bulging or pressure that increases as the day goes on, or when a woman coughs or stands for long periods
- Vaginal spotting
How do the physicians at Athens ObGyn diagnose and treat POP?
Often, our gynecologists can diagnose POP during a pelvic examination. Occasionally, they will order additional tests, including tests for bladder function, or imaging procedures such as an ultrasound or MRI of the pelvic floor. Once they have diagnosed the type of POP and the severity, the physicians at Athens ObGyn create an individualized treatment plan.
Treatment for pelvic organ prolapse may include one or more approaches.
- Dietary changes to prevent constipation
- Getting to and maintaining a healthy weight
- Muscle therapy for the pelvic floor area
- Using a vaginal pessary, which is a device that women insert into their vaginas to help hold the pelvic organs in place
- Surgery that helps support the uterus or vagina
Minimally invasive gynecological surgery for POP ranges from reconstructive surgery to restore organs to their correct positions, to a surgery to narrow or close off the vagina.
Women who have symptoms that may indicate pelvic support problems should contact us for an appointment. Our talented physicians can help.