Purpose Statement

This blog is intended to educate women on issues that affect women. Although we are all healthcare professionals, we are not here to give medical advice. Rather we hope this will encourage women knowing that help is available and give them the courage to seek help.

Monday, September 12, 2011

What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

Your pelvic organs are held into place by ligaments, connective tissue, and your pelvic floor muscles. Your pelvic floor muscles are a sling of muscles that wrap around your bladder, vagina, and rectum supporting all your pelvic organs. If these ligaments and pelvic floor muscles are stretched and/or weak, the organ may fall out of place, hanging down into the pelvic area. This is called pelvic organ prolapse. Childbirth, repetitive lifting, poor breathing patterns, or hormonal changes can contribute to a pelvic organ prolapse.

If you have prolapse, you might experience pelvic pressure or heaviness in the area, changes in your bowel or bladder when you try to go to the bathroom, and/or urine or stool leakage. Prolapse itself is not painful but it can cause pain in other areas of your body. Some of the ligaments that support your pelvic organs attach to your low back. If you have an organ that is falling down into the pelvic area, it may be pulling on your low back causing low back pain. Also, a prolapse may hang on your pelvic floor muscles causing them to stretch and get weak. This can lead to pain or muscle spasms in these muscles as they work hard to hold the falling organ in place. You might experience discomfort or pain during intercourse because of the prolapse hanging into the vaginal wall.

If it is a minor prolapse, doing kegel or pelvic floor contractions may be enough to support the organ and make your symptoms go away. There are other options to help hold the organ in place such as wearing a pessary. A pessary is a medical device inserted in the vagina to support the organ that has fallen.

If you are concerned you might have a prolapse, talk with your medical provider. You have many options that can help your problem.