Our pelvic floor holds up all of our pelvic organs—the vagina, cervix, uterus, bladder, urethra, intestines and rectum. If the muscles and tissue in our pelvic floor weakens, tears or stretches, it can cause the pelvic organs to drop—a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse. Women with prolapse usually have gradually developing symptoms that may include difficulty wearing a tampon, urinary or fecal incontinence, vaginal dryness and/or pain during intercourse. A feeling of vaginal heaviness and even the appearance of organs through the vagina or rectum are also possible.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, discuss this with your Women First provider. Usually, prolapse can be diagnosed with a simple pelvic exam. Some symptoms of prolapse will warrant imaging or other testing to reach a complete diagnosis. Once diagnosed, your provider may recommend nonsurgical treatment options such as lifestyle changes, physical therapy, or placement of a pessary, which is similar to a diaphragm that helps hold the bladder and uterus in place.
Sometimes, surgery is the best option for treating pelvic prolapse, whether it’s to restore the normal pelvic floor anatomy or to repair damaged muscle or tissue. Often, your Women First doctor is able to perform these surgical solutions in a minimally invasive way. Small incisions in the vagina or abdomen can be all that’s needed for laparoscopic techniques that get you through the procedure and recovery much quicker than with traditional, open surgery.