As women age, the muscles and tissue in our pelvic floor may weaken, tear or stretch. Because the pelvic floor holds up all of our pelvic organs—the vagina, cervix, uterus, bladder, urethra, intestines and rectum, these changes can cause the pelvic organs to drop—a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse. Symptoms of pelvic prolapse usually develop gradually over time and may include increasing 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.
Pelvic prolapse can usually be diagnosed with a simple pelvic exam. So, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to discuss it with your Women First provider. Other symptoms of prolapse may require imaging or other testing to reach a complete diagnosis. Once diagnosed, there are a number of nonsurgical treatment options that may be recommended—such as lifestyle changes, physical therapy, or placement of a pessary, which is similar to a diaphragm and helps hold the pelvic organs in place.
Many times, surgery is the best option to restore the normal pelvic floor anatomy or to repair damaged muscle or tissue. Your Women First physician is able to perform most of these surgical solutions in a minimally invasive way through small incisions in the vaginal wall and abdomen. These laparoscopic surgery techniques can get you through the procedure and recovery much quicker than with traditional, open surgery.