23 June 2017

Pelvic Organ Prolapse | What is that bulge?

Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when a pelvic organ, such as your bladder, descends (prolapses) from its original spot in your lower abdomen and bulges against the walls of the vagina. This can happen when the muscles that hold your pelvic organs in place get weak or stretched from childbirth or surgery.  Pelvic organ prolapse is most often related to straining during childbirth. Normally your pelvic organs are kept in place by the muscles and tissues in your lower stomach. During childbirth these muscles can get weak or stretched. If they do not recover, they cannot support your pelvic organs. You may also get pelvic organ prolapse if you have had surgery to remove your uterus (hysterectomy). Removing the uterus can sometimes leave other organs in the pelvis with less support and therefore weakened.

Most women will have some kind of pelvic organ prolapse, so please know that you are not alone. For some women it can be uncomfortable and even painful. But it is not usually a worrying health problem.  In some women, pelvic organ prolapse can get better with time, and for most it usually does not get any worse.  More than one pelvic organ can prolapse at the same time.

Organs that are vulnerable when you have pelvic organ prolapse include the:

  •     Bladder  (This is the most common kind of pelvic organ prolapse.)
  •     Urethra
  •     Uterus
  •     Vagina
  •     Small bowel
  •     Rectum

There are many different causes of Pelvic organ prolapse and knowing these causes can help women prevent further issues.  Pelvic organ prolapse can be made worse by anything that puts pressure on your belly, including being very overweight (obesity), a long-lasting cough, frequent constipation, and pelvic organ tumors.  Older women are more likely to have pelvic organ prolapse and it also is likely to to run in families.  So if your mother has prolapse, than you may too.

Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse include:

  •     Feeling pressure from pelvic organs pressing against the vaginal wall which can be painful.
  •     Feeling very full in your lower belly.
  •     Feeling as if something is falling out of your vagina.
  •     Feeling a pull in your groin area or pain in your lower back.
  •     Incontinence, or needing to urinate often.
  •     Having pain in your vagina during sex.
  •     Having problems with your bowels, including constipation.

How is  Pelvic organ prolapse treated?

Treatment decisions will be based on which pelvic organs have prolapsed and how bad your symptoms are.

For symptoms that are mild, you may be able to do things at home to help yourself feel better. You can relieve many of your symptoms by adopting new, healthy habits. Try special exercises (called Kegels) that make your pelvic muscles stronger. Reach and stay at a healthy weight. Cut back on caffeine, which acts as a diuretic and can cause you to urinate more often. Avoid lifting heavy things that put stress on your pelvic muscles.

For symptoms that are more wvere your doctor may have you fitted with a device called a pessary to help with the pain and pressure of pelvic organ prolapse. It is a removable device that you put in your vagina. It helps hold the pelvic organs in place. But if you have a severe prolapse, you may have trouble keeping a pessary in place.

Surgery is another treatment option for serious symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse. But you may want to delay having surgery if you plan to have children. The strain of childbirth could cause your prolapse to come back.

For further information regarding pelvic organ prolapse or any other gynecological need you are having, please contact Dr. Joanne Hinson at 801-364-4030.  We have same day and next day appointments available for your convenience.

Why Choose Dr. Hinson

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Passionate about her vision. Treating women as people, respecting their value as females, and as people.

25 years of OB/GYN experience, acting as the only doctor for most of her patients , treating other medical needs as well.

Emphasizes a partnership with the patient in her health care, strongly advocating her responsibility in her health.

Focused, nonjudgemental listener, effective communicator and educator.

Considers the patient's overall health, mental state, and social issues as possible factors contributing to her present problems.

Considers the female body as a whole, not just the pelvic region.

Committed to staying current with changing guidelines and treatment options.

Continuously updating skills with emphasis on minimally invasive and in-office procedures.

More About Dr. Hinson

For 25 years Dr. Joanne S. Hinson has provided compassionate healthcare to the women of Salt Lake City, Utah and beyond. From puberty to menopause, Dr Hinson provides the best personalized GYN services… caring for the whole woman.

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