A condition unique to women, also known as POP, pelvic organ prolapse affects women who have previously given birth. As this condition develops, it may feel like there’s pressure in the lower abdomen and pelvis as the pelvic organs shift downward into the lower pelvis. The feeling can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. Usually, symptoms don’t occur quickly after childbirth and occur a year or more after giving birth. Other factors that can contribute include age and medical history.
What Are the Causes of Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Not all women who develop POP have given birth. Other risk factors for pelvic organ prolapse include pelvic tumors, chronic constipation, chronic cough as well as obesity. All of these factors apply added pressure to the internal pelvic organs and can contribute to POP.
Aging, having a hysterectomy and childbirth are all factors which can weaken or even damage the pelvic muscles, which can lead to pelvic organ prolapse.
The Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse: When to See a Doctor
If you're experiencing pain or pressure on your vagina, this is the primary symptom that should be an indicator that you could be suffering from pelvic organ prolapse. In addition to the pressure or pain, you may also experience these co-occurring symptoms:
- Low back pain
- Pressure in the pelvic region even when the bladder is empty
- Pressure or stretching sensation in the groin area
- Pain during intercourse
- Irregular menstrual bleeding
- Incontinence issues
If you’re currently experiencing any of these symptoms along with pelvic discomfort, see a doctor as soon as possible to rule out other more serious possibilities.
What Are the Treatments for Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
There are conservative treatments which may improve the symptoms of mild POP. These include:
- Improving nutrition and diet
- Exercise & weight loss
- Kegel exercises
- Pessaries - these silicon devices can be inserted vaginally to offer additional support to the pelvic organs without surgery
Depending on the severity of your symptoms as well as your age, there are surgical options to repair the damage caused by pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic reconstructive surgery or installing a pelvic organ prolapse mesh are two options that require a surgical procedure.
There also may be cases where POP is linked to other conditions like bladder incontinence. If this is the case, you may need a combination of treatments to solve the issue entirely.
How Advanced Gynecology Can Help
Our board-certified team of specialists and surgeons is here for you to diagnose the cause of your pelvic organ prolapse and work to find the best treatment plan for you.