Advice for Women with Pelvic Organ Prolapse

As women, there are some special health issues that are unique to us. One of these is pelvic organ prolapse, or what some doctors refer to as POP. POP occurs when the pelvic muscles weaken Pelvic Floor Prolapse-1and organs fall (prolapse) or sink into the vagina. There are different types of POP depending on the organ that is pressing into the vagina, usually the bladder, rectum or uterus.

If you had multiple vaginal births, you are more likely to be affected by POP, and it usually happens after menopause. POP can be painful and a bit embarrassing, but it is more common than you think, and you are not alone. In fact, millions of women are affected by this condition. Women with this condition may have trouble with bladder leaks, pelvic pain, constipation and pain during intercourse, but in some cases there are no symptoms. Doctors perform a pelvic examination to diagnose POP.

When it comes to treating prolapse, these are several options, and thankfully not all of them require surgery. You should always discuss all of your concerns with your doctor, but it’s also important to do your homework. Being informed helps you talk to your doctor and ask questions about treatment options that might have more health risks than others.

How Can You Treat Prolapse Without Surgery?

It is important to know that just having prolapse doesn’t mean that you need surgery. In fact, about 40 percent of women who have mild prolapse might not even know they have it because there are no symptoms. Doctors don’t usually recommend any surgical treatment for mild cases. Prolapse doesn’t always worsen over time, but it is recommended that you do what you can to make sure the symptoms don’t worsen.

Here are a few things you can do to take care of your pelvic health if you have the beginnings of prolapse:

• If you are overweight, losing some weight will help.
• Avoid lifting heavy objects.
• Quit smoking.

If you have mild prolapse and want to do something to delay or avoid surgery, you can do Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles. To perform these exercises, you contract your pelvic muscles as if you were holding in urine. Each day, you should try to do about 30. If you are just starting out, you can do them in groups of 10 throughout the day. Aim to hold each contraction for about 3 seconds, and work up to 10 with rest in between each contraction.

Another nonsurgical option is a vaginal pessary. Pessaries resemble diaphragms, are made of plastic or silicone and are inserted into the vagina to support the pelvic floor.

If You Need Surgery to Treat Prolapse

Some cases of prolapse are severe. If you are suffering from intense pain and other discomfort that get in the way of doing daily tasks, chances are your doctor will recommend surgery. If this happens, you should know that complications are possible, and you may want a second opinion before deciding to go through with surgery.
Surgeons may use your own tissue to repair the pelvic floor or use stitches alone. But in some cases, a synthetic transvaginal mesh implant might be used. Some types of implants have caused problems for thousands of women and have led to lawsuits. Complications can include:

• Severe pelvic pain
• Perforation of the bladder
• Erosion of the mesh through the vaginal wall
• Painful sexual intercourse
• Infections
• Vaginal bleeding

Another thing to know is that some doctors are more qualified than others to perform pelvic floor surgery. Most women only think of gynecologists when it comes to problems with bladder leakage or prolapse, but urogynecologists are specialists in treating pelvic floor disorders. These doctors are experts and specially trained to perform these types of surgeries, and you should be able to find one in your area.

Remember, it is your body – so take care of it! When dealing with pelvic organ prolapse, make sure you empower yourself with knowledge. There are plenty of credible resources available online that can help you learn more about it. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of each treatment option, and don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion.

MichPelvid Floor prolapse-2elle Y. Llamas is a content writer for Drugwatch. She educates the public about dangerous drugs and medical devices. Michelle has been published in peer-reviewed medical journals and on various websites.

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