Vaginal prolapse is caused by defects or weakening of the pelvic muscles and connective tissues that hold your vagina, uterus, bladder, and other pelvic organs in place. There are different types of prolapse, including:
- Bladder (cystocele)
- Rectum (rectocele)
- Small intestine (enterocele)
- Pressure in the pelvis
- Urethra (urethrocele)
- Uterus (uterine prolapse)
The top of the vagina, called the vaginal vault, can also fall into the vaginal canal.
What are the risk factors for vaginal prolapse?
Giving birth is a significant risk factor for prolapse, particularly if you had a difficult delivery that required forceps or a vacuum. Family history, obesity, nerve or muscle diseases, injuries to the pelvic floor, or pelvic surgeries such as a hysterectomy can increase your risk. Chronic constipation or coughing, smoking, or repetitive heavy lifting can also put you at greater risk for prolapse.
What are the symptoms of vaginal prolapse?
Many women don't have symptoms, but those who do usually notice signs that develop gradually. Symptoms may include:
- Pelvic pressure or heaviness
- Bladder control problems or urine leakage (urinary incontinence)
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Discomfort with intercourse
- Vaginal dryness
At the Desai Sethi Urology Institute, our female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgeons are dedicated to women's health and well-being. Our doctors develop a personalized treatment plan that gives you the best results.
Your doctor may examine your vagina and pelvic floor to find out if vaginal prolapse is causing your symptoms.
Pelvic Floor Strength Tests
During pelvic floor strength testing, your doctor tests the strength of your pelvic muscles. These muscles help control urination and bowel movements and support your uterus, bladder, and bowel.
Bladder Function Test
Also called urodynamic testing, the bladder function test consists of two phases – a storage phase and an eliminate phase.
In some rare instances, your doctor may use imaging tests such as ultrasound, MRI, or CT to learn more about prolapse symptoms and rule out other conditions.
Watch and Wait
If you don’t have bothersome symptoms, you may decide not to have treatment. But you should discuss all your options with your doctor first to ensure you make an informed decision.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises, also called Kegels, can help strengthen muscles and can improve prolapse symptoms.
A physical therapist who specializes in the pelvic floor can help you with your pelvic floor exercises. Your therapist may use techniques such as biofeedback to give you better awareness and control of your pelvic muscles.
A pessary is a silicone ring inserted into your vagina to hold the pelvic organs in place. Your doctor will fit you for the device and explain how it’s used. It should not be left in for long periods and requires regular check-ups with your doctor.
You and your doctor may decide surgery is the best option to treat the symptoms of vaginal prolapse, including urinary incontinence. There are many different prolapse repair approaches, and your doctor will help you decide which is best for you. At the time of your surgery, your doctor may also use mesh to support the urethra and prevent leakage during coughing, sneezing, or laughing.
Laparoscopic or Vaginal Surgery
Laparoscopic and vaginal surgery are two types of minimally invasive procedures to lift the vagina. Both approaches result in minimal scarring and allow you to return home immediately after surgery.
Why Choose UHealth?
Pelvic health expertise at the Desai Sethi Urology Institute. Our doctors specialize in women’s health. You get individual attention and treatment that’s customized to your needs, with personal attention from trained, compassionate experts who understand women’s needs.
Care designed for women. Our team of urology experts delivers advanced care for all urologic conditions. We use the latest research and the least invasive procedures to help you feel better and recover more quickly. Our experienced urologists design a personalized treatment plan to give you the best possible results.
A team approach. Your doctor works with physical therapists, imaging technologists, surgeons, and other specialists to give you complete care. You can be confident you’re working with a highly trained team.
Leaders in minimally invasive surgery. We have some of the world’s most experienced surgeons for minimally invasive urologic procedures. Our surgeons are trained in surgeries that result in less scarring and a quicker recovery.
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