Pelvic Organ Prolapse
When an organ or body part slips out of its normal place, it is said to prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs in some women when the muscles and ligaments that keep the pelvic organs in place weaken and some of these organs prolapse. Just one organ might prolapse or a number of organs might prolapse.
The muscles in a woman's lower belly can weaken or loosen after childbirth or surgery. The strain of childbirth tends to stretch these muscles and if they don't recover, the organs may prolapse.
Surgery, as for a hysterectomy, may also lead to pelvic organ prolapse. The uterus, which is removed during a hysterectomy, provides support for some of the pelvic organs. Once the uterus is taken out, the organs that previously were supported can prolapse.
The organs that can prolapse include the:
- Small bowel
Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Discomfort in the lower belly is the primary symptom of pelvic organ prolapse. The feeling may be sensations of:
- Pressure, caused by the pelvic organs pressing against the wall of the vagina, is the most common symptom of pelvic organ prolapse
- Fullness in the lower abdomen
- Something falling out of the vagina
- Pain in the lower back
- Tugging or stretching in the groin
- Needing to urinate often
- Incontinence or being unable to hold in urine
- Vaginal pain during intercourse
- Constipation or problems with the bowel
Complications of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse, in addition to causing discomfort, can result in:
- Stress incontinence
- Difficulty with starting to urinate
- Difficulty with defecation
- Leg fatigue
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Lower back pain
Treatment for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
If a woman's symptoms are mild and they don't cause much discomfort, it might not be necessary to do anything to correct the condition. But, it is important not to do anything that might worsen the prolapse such as gaining too much weight, lifting heavy objects, or smoking.
Other pelvic organ prolapse treatment options for more serious diagnoses include:
- Doing kegel exercises, a series of contractions that help to strengthen the floor of the pelvis
- Inserting a pessary, a device that is put into the vagina and supports the pelvic area (similar to a diaphragm)
Surgery to Repair Pelvic Organ Prolapse
If the discomfort cannot be controlled, surgery is another choice for treating pelvic organ prolapse. The surgery is done to reconstruct the pelvis and put back into place the prolapsed organ or organs using stitches to secure them to surrounding tissues and ligaments.
The surgery is done either vaginally or abdominally. Laparoscopic surgery is another technique used. This involves making a few tiny incisions in the abdominal wall, inserting a camera to see the area and instruments to correct the prolapse.
Surgical mesh is sometimes used to reinforce the tissue after surgically putting the organs back into place. Complications have been reported by some patients who have been implanted with vaginal mesh to repair pelvic organ prolapse. Complications that have been reported include infection, pain, bleeding, erosion and organ perforation.
If you've undergone surgery for pelvic organ prolapse and have experienced complications, you might be eligible to seek compensation for your suffering. To learn more, schedule a free case review with a transvaginal mesh lawyer today.