Pelvic organ prolapse can lead to a variety of disorders
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) is a downward descent of the female pelvic organs, including the bladder, rectum, uterus if present, upper part of the vagina if the uterus is absent or small bowel resulting in a bulge pressing into or out of the vagina.
Prolapse development can be attributed to the damage, stretching and weakening of the support muscles and ligaments in the female pelvis. These support structures keep the bladder, rectum, small bowel and uterus oriented in the appropriate position. Any event that results in damage to these structures can result in POP.
Factors contributing to pelvic organ prolapse include:
- Child birth
- Pelvic trauma
- Straining (heavy lifting, defecation, chronic coughing)
- Prior surgery for POP
Specialized care for pelvic organ prolapse
Often, those suffering from the pain and discomfort of pelvic floor dysfunction are either too embarrassed to discuss their symptoms or believe there is no remedy for them.
At Baylor Scott & White Health, pelvic floor disorder patients receive a personalized treatment plan from a team of pelvic health experts who evaluate each patient’s medical history and recommend a care plan. Specialists on the medical staff provide individualized non-surgical and surgical options to meet your needs, manage symptoms and resolve any discomfort or embarrassment caused by a pelvic floor disorder.
Diagnosing pelvic organ prolapse
The diagnosis of POP does not require special diagnostic tests or procedures. A thorough history from the patient as to her symptoms and what activities exacerbate her condition and what maneuvers help relieve it is the first step in the evaluation.
Charles Secrest, MD, then performs a brief physical exam with the emphasis on the pelvis. It is very difficult for the patient to distinguish one form of prolapse from another they simply notice they have developed a bulge in the vaginal area associated with some discomfort.
Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse
- Bulge in the vagina or protruding out of the vagina
- Pelvic pressure
- Low back pain
- Urinary problems (slow stream, urinary incontinence, urinary frequency)
- Bowel problems (constipation, fecal incontinence)
- Painful intercourse
Types of pelvic organ prolapse our specialists treat
- Vaginal—When the top of the vagina weakens and collapses into the vaginal canal.
- Uterine—When the pelvic muscle, tissue and ligaments weaken, causing the uterus can drop down into the vaginal canal.
- Enterocele—When the small intestine pushes into the top of the vagina, creating a bulge.
- Rectocele—When the wall between the rectum and vagina weakens, causing the rectum to sag and bulge into the vagina.
- Cystocele—When the wall between the bladder and vagina weakens, causing the bladder to drop or sag into the vagina.
- Incontinence—The inability to control the passage of urine, ranging from an occasional leakage to a complete inability to hold any urine. Learn more about urinary incontinence.
Advanced pelvic organ prolapse treatment options
The pelvic organ prolapse treatment we offer here typically includes non-surgical options. However, for some patients, pelvic organ prolapse surgery is the best option. In most cases, laparoscopic or robotic surgery options—which are less invasive and provide faster recovery—are available. Another pelvic organ prolapse treatment is abdominal repair, which often can be minimally invasive using robotic or laparoscopic techniques.
Each patient's pelvic organ prolapse treatment plan will be determined by their care team based on age, medical history, type of pelvic organ prolapse and personal preferences.
- Laparoscopic surgery
- Robot-assisted surgery
- Pelvic floor therapy
- Pessary (a supportive vaginal insert)
Men have unique health concerns and needs when it comes to pelvic health issues
Men and women may experience pelvic floor dysfunction differently.
For men, pelvic floor dysfunction can coexist with other conditions that affect them, including:
- Male urinary dysfunction
- Erectile dysfunction