Postpartum Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
When the uterus descends into the vagina or when the vaginal walls bulge towards the vaginal opening, it is referred to as pelvic organ prolapse. This condition can cause uncomfortable symptoms and impact one's quality of life.
3 min read
Verified by Ingela Ågren
One of the most common causes of pelvic organ prolapse is that it occurs after the muscles and ligaments supporting the pelvic organs are damaged or weakened during childbirth. Although more common after a vaginal delivery, pelvic organ prolapse can also occur in pregnant individuals who have undergone a cesarean section. In most cases, mild cases of pelvic organ prolapse following childbirth can resolve on their own as the body recovers. Over a lifetime, approximately one in nine women may require surgery to treat pelvic organ prolapse. The risk of pelvic organ prolapse also increases with age.
Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
The most common symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse include:
- Heaviness Sensation: A feeling of heaviness or pressure in the pelvic region is a common symptom of pelvic organ prolapse. It may feel as if something is bulging into the vagina.
- Urinary Issues: Pelvic organ prolapse can affect the bladder and lead to problems such as increased urinary frequency, urinary leakage, and difficulty emptying the bladder completely.
- Bowel Problems: It can also affect bowel function and result in difficulties with proper bowel emptying or fecal leakage.
There are several measures you can take to reduce the risk of pelvic organ prolapse and improve your pelvic floor function:
- Pelvic Floor Exercises: Regular pelvic floor exercises can strengthen the muscles in the pelvic floor and improve symptoms. You can consult with a physical therapist, gynecologist, or midwife to learn the correct technique.
- Avoid Heavy Lifting: Refrain from lifting heavy objects unless necessary. If you must lift something heavy, remember to engage your pelvic floor muscles for added support to the pelvic organs.
- Regular Toilet Habits: Attend to the urge to go to the toilet as soon as you feel it, especially when it comes to emptying the bowels. Delaying can increase pressure on the pelvic floor.
- High-Fiber Diet and Hydration: Consume a diet rich in fiber and ensure adequate water intake. This can help prevent constipation, which may increase the risk of pelvic organ prolapse.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you experience symptoms suggestive of pelvic organ prolapse, such as vaginal bulging, urinary or bowel problems that do not improve with self-care, it is important to contact a healthcare provider or visit a gynecological clinic. Effective treatment options are available to help alleviate symptoms and improve your quality of life if you are affected by pelvic organ prolapse.
Verified by Ingela Ågren
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