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Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) occurs when there is a weakening or tear in the pelvic floor muscles or connective tissues. This causes pelvic organs to fall downward into the vagina. This is similar to a hernia in the vaginal space.
POP is a common problem.
One in three women who have given birth have POP.
Many women with POP may not experience symptoms. On the other hand, other women may:
Pelvic floor damage may come from a number of things. Some of these causes include:
Several pelvic organs – whether it is the bladder, uterus, bowel, or rectum – may be involved in prolapse. To evaluate whether POP is present, a specialist provider reviews the medical history and completes a physical exam in order to evaluate the degree of pelvic support.
The ideal treatment for POP depends on how severe as well as how bothersome the symptoms are.
There are conservative treatments, such as lifestyle changes, pelvic floor muscle exercises, or the use of a vaginal pessary. There are also surgical options to lift up the pelvic organs and correct the pelvic anatomy.
Pelvic floor muscle exercises (PFME), commonly known as “Kegel” exercises, can help strengthen the pelvic floor and improve symptoms. These are most helpful in mild to moderate POP symptoms.
PMFE need to be done regularly, and it may take 3 to 6 months to fully see results. For the best effect, work with a specialized physical therapist.
A ‘pessary’ is a silicone device that is inserted to the vagina. it is designed to lift up the bladder or vaginal walls and prevent the bulge from coming out. This can relieve the vaginal pressure some women have. Some women wear a pessary only when they do strenuous activities, while others leave it in all the time.
Surgical options are based on the compartment that is involved and which pelvic organs have prolapsed. Surgery may involve the use of stitches to restore the support or it may be with the use of a mesh material or graft. The degree of prolapse and the individual’s lifestyle are important factors in selecting the most appropriate surgery.
There are some modifications to one’s lifestyle that can reduce POP Symptoms. Some of these include:
If you suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, there are options for you! A urogynecologist will be able to discuss each of these options with you and help tailor the best treatment for your condition.
Dr. Andrea Crane is a board certified OB/GYN and urogynecologist at WakeMed with interests in comprehensive pelvic reconstruction, da Vinci® robot-assisted sacrocolpopexy, and sacral neuromodulation. Her training includes evaluation and treatment of childbirth trauma, advanced pelvic organ prolapse, urinary and fecal incontinence, vesicovaginal and rectovaginal fistulae, and mesh complications. Learn more about urogynecology in Raleigh, NC, and schedule an appointment today.
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610