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Pelvic Organ Prolapse

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Having increased pressure or discomfort from pelvic prolapse impacts nearly half of women over age 50. This happens when there is weakness or damage to the normal support of the pelvic floor, causing pelvic organs - vagina, cervix, uterus, bladder, urethra, intestines or rectum - to drop. 

Typically, these women have had one or more children, are post-menopausal and have conditions that put pressure on the pelvic floor, such as obesity, chronic coughing, constipation or straining. The pelvic organs, which are held in place by the muscles and supporting fascia tissue of the pelvic floor, prolapse when the pelvic floor can no longer support them.

Prolapse can occur at the front wall of the vagina (also called the anterior compartment), back wall of the vagina (known as the posterior compartment), the uterus or top of the vagina (apical compartment). Some woman have prolapse in multiple compartments.

While some woman can avoid surgery, others opt for a minimally invasive surgical solution to improve their quality of life.

Common Symptoms of Pelvic Prolapse

  • Heavy, dragging feeling in the vagina or lower back
  • Feeling a lump or discomfort in or outside of the vagina
  • Slow or incomplete urination
  • Frequent urination or an urgent need to empty your bladder and sometimes incontinence
  • Repeated bladder infections
  • Vaginal bleeding or an unusual or excessive discharge
  • Constipation
  • Discomfort during intercourse

The gold standard minimally invasive treatment for pelvic organ prolapse is sacrocolpopexy. This is when the vagina (colpo) is fixed up (pexy) to a ligament of the tailbone (sacrum). Traditionally this is done with a large abdominal incision along the bikini line.

The prolapse is supported using synthetic mesh attached to the sacrum, moving the organs back into place and giving you relief from the discomfort.  Sacrocolpopexy offers a minimally invasive alternative to address pelvic organ prolapse.  Some gynecologists perform sacrocolpopexy using the da Vinci surgical robot.

Learn What to Expect from Sacrocolpopexy