Vaginal prolapse is a fairly common condition, with most women developing some sort of the condition during their lifetime, most often during menopause, childbirth or hysterectomy. The majority of women who develop this condition are over the age of 40 and do not seek medical help due to embarrassment, or they simply do not experience symptoms.
Vaginal prolapse is a condition in which structures such as the bladder, rectum, urethra, uterus, small bowel or the vagina may begin to fall out of their normal positions. If the patient does not seek medical treatment or surgery, these structures may eventually fall further into the vagina or into the vaginal opening if their supports weaken enough. Issues that arise from vaginal prolapse commonly affect sexual function and bodily functions, such as urination and defecation. Pelvic pressure and discomfort are also indicators of vaginal prolapse.
The most common symptom of all types of vaginal prolapse is the sensation that tissues or structures in the vagina feel out of place, including a protrusion or pressure in the area of the sensation. Other symptoms include:
- Pressure in the vagina or pelvis
- Painful intercourse
- A mass at the opening of the vagina
- A decrease in pain or pressure when lying down
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Difficulty emptying the bowel or bladder
- Urinary stress incontinence
- Pain that increases during long periods of standing
- Enlarged, wide, and gaping vaginal opening
Treatment of vaginal prolapse varies depending on the patient, the organs involved, the severity of symptoms, and what other medical conditions are present. Some patients find relief in adjusting their activities and lifestyle habits, such as performing Kegel exercises to tighten and strengthen pelvic muscles and avoiding activities that stress the pelvic muscles, such as heavy lifting.
More advanced treatment options you may want to discuss with Dr. Marx include:
- Cystocele – Repair of the bladder or urethra
- Hysterectomy – Removal of the uterus
- Vaginal Vault Suspension – Repair of the vaginal wall
- Vaginal Obliteration – Closure of the vagina
While vaginal prolapse is fairly common, it can be embarrassing and frustrating. We at the office of Dr. Marx can help alleviate pain and help you develop a plan to improve your quality of life.