Vaginal Prolapse – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Vaginal Prolapse

Vaginal prolapse develops when the muscles that hold the organs in a woman’s pelvis weaken. This phenomenon allows for the urethra, uterus, rectum it bladder to droop into the vagina.

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Depending on the weakness of the pelvic floor muscles, it is possible for these organs to stick out if the vagina. There are different types of vagina prolapse, and they include;

  • Anterior vaginal prolapse (cystocele or urethrocele): This happens when the bladder drops into the vagina.
  • Posterior vaginal prolapse (rectocele): This occurs when the wall demarcating the vagina from the rectum becomes weakened, allowing for a bulge in the vagina.
  • Uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus droops down directly into the vagina.
  • Apical prolapse (vaginal vault prolapse): This happens when the upper part of the vagina or the cervix droops into the vagina.

What are the Symptoms of Vaginal Prolapse?

Most times, women don’t experience any symptoms from vaginal prolapse. However, if there are any signs, then it would depend on the organ that gets prolapsed.

Symptoms may include:

  • Painful sex.
  • Feeling of fullness in the vagina area.
  • Consistent bladder infection.
  • The feeling like you’re seated on a ball.
  • A lump right at the opening of the vagina.
  • The need to pee more often than usual.
  • Unusual bleeding from the vagina.
  • A sensation of pressure or feeling of heaviness in the pelvis.
  • Drops of urine when you sneeze, cough, laugh, exercise, or have sex.
  • Complications with emptying your bladder or complete bowel movement.
  • Achy pain at your lower back that is relieved when you are lying down.

Causes

A hammock of muscles, known as the pelvic floor muscles, supports the pelvic organs. These muscles can become weakened due to childbirth, especially when there were complications with delivery.

These muscles could also be weakened by aging and reduction in estrogen levels during menopause, leading to the pelvic organs drooping down into the vagina.

More causes of vaginal prolapse include:

  • Lifting of heavy objects
  • Severe constipation
  • Pressure from too much weight
  • Coughing regularly from severe lung disease

Women who are at the risk of having vaginal prolapse

A woman may experience vaginal prolapse if she;

  • Smokes
  • Becomes overweight
  • Has fibroids
  • Lifts heavy objects often
  • Has a member of the family, such as sister or mother that has vaginal prolapse
  • Has experienced menopause
  • Had complicated deliveries through the vagina
  • Coughs too much from lung disease
  • Experiences chronic constipation and has difficulty using the toilet

Diagnosing vaginal prolapse diagnosed?

Vaginal prolapse can be diagnosed via a pelvic exam. Your doctor might request that you bear down during the examination as if you’re trying to pass out a bowel movement.

You might also be asked to tighten and release that you’d use to start and stop the flow of urine. This rat is to determine the strength of the muscles that hold the uterus, vagina, and other pelvic organs.

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In situations where there are complications in urinating, doctors may need to check for bladder function. This is referred to as urodynamic testing.

  • Uroflowmetry keeps track of the strength and amount of your urine stream.
  • Cystometrogram measures how full your bladder needs to get before the need for a bathroom break.

Your medical doctor might have to do one or more imaging tests to determine the complications in your pelvic organs, and the tests may include any of the following;

  • Pelvic ultrasound: This procedure uses sound waves to analyze your bladder and other organs.
  • Pelvic floor MRI: This test makes use of strong magnets and radio waves to get pictures of your pelvic organs.
  • CT scan: This test uses an X-ray to form detailed pictures of your pelvic organs.

Available treatments

The first option that your doctor would recommend is the most conservative treatment option.

Conservative treatment

Pelvic floor exercises, commonly known as Kegels, helps to strengthen the muscles that hold your bladder, vagina, and other pelvic organs.

Steps

  • Try squeezing the muscles you’d use to release and hold in urine.
  • Secure the contraction for some seconds before letting go.
  • Perform 8 – 10 of these exercises three times a day.

Losing some weight may also help. This can aid in taking some pressure off your bladder and other pelvic organs. You can consult with your doctor to know how much weight you need to lose.

Pessary

The pessary is a device that is made from rubber or plastic. It is manually inserted into your vagina, and it helps to hold the bulging tissues in their proper place. It is easy to use, and it also helps to avoid the need for surgery.

Surgery

If there are no improvements after trying other methods, then you may need to consider the option of surgery to help put back your pelvic organs in place.

A piece of tissue gotten from either you, a donor, or a man-made material would be used to support the pelvic floor muscles that are weakened. Doctors can operate the vagina, or they could make small incisions in your abdomen (laparoscopically).

Possible complications from vaginal prolapse

The complications from vaginal prolapse depend on the organs affected, but they can include:

  • Complications having sex
  • Increased risk for urinary tract infections
  • Trouble with bowel movements or urination
  • Sore vagina if the cervix or uterus bulges through

Conclusion

If you notice any symptoms of vaginal prolapse, which may also include a bulge in your vagina or a feeling of fullness in your lower belly, then you must see your gynecologist for an exam.

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Although not a dangerous condition, it may, however, have a negative effect on the quality of your life.

Vaginal prolapse can be treated easily. Milder cases of this condition can improve using a noninvasive treatment like weight loss and Kegel exercises.

Doctors may have to perform surgery for more severe cases. Nevertheless, it’s possible for vaginal prolapse to resurface even after surgery.

Have you ever had any experiences with vaginal prolapse? What treatment methods did you use? Are there other methods not mentioned that you know about that could help with vaginal prolapse? Kindly share it with us in the comments below.

Oluwafemi Michael
Oluwafemi Michael is an online Mental Health Therapist, Advocate for Mental Health Awareness, a programmer, and also a content creator from Edo state, Akoko-Edo LG.