Genital prolapse occurs in women when the pelvic organs that include the uterus, bladder or rectum slip from their normal anatomical shape into the vaginal canal. These are usually supported by ligaments and muscles or tissues that are known as pelvic floor.
What are the causes?
The genital prolapse occurs due to the deterioration, weakening or damage of the tissues supporting the pelvic floor, implicitly of the organs that make up this area. There are several factors that contribute to this problem:
- pregnancy and vaginal birth (the most common causes of genital prolapse);
- menopause and aging (estrogen plays an essential role in maintaining the pelvic floor;
- at menopause its level begins to decrease and the supporting tissues weaken);
- abdominal pressure (factors such as obesity, chronic cough, lifting of very heavy objects, effort to remove the chair - all can contribute to weakening or breaking the supporting tissues);
- genetic inheritance (some women are born with this weakness in the pelvic floor muscles);
- pelvic surgery (women who have had prolapse of the genital organs are at risk of developing other types of prolapse, such as the uterus).
Types of prolapse
The genital prolapse involves the sliding of a set of organs that form the pelvic area in women. However, several types of prolapse may occur, which may involve the fall of one or more organs:
- uterine prolapse;
- cystocysts (the tissue that supports the wall between the bladder and the vagina is weakened, allowing a portion of the bladder to slip into the vagina);
- rectocele (the tissue between the rectum and vagina is weak and allows the rectum to slip and press the wall of the vagina);
- vaginal vault prolapse - where the vagina vault collapses, especially in women who have undergone hysterectomy.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms differ depending on the organs involved and the severity of the prolapse. Some women may not have any symptoms.
- a sensation of falling or the feeling that something is about to fall into the vaginal area (these are felt especially when sneezing, coughing, physical exertion etc.);
- pain or discomfort in the pelvic area;
- problems with urination (urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections, etc.);
- intestinal and fecal evacuation problems (constipation);
- back pain;
- sexual problems etc.
How is genital prolapse treated?
There are several types of treatments available for prolapse. These depend largely on the type of prolapse you are suffering from, severity, age, health or the desire to have children or not. They are divided into 3 categories - conservative, mechanical and surgical. Mechanical and conservative treatments are often given to those who suffer from moderate prolapse, for those who want to have children or do not want to have surgery.
Conservative therapeutic methods include changing the lifestyle and performing various exercises for toning the pelvic floor (Kegel) Vaginal scales are most commonly used in mechanical treatments. The surgical method is used when the prolapse is severe and it is necessary to reposition the organs. These include vaginal repair or repositioning, vaginal vault or hysterectomy. The latter involves the removal of the uterus for the treatment of uterine prolapse.
Can genital prolapse be prevented?
You cannot do much to prevent genital prolapse, because most causes are independent of the actions you could take to promote this condition.
However, doctors say that if you have a healthy lifestyle and are aware of a few things in your life, you can avoid this problem. You can do regular Kegel exercises to tone your pelvic area especially during pregnancy, after birth and when you reach menopause.
Also, maintaining a weight within normal limits and avoiding constipation helps to combat this problem, especially if you have other risk factors that may predispose you to prolapse.
Tags Natural birth Vaginal birth Obesity Urinary incontinence women Streptococcal infection Constipation