Education & Diagnosis
Many women suffer from pelvic organ prolapse, which consists of a damaged or weakened pelvic floor, resulting in the inability to support the weight of some or all of the pelvic organs. The pelvic floor consists of the connective tissue, muscles, ligaments and nerves that support and control the rectum, uterus, vagina, and bladder. Women who have had multiple pregnancies or given birth vaginally are at higher risk of experiencing pelvic prolapse. However, prolapse can also occur in women who have never given birth. Heavy lifting, traumatic injury, chronic disease, obesity, menopause and previous pelvic surgery can also be associated with pelvic prolapse.
Symptoms of prolapse include:
- Frequent and/or sudden urges to urinate
- Incontinence or urinary leakage
- Not feeling empty following urination
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Discomfort or pain in the vagina, pelvis, lower abdomen, groin or lower back
- Painful intercourse
- Bulging in the vaginal area
Testing & Treatment
There are several types of pelvic prolapse. Treatment will be considered once the diagnosis is confirmed. A pelvic exam can usually diagnose pelvic organ prolapse. Other exams may help your doctor assess symptoms associated with prolapse.
- Vaginal prolapse - occurs when the upper portion of the vagina loses its normal shape and sags or drops down into the vaginal canal or outside of the vagina.
- A cystocele “bulging bladder” - occurs when the wall between a woman’s bladder and her vagina weakens and allows the bladder to droop into the vagina. A cystocele is one of the most common pelvic prolapse conditions.
- An enterocele - occurs when the small intestine drops into the lower pelvic cavity and protrudes into the vagina, creating a bulge.
Your treatment will depend on the type of pelvic organ prolapse you have. Your doctor may recommend first treating your prolapse non-surgically.
- Kegel Exercises or pelvic floor therapy may resolve the mild prolapse cases.
- Robotic Colposacropexy is a surgical procedure performed through 4 small keyhole (0.5-1 cm) incisions across the mid abdomen. Through these incisions, fine instruments are inserted to dissect and suture. The vagina and pelvic organs are then re-suspended internally with a combination of sutures and a supportive mesh.