When one or more of the organs in the pelvis area slips down from its regular position and bulges into the vagina, it is known as pelvic organ prolapse. This typically affects the uterus, but it may also occur with the bladder or bowels. Although it is not a life-threatening condition, it can lead to pain and discomfort.
Pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, aging, being overweight, chronic coughing or constipation, and heavy lifting can all weaken the pelvic floor and raise your chances of developing pelvic organ prolapse.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with pelvic organ prolapse or you suspect you may have it, you may be wondering how it can be addressed. Here is a look at the treatment options that are available for pelvic organ prolapse.
Treatments For Pelvic Organ Prolapse
There are many treatment options available for pelvic organ prolapse. The right choice will depend on the type of prolapse you are experiencing, the severity of your symptoms, and your age and health. Your doctor will also take into account whether you intend to have children in the future when determining the right course of treatment. In some cases, you may not need any treatment if you are not experiencing pain or discomfort and your prolapse is only mild.
Women who are experiencing mild prolapse may be able to get relief and prevent their prolapse from worsening by making some simple lifestyle changes. These approaches are also useful as preventive measures if you are concerned about developing prolapse in the future.
Improving Your Diet
Consuming a diet that is high in fiber and drinking plenty of fluids can help to avoid constipation, which is one common cause or contributing factor to pelvic organ prolapse. Women who experience regular constipation or strain frequently during bowel movements should increase their intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans to ensure adequate fiber intake.
Avoid Lifting Heavy Objects
Another important way to prevent pelvic organ prolapse is by avoiding lifting heavy objects. If you use weight training as part of your exercise routine, make sure you are using appropriate weights for your body and that you are following proper lifting form. If you must lift something heavy, such as for work or while moving, do so with your legs and not your waist or back.
Being overweight or obese raises your chances of experiencing uterine prolapse. Therefore, if you are not currently at a healthy weight, take steps to shed some pounds. Improving your diet and exercising regularly are great ways to work toward your ideal weight.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor exercises such as Kegels can be used to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and provide relief. Your doctor may suggest that you undergo a program of supervised pelvic floor muscle training, or you may be able to carry out these exercises on your own.
Women who have already gone through menopause and are experiencing mild prolapse may be able to ease some of their symptoms with estrogen. It is particularly useful for addressing discomfort during sex or vaginal dryness related to prolapse. It can be used as a cream, suppository, or estrogen-releasing vaginal ring.
A pessary is a device made out of silicone or latex that can be inserted into the vagina in order to support the vaginal walls and pelvic organs. A pessary can ease the symptoms of a moderate or severe prolapse and are often used by women who do not wish to undergo surgery. They are also the right choice for those who intend to get pregnant in the future.
A gynecologist will fit your pessary. They come in different sizes and types, and it may take some trial and error to find the right one for you. Pessaries need to be removed, cleaned, and replaced on a regular basis.
For severe prolapse or cases where nonsurgical options are not providing relief, surgery may be necessary to correct pelvic organ prolapse. There are surgical repair procedures that can lift and support the pelvic organs, such as stitching them into place or strengthening existing tissues. Some women may have an operation that closes part or all of the vagina, although this treatment is only appropriate for those with advanced and severe prolapse that has not been helped by other treatments and who are certain they do not wish to have sex again in the future.
Talk To The Women’s Health Care Team
If you would like to find out more about treatment options for pelvic organ prolapse, get in touch with the women’s health care team at Raleigh Gynecology & Wellness. We can guide you toward the most effective lifestyle changes for you and explore additional treatments depending on the severity of your prolapse.