What are the Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

In general terms, the pelvic region of a human body is the area between the abdomen and the thighs. The pelvic region primarily comprises the bowels and the organs of the reproductive and urinary systems. In both men and women, pelvic organs are held in place and supported by strong muscles which collectively form the pelvic floor. Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition that results from a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles in women, causing the pelvic organs, chiefly the uterus, the bladder and the small intestines, to droop or descend and press on or even through the vagina. Common causes of pelvic organ prolapse include pregnancy, vaginal childbirth, sustained and prolonged pressure on the abdomen, aging, heavy lifting, hysterectomy, obesity and prolonged chronic coughing. Some women are also genetically predisposed to pelvic organ prolapse.

Symptoms of a Pelvic Organ Prolapse

The symptoms are usually determined by the organ that is affected. The symptoms listed here do not all occur together, although they may manifest in a combination of two or three.

1. A feeling of heaviness, pressure or fullness in the pelvic area. The descending organs put pressure on the lower parts of the pelvis, causing the sensation of heaviness and fullness.

2. Seeing or feeling something coming through the vagina. With time, small parts of the descending organs or the surrounding tissue may be seen through the vagina. Even if not seen, a patient might feel a bulging at the vaginal opening.

3. Urinary incontinence. Pressure on the bladder may cause leaking of urine or a frequent urge to urinate.

4. Painful intercourse and trouble inserting tampons. The displaced organs occupy spaces and put pressure on channels that are usually open to facilitate intercourse and to allow the insertion of tampons, thus making these activities uncomfortable and even painful.

5. Trouble having a bowel movement or constipation. This is common in patients with a rectal prolapse.

6. Lower back ache. This is common with patients who have a prolapse of the bowel.

Most patients report that symptoms worsen late in the day and after standing for a long period of time or taking part in an intense physical activity.

Any of these symptoms should be reported to a urologist so tests can be conducted and treatment administered as early as possible. In addition to finding a competent urologist, a patient also should seek a treatment platform that she is comfortable with. One way to find such a platform is to study the online profiles of urology professionals, such as the one created by St Pete Urology, so as to make an informed choice. For more information, visit the St Pete Urology website.

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St Pete Urology is a team of medical professionals who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of urological diseases and conditions. We offer quality care with compassion. For an appointment, call us at (727) 478-1172