Pelvic organ prolapse results from weakening of the pelvic floor.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse results from a weakening of or injury to the pelvic floor, the group of muscles and tissue that form a sling across the pelvis. In women, the pelvic floor supports the uterus, bladder, bowel, and other pelvic organs. If this floor is damaged, the uterus (also known as the womb) can prolapse (drop) into the vaginal area.

Pregnancy and childbirth are the main cause of Pelvic Organ Prolapse. Other causes include being overweight, radiation treatment, surgery, and advancing age.

Symptoms

Common symptoms include:

  • Feeling heaviness, fullness, pulling or aching in the vagina. This feeling may worsen toward day’s end or during a bowel movement.
  • Seeing or feeling a "bulge" coming out from the vagina
  • Difficulty starting to urinate or emptying the bladder completely
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Leaking urine when coughing, laughing or exercising
  • Urgent or frequent need to urinate
  • Feeling pain while urinating
  • Constipation, leaking stool or difficulty controlling gas

Diagnosis

Pelvic Organ Prolapse is typically diagnosed with a physical exam, including a pelvic exam.

Treatment

Treatments include:

  • Kegel exercises that strengthen the muscles in the pelvic area
  • Medications
  • A mechanical support device, called a pessary, that holds the uterus in place
  • Surgery

Learn more from an Ohio State expert.

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