What is a prolapsed
The uterus, or womb, is a muscular structure that’s held in place by pelvic
muscles and ligaments. If these muscles or ligaments stretch or become weak, they’re
no longer able to support the uterus, causing prolapse. Uterine prolapse occurs
when the uterus sags or slips from its normal position and into the vagina, or birth
Uterine prolapse may be incomplete or complete. An incomplete prolapse
occurs when the uterus is only partly sagging into the vagina. A complete
prolapse describes a situation in which the uterus falls so far down that some
tissue rests outside of the vagina.
are the symptoms of uterine prolapse?
Women who have a minor uterine prolapse may not have any symptoms. Moderate
to severe prolapse may cause symptoms, such as:
- feeling like you’re sitting on a ball
- vaginal bleeding
- increased discharge
- problems with sexual intercourse
- seeing the uterus or cervix coming out of the vagina
- a pulling or heavy feeling in the pelvis
- recurrent bladder infections
If you develop these symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor and get
treatment right away. Without proper attention, the condition can impair your
bowel, bladder, and sexual function.
Risk factors for uterine
The risk of having a prolapsed uterus increases as a woman ages and her estrogen
levels decrease. Estrogen is the hormone that helps keep the pelvic muscles
strong. Damages to pelvic muscles and tissues during pregnancy and childbirth
may also lead to prolapse. Women who’ve had more than one vaginal birth and
postmenopausal women are at the highest risk.
Any activity that puts pressure on the pelvic muscles can increase your risk
of a uterine prolapse. Other factors that can increase your risk for the
- chronic coughing
- chronic constipation
is uterine prolapse diagnosed?
Your doctor can diagnose uterine prolapse by evaluating your symptoms and
performing a pelvic exam. During this exam, your doctor will insert a device called
a speculum that allows them to see inside of the vagina and examine the vaginal
canal and uterus. You may be lying down, or your doctor may ask you to stand
during this exam.
Your doctor may ask you to bear down as if you’re having a bowel movement to
determine the degree of prolapse.
is uterine prolapse treated?
Treatment isn’t always necessary for this condition. If prolapse is severe,
talk with your doctor about which treatment option is appropriate for you.
Nonsurgical treatments include:
- losing weight to take stress off of pelvic structures
- avoiding heavy lifting
- doing Kegel exercises, which are pelvic floor exercises
that help strengthen the vaginal muscles
- taking estrogen replacement therapy
- wearing a pessary, which is a device inserted into the
vagina that fits under the cervix and helps push up and stabilize the
uterus and cervix
Surgical treatments include uterine suspension or hysterectomy. During uterine suspension, your
surgeon places the uterus back into its original position by reattaching pelvic
ligaments or using surgical materials. During a hysterectomy, your surgeon
removes the uterus from the body through the abdomen or the vagina.
Surgery is often effective, but it’s not recommended for women who plan on
having children in the future. Pregnancy and childbirth can put an immense
strain on pelvic muscles, which can undo surgical repairs of the uterus.
can I prevent uterine prolapse?
Uterine prolapse may not be preventable in every situation. However, you can
do to things to reduce your risk, including:
- getting regular physical exercise
- maintaining a healthy weight
- practicing Kegel exercises
- using estrogen replacement therapy during