Your pelvic region contains a variety of organs, including your bladder, cervix, rectum, urethra, uterus, and vagina. These organs are supported by tissue and muscles that form a structure known as your pelvic floor.
When your pelvic floor cannot adequately support your pelvic organs, you may experience a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse. If you have pelvic organ prolapse, one or more of your pelvic organs may drop down from their normal location.
Although any woman can experience pelvic organ prolapse, it’s more likely to occur in women with certain risk factors. Susan Crockett, MD, and our all-female team of highly trained care providers at Virtuosa GYN share risk factors that can raise your chances of developing pelvic organ prolapse.
Vaginal childbirth — especially a long, difficult labor — can tear, stretch, or stress the tissue and muscle in your pelvic region. And, not surprisingly, the more children you deliver vaginally, the greater your risk of pelvic floor damage.
Straining to push out bowel movements on a regular basis can weaken the muscles in your pelvic area. Similarly, routinely lifting heavy loads can also strain the pelvic floor, especially if you use poor lifting techniques
You are somewhat more likely to develop pelvic organ prolapse if close female relatives have had it.
Age and the hormonal action of menopause can cause pelvic muscles to weaken. Typically, pelvic organ prolapse affects post-menopausal women, especially those who have other risk factors as well.
Carrying around excess pounds can strain many of your muscles, and your pelvic muscles are no exception.
Having a chronic cough caused by smoking, asthma, or other medical conditions can strain your pelvic muscles and weaken your pelvic floor.
Having any type of pelvic surgery, including hysterectomy, may lead to muscle weakening that can allow the pelvic organs to drop.
There are more than 200 conditions that affect the ability of your connective tissues to work properly. These include scleroderma and lupus.
Pelvic organ prolapse can cause one or more of a range of symptoms. These include:
If you have these or any other symptoms, we invite you to make an appointment for an evaluation. Pelvic organ prolapse can be successfully treated in several ways, including pelvic floor exercises (Kegels).
We can also insert a device known as a pessary into the vagina to help support pelvic organs. Several types of surgical repair are also a possibility.
At Virtuosa GYN, we’re experts at diagnosing and treating pelvic organ prolapse and a full range of other gynecological conditions. To make an appointment, contact us today at our San Antonio, Texas, office.