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Here’s What Women Need to Know About Vaginal Prolapse | It Is More Common Than One Thinks

Here’s What Women Need to Know About Vaginal Prolapse | It Is More Common Than One Thinks

The best thing to do is to head to your OB-GYN to see if anything is wrong, and they can go ahead with the best posssible course of treatment.

Did you know that sometimes, your insides can sometimes bulge out through your vaginal opening? Yes, it happens when your pelvic muscles are weak. Sounds horrifying? Well according to Healthy Woman, it's not as uncommon as you think it is. In fact, more than one-third of women in the U.S. experience some type of vaginal prolapse— also known as Pelvic Organ Prolapse— at some point in their lives. 

This condition may cause pain, constipation, incontinence, and difficulty with sexual intercourse, but thankfully, it is something that can be treated, too. Per Healthline, there's a hammock of muscles, called the pelvic floor muscles, that supports your pelvic organs. When these muscles loosen, the organs begin to slide down, too. Childbirth can stretch and weaken these muscles, especially if you had a difficult delivery.



 

There are four different types of prolapse: 

1. Anterior vaginal prolapse (cystocele or urethrocele): This happens when the bladder falls down into the vagina.
2. Posterior vaginal prolapse (rectocele): When the wall separating the rectum from the vagina weakens, the rectum bulges into the vagina.
3. Uterine prolapse: The uterus drops down into the vagina.
4. Apical prolapse (vaginal vault prolapse): The cervix or upper part of the vagina falls down into the vagina.

What are the symptoms of POP?

The symptoms differ from person to person, but the most common symptoms are: a feeling of fullness in the vagina, a lump at the opening of the vagina, a sensation of heaviness or pressure in the pelvis, feeling like you’re “sitting on a ball”, pain in your lower back which seems to get better when you lie down. 

There can also be a need to urinate more often than usual, trouble having a complete bowel movement or emptying your bladder, frequent bladder infections, abnormal bleeding from the vagina, urine leaking out when you cough, sneeze, laugh, have sex, or exercise, and, pain during sex. 



 

What are the causes of vaginal prolapse?

The main reason is because of loose muscles, but that is caused to due multiple other factors. Aging and the loss of estrogen during menopause can also loosen the pelvic floor muscles. Also, one must keep in mind that constant coughing from chronic lung disease, pressure from excess weight, chronic constipation, and lifting heavy objects, could also be the culprit. 

Women who smoke a lot, or are overweight are also prone to this condition. It could also happen to you if someone in your family has had a vaginal prolapse before. 

How does one diagnose it?

This condition can easily be diagnosed via a pelvic exam. The doctor might ask you to bear down as if you’re trying to push out a bowel movement. They may then ask you to tighten and release the muscles you’d use to stop and start the flow of urine. This test lets them determine the strength of the muscles that support your vagina, uterus, and other pelvic organs.

Apart from this, your doctor might ask you to get a pelvic ultrasound, a pelvic floor MRI and a CT scan of your abdomen and pelvis, for a clearer picture.  

How can vaginal prolapse be treated?

Some simple exercises might be prescribed to you by the doctor, including Kegels—tightening and holding your muscles for a bit. In some cases, a doctor might recommend surgery. However, there is another option; a pessary. This device, which is made from plastic or rubber, goes inside your vagina and holds the bulging tissues in place. It’s easy to learn how to insert a pessary and might help avoid surgery.



 

If at any stage, you feel like something is not right, the best thing to do is to book an appointment with your OB-GYN immediately, as they can take a look and tell you what's wrong. Remember, prevention is better than cure!

References:

https://www.healthywomen.org/your-health/your-body/need-know-about-vaginal-prolapse/are-there-different-types-of-vaginal-prolapse

https://www.healthline.com/health/womens-health/vaginal-prolapse#causes

Cover Image Source ( Representative): Getty Images | vchal

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