Treatment of Prolapse
Southern Health Centre’s medical experts are extremely experienced with the diagnosis and treatment options for prolapse.
In uterine prolapse, your uterus moves from its normal position down into your vagina. The uterus may be only slightly out of position, or it may descend so far that it can be seen outside the vagina.
The uterus is the muscular organ at the top of the vagina. Babies develop in the uterus, and menstrual blood comes from the uterus.
Uterine prolapse occurs when your muscles and ligaments are weakened or stretched so that they no longer hold the uterus in place. This can be caused by:
- Normal aging
- Inherited weak ligaments and muscles
- Prolonged heavy lifting
The prolapse can be worsened by being overweight, coughing, straining to move your bowels and lifting heavy objects.
With mild prolapse, you may not have any symptoms, even though the opening to your uterus (cervix) may be sagging down into your vagina.
With moderate prolapse, you may have a heavy sensation in your lower abdomen, or you may feel as if you are sitting on a ball. You also may feel low back pain and lower abdominal discomfort. The pain and discomfort may get worse after you have been standing a long time. You may feel pain when you have sexual intercourse. All of your symptoms may be worse just before your menstrual period.
With severe prolapse, the uterus may be like a large lump in the vagina or may even be visible from the outside.
Some women with prolapse experience urine leakage when they lift, cough, or laugh. Others have difficulty urinating. Also, difficulty moving the bowels is common.
Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms, and do a pelvic exam.
One way to treat uterine prolapse is with a pessary. A pessary is a plastic or rubber device that is inserted into the vagina. There are different types of pessaries. They may be round or egg-shaped rings, they may be rectangular or they may be other shapes. Some are put into the vagina and then filled with air or water.
Another way to treat uterine prolapse is with a vaginal hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus through the vagina), along with tightening of the support ligaments. This is a permanent way to deal with the problem. However, you will no longer have periods or be able to have children after this surgery.
- If you are overweight, lost weight and try to maintain your ideal weight
- Eat high-fiber foods so that you will be able to move your bowels without straining
- Strengthen your pelvic muscles by alternately contracting and relaxing them as though trying to stop a flow of urine midstream (Kegel exercises)
- Avoid wearing tight girdles or other garments that put pressure on your abdomen
- Avoid frequent heavy lifting.
The only permanent way to fix uterine prolapse is through surgery. Wearing a pessary will only correct it temporarily.
Exercising the pelvic muscles (as in Kegel exercises) after childbirth may prevent some cases of uterine prolapse. Avoid frequent heavy lifting.