Some women with a pelvic organ prolapse don't have any symptoms and the condition is only discovered during an internal examination for another reason, such as a cervical screening. See your GP if you have any of the symptoms of a prolapse, or if you notice a lump in or around your vagina. Your doctor will need to carry out an internal pelvic examination.
Pelvic organ prolapse POP occurs when the tissue and muscles of the pelvic floor no longer support the pelvic organs resulting in the drop prolapse of the pelvic organs from their normal position. The pelvic organs include the vagina, cervix, uterus, bladder, urethra, and rectum. The bladder is the most commonly involved organ in pelvic organ prolapse.
This weakening allows the uterus, urethra, bladder, or rectum to droop down into the vagina. If the pelvic floor muscles weaken enough, these organs can even protrude out of the vagina. If you do have symptoms, your symptoms will depend on the organ that is prolapsed.
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The uterus is held in place by a group of muscles and ligaments. Several factors can contribute to the weakening of these muscles and ligaments, causing the uterus to sag. These factors include the loss of muscle tone as women age, injury due to childbirth especially women who have had many babies or large babiesobesity, chronic coughing, chronic constipation and all place added tension on the pelvic muscles.
A uterine prolapse is when the uterus descends toward or into the vagina. It happens when the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments become weak and are no longer able to support the uterus. Complications can sometimes result, including ulceration of exposed tissue and prolapse of other pelvic organs such as the bladder or the rectum.
Vaginal prolapse is a common condition where the bladder, uterus and or bowel protrudes into the vagina. This can cause symptoms such as a sensation of a vaginal lump, constipation, difficulty emptying the bowel or bladder or problems with sexual intercourse. Treatment is only recommended when the prolapse is symptomatic.
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In vaginal prolapse the vagina stretches or expands to protrude on other organs and structures. The situation seldom involves the vagina alone. Supports for the uterus often stretch allowing it to also fall prolapse when a woman strains during a bowel movement.
During a pelvic exam, your doctor inserts two gloved fingers inside your vagina. While simultaneously pressing down on your abdomen, he or she can evaluate your uterus, ovaries and other pelvic organs. You might fill out a questionnaire that helps your doctor assess how uterine prolapse affects your quality of life. This information helps guide treatment decisions.