Women with lower tummies could have drooping organs inside of them. Both their genitals and lower tummies will feel heavier than usual. It will feel as if something inside their vaginas is dragging or weighing them down. These are all signs of a condition called pelvic organ prolapse.
When the pelvic floor muscles turn weak, the pelvic organs don’t have as much support anymore. This causes the pelvic organs to drop down inside the vagina and possibly even out of the vagina. The organs which make up the pelvis region include the urethra, rectum, bladder, vagina, and cervix. It only takes one pelvic organ to malfunction for painful and uncomfortable symptoms to arise.
Heaviness and pressure in the pelvic area are only some of the symptoms. Women may experience additional symptoms, including constipation, vaginal bleeding, urine leakage, constant urination urges, lower back pain, and painful sexual intercourse.
These symptoms can be a scary experience for women who don’t understand what is happening to them. They might attribute the symptoms to pregnancy, childbirth or menopause, and then assume everything is fine. Since these conditions produce hormonal changes in the body, they can cause pelvic organ prolapse too. There could be a prolapse of the bladder, rectum, uterus or small intestine. All of these organs make up the pelvic region of the body.
Pelvic organ prolapse is not a condition to take lightly. A woman may get lucky and not require any invasive surgical treatment. If the condition and its symptoms are minor, then simpler treatments like physical therapy may be appropriate. Kegel exercises target the pelvic floor muscles to make them firmer and tighter. A physical therapist will work with you on this to see if it helps. But if you experience chronic pain and bulging, it will require more advanced treatment than physical therapy.
The worst-case scenario is when multiple organs have prolapsed. Sometimes that can happen if one prolapsed pelvic organ doesn’t get treated soon enough, such as the uterus. When the uterus prolapses, it causes a downward bulge that comes right out of the vagina. This could affect your small intestine and cause it to prolapse as well. That is why you should never wait to seek treatment. Make an appointment with a urologist whenever you see any unusual bulging or experience pain in the pelvic region.
Urologists can present you with surgical options for repairing pelvic organ prolapse. None of these options involves surgical mesh because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned against its use. A safer surgical option utilizes native tissues and biologic allografts to repair the prolapse. It can get done through transvaginal surgery, robotic surgery, and laparoscopic surgery.
Lessons to Remember
Statistics reveal that at least 33% of all women will experience pelvic organ prolapse at some point in their lives. That makes it a relatively common condition. A routine pelvic exam at your local urologic facility can discover and diagnose pelvic organ prolapse. The tests used to confirm the diagnosis may include an ultrasound, MRI scan, CT scan, or urinary tract X-ray. The urologist will know which test to perform based on the nature of your symptoms.
If you want to prevent pelvic organ prolapse right now, do everything you can to maintain a healthy weight. Move around frequently and eat lighter foods to avoid constipation. Combine these lifestyle changes with Kegel exercises, and it should do a lot to reduce your pain and discomfort. Then continue to follow the advice of your urologist or primary care physician. Surgery will only be recommended if none of the other treatments can reduce your symptoms.