Pelvic Organ Prolapse occurs when the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, vagina and rectum) fall downward and bulge out through the opening of the vagina. The American Urogynecologic Society states that nearly half of all women between the ages 50 to 79 have some form of prolapse. The physicians of the Pelvic Floor Disorders Clinic, at the University of Michigan Health System, provide comprehensive surgical and non-surgical services for women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse.
With pelvic organ prolapse, ligaments and connective tissue in the pelvic area become weak or damaged and can no longer support the pelvic organs. The womb (uterus) is the only organ that actually falls into the vagina. When the bladder and bowel slip out of place, they push up against the walls of the vagina. While prolapse is not considered a life threatening condition, it may cause a great deal of discomfort and distress.
We treat all types of prolapse:
- Cystocele - when the bladder falls down into the vagina
- Uterine prolapse - when the womb drops down into the vagina
- Vaginal vault prolapse - when the vagina itself falls down
- Enterocele - when the small bowel pushes against the vagina causing a bulge
- Rectocele - when the rectum falls
Many different factors may increase your risk of developing pelvic organ prolapse such as: number of vaginal deliveries, family history of prolapse, menopause, heavy lifting, obesity, chronic coughing from smoking, asthma or chronic bronchitis, neurologic diseases or ethnicity/race.
A pelvic exam is necessary to diagnose pelvic organ prolapse. If you do have prolapse, the urogynecologist will determine which organs are involved and how severe the prolapse is. Other tests might be ordered, based on your individual examination.
Treatment options depend on the severity and discomfort of the prolapse. Three main choices exist for the treatment of prolapse: Do nothing if your prolapse is not bothersome; wear a pessary, a small plastic or silicone device placed inside the vagina to hold the organs inside your body; have surgery.
Three different types of surgeries are available. Vaginal surgery has a faster recovery time and causes less pain than an abdominal surgery. Abdominal surgery is performed through a larger abdominal incision, has a longer recovery time and generally causes more discomfort than vaginal surgeries, but may be your only option due to anatomy or other existing conditions. Robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery, performed through small incisions with the use of a video camera, allows for faster healing and shorter hospital stays.
Schedule an appointment by calling us at 734-763-6295