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Pelvic Organ Prolapse

  • Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) occurs when the muscles and ligaments supporting the pelvic organs weaken. This can cause the pelvic organs to slip out of place.
  • Other names for pelvic organ prolapse include a cystocele, rectocele, bladder prolapse, uterine prolapse and vaginal prolapse.
  • While many factors contribute to pelvic prolapse, the process often begins with a woman vaginally delivering a baby. Other factors that contribute to pelvic prolapse are smoking, chronic bronchitis, obesity, diabetes, and a family history of prolapse.
  • Years after childbirth, loss of muscle tone and relaxation of muscles due to menopause and natural aging can cause prolapse to progress and cause symptoms including:
    • Urinary leakage, urgency and frequency
    • Difficulty having a bowel movement
    • Pain during intercourse
    • Heaviness, aching or a pulling sensation in the lower abdomen
  • In severe cases, the cervix or other internal organs may actually bulge through the opening of the vagina.
  • Treatment options range from pelvic floor strengthening exercises to a broad array of minimally invasive vaginal and laparoscopic approaches.