What is Prolapse?
Prolapse occurs when pelvic organs drop down into the vagina. This may sound scary, but it’s a very common condition – up to 50% of women who deliver vaginally will have some form of prolapse.
What Causes Prolapse?
Pregnancy and birth are the leading causes of prolapse. Both carrying a baby and delivering it vaginally put extensive pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, which can cause them to weaken or become damaged. Other contributors to prolapse can include:
Long labour/big baby – pregnancy and birth stress the pelvic floor muscles on their own, but labouring more than 12 hours or giving birth to a baby over 8 ½ pounds can increase your chances.
Family history – if your mother, grandmother, aunt, or sister has suffered from pelvic organ prolapse, you may have a higher chance of also developing it.
Frequent constipation/straining – extra effort on the toilet (especially on a regular basis) can stress your pelvic muscles.
Chronic cough – much like straining on the toilet, a chronic cough (such as asthma or a smoker’s cough) can put extra stress on the pelvic floor muscles.
Obesity – extra weight puts extra pressure on your pelvic floor muscles, gradually weakening them over time.
Regular heavy lifting - Regularly lifting heavy weights (including shopping bags, children, or gym equipment) can also contribute to pelvic organ prolapse.
How do you know if you have it?
Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse include:
- Issues with urinating such as difficulty fully emptying the bladder or bowel, urinary incontinence, a slow flow or difficulty getting started
- General discomfort, such as pressure, heaviness, or a lump inside the vagina
- Pain or loss of sensation during sex
Prolapse is mainly diagnosed by checking your symptoms and undertaking an examination. Your doctor may commission tests to further clarify the diagnosis. These might include bladder function or pelvic floor strength tests, ultrasound, or an MRI.
Based on the results of these tests, your doctor may prescribe a course of treatment or refer you to a specialist. You can ask to be referred to Dr Homar at Toowoomba Obstetrics and Gynaecology for further treatment by mentioning us to your doctor.
How is prolapse treated?
Toowoomba Obstetrics and Gynaecology offers a wide range of treatment options and expertise for women who suffer from pelvic organ prolapse. Depending on your individual situation, Dr Homar may recommend one or more of the following treatment methods:
- Lifestyle modification – losing weight, quitting smoking, or changing your diet can help prevent or manage pelvic organ prolapse.
- Exercises – your gynaecologist can recommend exercises to help improve the strength of your pelvic floor muscles.
- Pessary – this is a small, ring-like device that is inserted into the vagina to help support your pelvic organs. It can be fitted during your visit to our clinic.
- Surgery – Dr Lanziz Homar can perform surgery to repair your pelvic floor and return your organs to their original position. This involves using tissue from your own body - Dr Homar does not use synthetic mesh for prolapse treatment.