The pelvic organs (the vagina, bladder, rectum and uterus) are held in place by connective tissue and ligaments within the pelvis. The physical stress of pregnancy and childbirth and weakening of tissue due to factors such as menopause and chronic constipation can lead to the walls of the vagina falling down. When this occurs, the pelvic organs behind the vagina (the bladder, rectum and uterus) fall down as well.
Changes in pelvic support are often mild and go unnoticed, and in these situations treatment is typically not required. However, more severe weakening of the pelvic floor could lead to diminished quality of life or chronic discomfort. Signs of pelvic prolapse may include:
- Pressure sensation in the vagina or rectum
- Visible bulge into or outside of the vagina
- Difficulty starting or completing urination or bowel movements
- Vaginal irritation
- Feeling “too loose,” unable to retain a tampon or enjoy intercourse
Diagnosis and Treatment
Your NorthShore specialist will ask about your medical history and conduct a focused pelvic exam. We encourage patients to try nonsurgical approaches, such as pelvic floor physical therapy or a pessary (a device worn in the vagina for support), whenever possible to relieve symptoms.
At least 11 percent of women will undergo major surgery for weakening of pelvic support around the uterus, bladder and pelvic area. We offer the latest surgical treatments for prolapse, each selected to meet your unique needs. Prolapse can be fixed with vaginal, laparoscopic or minimally invasive abdominal surgery. In each case, our goal is to provide the least invasive option to successfully relieve symptoms and provide a durable repair.
For More Information
To schedule an appointment with one of our specialists, please call 224.251.CFPH (2374).