Many women experience vaginal prolapse, which is a condition that results from the weakening of the muscles that support a woman's pelvis. The weakened muscles allow the urethra, uterus, bladder, or the rectum to drop down into the vagina. In extreme cases of muscle weakening, the organs may protrude out of the vagina. A woman may suffer from anterior vaginal prolapse or posterior vaginal prolapse. An anterior vaginal prolapse occurs when the bladder drops into the vagina. Posterior vaginal prolapse, also known as rectocele, occurs due to the weakening of the wall that separates the rectum from the vagina. When the weakening occurs, the rectum may bulge into the vagina. If you or a loved one is suffering from vaginal prolapse in Los Angeles, you may seek comprehensive treatment from Gyn LA.
Other Forms of Vaginal Prolapse
Other than anterior and posterior vaginal prolapse, you may develop a uterine prolapse. This entails the dropping of the uterus into the vagina. Apical prolapse is also a common condition. The alternative name for apical prolapse is vaginal vault prolapse. The condition occurs when the upper part of the vagina or the cervix collapses into the vagina. The leading cause of the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles is childbirth.
Enterocele is also a form of vaginal prolapse. This prolapse occurs when your small intestines drop down, and they bulge into the upper part of the back wall of the vagina. The bulge may also occur at the top of the vagina. This may occur when the small intestines sit on top and sink into the vagina.
Most women develop vaginal prolapse after childbirth, mainly after experiencing a difficult delivery. As a woman ages, loss of estrogen occurs mainly during menopause. This may lead to further weakening of pelvic muscles making the pelvic organs to drop into the vagina. Vaginal prolapse may also occur due to the pressure resulting from excessive weight.
If a person is suffering from lung disease leading to constant coughing, she is highly likely to develop vaginal prolapse. Lifting heavy objects may strain the pelvic muscles leading to vaginal prolapse. The condition may also occur due to chronic constipation.
Signs and Symptoms of Vaginal Prolapse
Many women suffering from vaginal prolapse do not experience any signs or symptoms. If symptoms are present, they depend on the organ that is prolapsed. For instance, the symptoms of anterior prolapse may be different from the symptoms of posterior prolapse.
Some of the common symptoms of vaginal prolapse include experiencing a feeling of fullness in the vagina. You may notice a protruding lump at the vaginal opening. Patients also experience pressure or heaviness in the pelvis. You may always feel like you are sitting on a ball.
Sometimes, you may experience pain in your lower back. Every time you lie down, you will experience that this pain gets better.
Women suffering from vaginal prolapse also experience a constant need to urinate. However, upon trying to pee, most of them experience trouble in draining the bladder or having a complete bowel movement. Patients suffering from vaginal prolapse also suffer from frequent infections of the bladder.
You may also experience abnormal bleeding from the vagina, urine leaks whenever she coughs, laughs, sneezes, has sex, or exercises. A patient may also experience pain during sexual intercourse.
Certain factors may increase the risk of getting a vaginal prolapse. Some of the leading risk factors include:
Some women have weak connective tissues in the pelvic area. This makes them naturally more prone to developing vaginal prolapse.
Women who have delivered multiple children through vaginal birth have a higher risk of developing vaginal prolapse. Women who have delivered children through a C-section have a lower likelihood of developing the condition. However, even for C-section births, the condition may still occur. During childbirth, many women get perineal tears. These are tears in the tissue lying between the vaginal opening and the anus.
After childbirth, episiotomies are common. Episiotomies are incisions, which extend the opening of the vagina during childbirth. This makes a woman prone to vaginal prolapse after childbirth.
You are likely to develop vaginal prolapse with age. As a woman ages, she naturally loses muscle mass, elasticity, and nerve function. This makes the pelvic muscles weaken and stretch, increasing the risk of vaginal prolapse.
Obese women have a higher risk of vaginal prolapse. Excessive body weight puts immense pressure on the pelvic floor tissues. You may also be at a higher risk if you have gone through menopause and if you smoke. If you have fibroids, you have a high risk of developing vaginal prolapse.
Diagnosis of Vaginal Prolapse
A gynecologist may use several tests to diagnose vaginal prolapse. The gynecologist may diagnose vaginal prolapse by conducting a pelvic exam. While conducting a pelvic exam, your gynecologist may request you to bear down and act as if you are pushing out a bowel movement.
The gynecologist may also request you to release and tighten your muscles. You should release and tighten the muscles the same way you do when starting or stopping the flow of urine. Through this test, a doctor can determine the strength of your muscles, including the muscles that support the vagina and other pelvic organs.
Urodynamic testing may also come in handy in diagnosing vaginal prolapse. Your gynecologist may recommend this test if you have problems urinating. The urodynamic test helps to check the functioning of your bladder.
A gynecologist may conduct a uroflowmetry measure to determine the amount and the strength of your urine stream. It is also crucial for the gynecologist to conduct a cystometrogram to assess how full your bladder should get before you have to visit the bathroom.
Specific imaging tests may help to reveal a vaginal prolapse. The tests include pelvic ultrasound, pelvic floor MRI, and a CT scan of the abdomen and the pelvis.
If you are suffering from vaginal prolapse, your doctor may first recommend conservative treatment methods. However, if conventional treatment methods fail, the doctor may recommend advanced treatment methods like surgery. Some of the surgical treatment methods for vaginal prolapse include:
Colpopexy refers to a surgical procedure used to correct vaginal prolapse in women. Colpopexy is one of the most effective and safest treatment options available. The process has a high success rate. There are several surgical treatment procedures for vaginal prolapse. However, the most preferred method is Colpopexy. The process provides a minimally invasive correction option for vaginal prolapse. The procedure offers the same benefits or even better benefits than the more invasive treatment procedures like vaginal repair.
Most women point out that after undergoing Colpopexy, they can overcome uncomfortable symptoms of vaginal prolapse. Both their social and sexual functionality improve significantly. The vagina is close to the bladder and the intestines. Therefore, the prolapse may affect the functionality of these organs. After undergoing colpopexy, many women attest that they experience less leakage and gain better control of their bowel. Although many people report an improvement in the bladder and bowel symptoms after an operation, some symptoms may persist even after the treatment.
Recovering after Colpopexy
After undergoing colpopexy, you will require around six weeks to recover fully from the procedure. It is advisable to take some time off from strenuous activities until you recover fully. During the recovery period, you should ensure that you do not lift heavy objects. For instance, you should ensure that you do not lift objects that exceed 10 pounds.
If you work in an involving or a stressful environment, it is advisable to take some time off work until you recover from the operation. The doctor may also advise you to take a laxative during the recovery period. A laxative will help to keep your bowel movements clear, and you will not experience constipation. Acute constipation is one of the causes of vaginal prolapse. Therefore, experiencing constipation during the recovery period may slow the recovery process. By taking a laxative, you can prevent constipation. You may have to take a laxative for six weeks until you fully recover from the operation.
During the recovery period, it is advisable to continue observing good hygiene. For instance, you should ensure that you take baths and showers without fail. You should also clean the area around the vagina gently by directing the water into it. This will ensure that you clean out any discharge and blood that may be present.
Avoid getting soap or shower gel inside your vagina. Even if you may use soap on other parts of your body, ensure that it does not get into the vagina. It is not advisable to take long baths. If you prefer taking a bath instead of a shower, ensure that you only bathe in shallow water. You should also avoid remaining in the bathtub for more than ten minutes.
Other than the normal bath and shower, you should wash the area around the vagina frequently. For the first two weeks after you get out of the hospital, you may wash the vaginal area twice a day. If you happen to be on your periods during the recovery period, ensure that you use pads instead of using tampons. Using tampons may interfere with the healing process.
For you to avoid interrupting the healing process, it is advisable to abstain from sexual activities until the six weeks of recovery are over.
Non-Surgical Treatment Methods
Before recommending colpopexy or another surgical procedure, your doctor may first recommend non-surgical treatment procedures. Some of the common and effective non-surgical treatment procedures for vaginal prolapse include:
This is one of the most popular treatment methods recommended to women suffering from vaginal prolapse. A Pessary refers to a device that resembles a ring. The doctor inserts the device into the vagina. The device provides support and holds up your pelvic organs. The process of fitting a Pessary is the same as the process of inserting a diaphragm.
This procedure entails teaching the patient to contract her pelvic muscles. Contracting the pelvic muscles with the proper breathing techniques and abdominal control may bring healing. The procedure may help to strengthen the weak pelvic muscles.
You may strengthen your pelvic muscles using kegel exercises. The exercises are easy to perform. All you have to do is to imagine that you need to pee. However, instead of letting the urine out, you should squeeze to hold the urine inside. You may do this procedure for five minutes, relax, and then repeat the procedure. It is advisable to do ten sets of this procedure at least fifteen times a day. If you get used to doing kegel exercises regularly, the vaginal prolapse may get better. In some cases, kegel exercises may help the condition to disappear forever.
Prevention of Vaginal Prolapse
You should not wait until you get vaginal prolapse for you to take the necessary precautions. It is essential to understand vaginal prolapse and the leading causes of the condition. By understanding vaginal prolapse, you can lead a healthy lifestyle and take some preventive measures to avoid developing the condition.
Make it a routine to exercise and to perform kegel exercises regularly. It is particularly essential to perform kegel exercises after childbirth. This will ensure that you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.
You should also identify and treat chronic constipation at an early stage. You should eat high-fiber foods and drink lots of water.
You should also learn to lift heavy objects correctly and, if possible, avoid lifting heavy objects. While lifting a heavyweight, ensure that you use your legs instead of using your waist or your back.
Whenever you are coughing, ensure that you control your coughing. If you are suffering from chronic bronchitis, get treatment early, and avoid smoking.
To avoid suffering from vaginal prolapse due to obesity, ensure that you control your weight. Talk to an expert who can advise you on your ideal weight. If you are already obese, seek help on the effective weight-loss strategies.
Contact an Experienced Gynecologist Near Me
If you are suffering from vaginal prolapse, it may negatively affect the quality of your life. You may not be able to enjoy intimacy with your partner. You may also feel embarrassed due to conditions like urinary incontinence. You do not have to continue experiencing agony, there is a solution. At Gyn LA, we have helped many women recover from vaginal prolapse. If you are in Los Angeles, contact us at 310-375-8446 and speak to one of our experts.