What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse is when the organs in the pelvic cavity drop or prolapse, from their normal position. In women, these organs include the bladder, vagina, rectum, uterus and cervix. The most common reason for organ prolapse is when the pelvis muscles become weakened or damaged and can no longer support these organs. Weakening of the pelvic floor can be due to age-related physical changes, childbirth (especially multiple births) or post-surgical complications.
Recognizing the Signs of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
The most common symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse are:
- Urinary incontinence
- Fecal incontinence
- Feeling a bulge in your vagina
- Feeling or seeing something coming out of your vagina
Comprehensive Treatment Options for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
The expert female pelvic health team at University Hospitals offers women a full range of treatment options to help improve both function and quality of life. We take a personalized approach to the care of each woman and look at all available options for treatment, not just surgery. Nonsurgical treatment options may include:
- Acupuncture: A complementary treatment that can help calm genital, nerve and pelvic muscle pain.
- Botox® injections: When injected into the bladder, Botox treatments may be helpful in treating urge incontinence and overactive bladder.
- Lifestyle changes to help manage urinary frequency and incontinence
- Pessaries: A device that is inserted into the vagina to help support and strengthen the pelvic floor. It is most often used to treat stress incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.
- Physical therapy
Surgical Treatment Options for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
If conservative therapies are not successful or women develop significant pelvic organ prolapse, our fellowship-trained surgeons are highly experienced in transvaginal, open abdominal, laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgeries for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse and other complex pelvic floor disorders, including vesicovaginal fistulas.
Surgical procedures may include:
- Robotic-assisted hysterectomy (removal of the uterus)
- Robotic-assisted sacrocolpopexy (repair of vaginal prolapse)
- Sacral urethropexy (correct uterine prolapse following hysterectomy)
- Surgical implantation of a bladder pacemaker (a small device that improves communication between the brain and the bladder)
- Revisional surgery (provide additional support for women who have had a previous pelvic floor surgery)
These procedures may provide relief and improve quality of life for women with pelvic organ prolapse and associated urinary incontinence. In addition, we use the most advanced minimally invasive techniques which often results in less pain, less bleeding and faster recovery.