What is Prolapse?
Sometimes called pelvic organ prolapse, this happens when the muscles and tissues that normally support the pelvic organs become weak. This causes the pelvic organs (like the uterus, bladder, or rectum) to sag and press on or out of the vagina. Most often, it’s caused by childbirth but can also be a natural product of aging or long-term pressure on the abdomen (like excess body fat, chronic coughing, and straining during bowel movements). It’s also a somewhat common occurrence in menopausal women because of hormone changes, although it’s not well understood why this happens.
Why is Prolapse Important?
Although prolapse isn’t necessarily dangerous, it can come with some uncomfortable symptoms like incontinence, difficulty urinating, pain during intercourse, and overall pressure. However, it will require the intervention of your gynecologist in order to find long-term relief since it can be difficult to reverse the effects of pelvic muscle laxity. It’s also important to take steps to prevent prolapse by maintaining a healthy weight, eat a diet with ample fiber, and avoid factors that cause chronic coughing like smoking.
How Can My Gynecologist Help?
Your gynecologist can assess your symptoms and discuss your treatment options for prolapse. Often, effective treatment includes a few different methods and lifestyle changes to use at home before opting for more invasive options. This usually includes the use of a pessary (which helps support the pelvic organs through insertion in the vagina), pelvic floor muscle therapy, and optimizing your diet to reduce strain while passing bowel movements. If this combination of therapies doesn’t provide relief, then surgery is sometimes recommended where a synthetic mesh is inserted to repair and support the pelvic tissues. In the most severe cases, a surgery to close the vaginal canal can be used to reduce symptoms.
Schedule an Appointment
It’s important to keep in mind that prolapse is treatable and that your gynecologist can help. To meet with our expert team and discuss your treatment options, contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are squats good for prolapse?
Some variations of squats, such as weighted squats or squat jumps, can cause stress on the pelvic floor and are harmful for prolapse. Instead, women can try exercises like lunges or bodyweight squats to strengthen the thighs and buttocks without putting unnecessary stress on the pelvic floor.
Can a pap smear detect prolapse?
Your gynecologist may be able to detect prolapse during a pap smear, but a pap smear does not specifically diagnose or screen for prolapse. In some cases, uterine prolapse is palpable or visible to your gynecologist during the pap smear process or even a manual pelvic exam.