Prolapse | Overview of Prolapse condition
There are many common causes of prolapse, including prolapse of the uterus, bladder, and bowel. There is a summary of the causes of prolapse, signs, tests used to detect prolapse, and prolapse management and care.
What does prolapse mean?
A stretching of the ligaments and muscles protecting the pelvic organs causes prolapse, allowing certain organs to slip back. Actually, the term prolapse means to ‘fall out of place’.
Different forms of prolapse exist, including:
Prolapse in vagina
The walls of the vagina become overstretched at the vaginal entrance and bulge downwards. Bulging can be the following:
With the bladder in front of it, the front pelvic wall
The rear wall of the vagina and the rectum directly behind it.
Prolapse of Uterine
Fall down into the pelvic entrance of the uterus (womb) and cervix (opening to the womb) and can protrude beyond the vagina.
Prolapse of bladder (also called cystocele)
A bulge in the vaginal wall is caused by the bladder. Owing to a weakness of the pelvic floor muscles, which protect the uterus, bladder and intestine, a cystocele typically develops. A cystocele can occur on its own or along with other anomalies, such as a rectocele (see below) or a prolapse of the uterus.
Factors of risk for prolapse
Anything that puts pressure on the pelvic floor can cause a prolapse, such as:
- Pregnancy and conception
- Periodic pressure on the toilet allowing bowel movements or urine to pass
- Repetitive lifting of kids/grandkids
- Repetitive heavy weight lifting at work or in the gym
- Coughing, obesity and untreated respiratory conditions.
- The risk of prolapse can also be raised for women who have had pelvic surgery.
Women that are postmenopausal are more vulnerable to prolapses. Oestrogen deficiency during menopause is the cause. This hormone helps keep the muscles of the pelvic floor, which protect the bladder and vagina, well toned. These muscles get smaller, softer and less elastic once oestrogen levels decrease after menopause. The vaginal skin may also extend, which may cause the vagina to bulge into the bladder or intestines.
The signs of a prolapse depend on the conditions involved, such as the severity of the prolapse and the physical activity level.
It can contain the following symptoms:
- An inability to drain the bladder or the intestines entirely after going to the bathroom
Stressing to initiate urinary flow or to drain the intestines
A sluggish urinary flow that has the propensity to stop and resume
A feeling inside the vagina of fullness or discomfort
A vaginal heaviness or pulling feeling
The vagina felt a bulge or swelling.
Urgency , incontinence of the bladder or intestines
Lower back pain.
The pelvic wall or cervix can protrude beyond the vaginal entrance in serious cases.
A medical background review and a physical test will detect a prolapse. The physical test will determine:
- The severity of the prolapse
- The role of the muscles of the pelvic floor
- If only the bladder is involved in the prolapse, and/or the prostate or bowel.
- Prolapse in bowels (also called rectocele)
- When the intestine bulges out towards the pelvic wall of the back.