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Prolapse | Uterine (Pelvic Organ)
From the Pelvic Floor Articles List
What causes uterine prolapse, and what are my treatment options?
When the pelvic floor weakens and stretches, the uterus can prolapse into the vagina. The severity of the prolapse and associated symptoms can dictate treatment options. In some cases, you may not need any treatment, but for more severe symptoms some type of surgery may be required.
Uterine prolapse, also known as pelvic organ prolapse, is most common in women who have given birth vaginally. Other risk factors include normal aging, loss of estrogen, obesity, a chronic cough, straining, injury, and genetics.
Diagnosis of uterine prolapse can generally be made during a pelvic exam. Your surgeon will classify your prolapse as one of four stages.
- First-degree prolapse: The uterus has only dropped a little. The cervix, the bottom portion of the uterus, may dip into the vagina.
- Second-degree prolapse: The cervix falls farther into the vagina.
- Third-degree prolapse: The cervix may actually protrude outside the body. May be referred to as a complete prolapse.
- Fourth-degree prolapse: The entire uterus has fallen outside the body. May also be referred to as a complete prolapse
Early stage uterine prolapse may be treated with non-surgical methods. These can include exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor, a pessary, estrogen treatment, and a weight loss program. If other health factors are contributing to the prolapse, those should be addressed as well.
For more severe prolapse, surgery may be necessary. The type of surgery may depend on fertility concerns, age, and overall health of the patient, and prolapse severity. In some cases, the surgeon may be able to use nearby ligaments and structures to secure the uterus in a higher position. At other times, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be recommended.
Not all treatment options are right for all patients. You will need to work with your medical team to determine what is best for you. Women with uterine prolapse should seek a second opinion before making any final surgical decisions. Gynecological surgeons who specialize in minimally invasive surgery may be able to offer surgical choices that do not involve a large abdominal incision. A urogynecologist may also be able to help.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.
06-10-2013 - 10:39 PM
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