Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Where Weaknesses Lie

While it may not be inevitable for all women, pelvic organ prolapse is a very common condition that many women may face as they grow older and the muscles in their pelvic region grow weaker. At Coyle Institute, Dr. Coyle and his staff have years of experience in treating and relieving pelvic organ prolapse (POP), and we know how sensitive the issue can be for women suffering from this condition.

What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

By definition, pelvic organ prolapse is a urogynecological issue that results from the weakening of pelvic floor muscles and tissues, which then causes them to be unable to support pelvic organs. Most incidences of POP affect the bladder, though other pelvic organs such as the vagina, rectum, cervix, uterus, and urethra may also be affected by the disorder. When these organs prolapse––or drop––because of weakened tissues and muscles, it can cause a number of distressing issues, including pelvic pain; urinary incontinence; pressure in the pelvic region; discomfort or difficulty during intercourse; and even the protrusion of organs or tissues past the opening of the vagina.

As a urogynecologist, Dr. Coyle and his team at Coyle Institute can not only diagnose pelvic organ prolapse but also treat it and provide patients with the relief they’ve been seeking. Unfortunately, many women will suffer from the condition at some point in their life due to the fact that labor, childbirth, and aging all directly affect the strength of pelvic floor muscles and tissues. Other contributing factors include regularly occurring constipation, disorders involving connective tissue, and family history.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse: The Strongest Courses Of Action

Rather than simply suffering from this uncomfortable condition, women do have many options which can permanently provide them with relief, including both surgical and nonsurgical methods of treatment. Depending on the cause and severity of the woman’s condition, some options are more viable and effective than others, so a full medical evaluation is the first course of action to be taken. Because each case is so different and so unique to each individual, it can only be expected that no one solution will work for each diagnosis. Some cases may be more difficult to treat and never be fully cured, while others may require less extensive methods of treatment to see full relief. During an initial consultation with a urogynecologist, women suffering from pelvic organ prolapse will undergo a complete physical examination to determine the severity of their condition, but their medical history will also be extremely important to the diagnosis and the methods of treatment to be considered.

One of the simplest treatment options that requires no surgery includes the utilization of pelvic floor exercises—most commonly known as Kegels—during which the muscles surrounding the vaginal, rectal, or urethral openings are contracted and relaxed to induce strengthening of the pelvic floor and encourage greater support of pelvic organs. Further nonsurgical treatments may include the insertion of a pessary, which is a soft, flexible, fully removable medical device. After being inserted into the vagina, a pessary provides structural support to any pelvic organs that may have dropped, providing relief from the pain, pressure, and other symptoms caused by the prolapse.

Surgical Treatments

Surgical treatments are most commonly recommended to women with more severe cases of pelvic organ prolapse who have been suffering greatly from pain or discomfort or whose daily lives have been limited by the unfortunate effects so commonly caused by the disorder. Several things may determine whether surgery is ever even recommended, however, including a woman’s age, her desire to have children in the future, her sexual history, and the degree of severity of both the prolapse and the symptoms involved.

Surgery can be performed either vaginally or through the abdomen; and, depending on the diagnosis, surgical mesh may be considered necessary in addition to any stitches that are required. Because it is more invasive, surgery allows greater access to the areas affected, which means that the vagina can be repositioned to its natural place; the tissue surrounding the vagina can be repaired; the vaginal canal can be closed permanently, even if the uterus is not being removed; and measures can be taken to ensure that incidences of urinary leakage are prevented or significantly reduced, in which case surgical mesh may be considered beneficial.

At Coyle Institute, Dr. Coyle can provide his patients with the very best care, and should they choose to undergo surgery, they can feel confident that they are receiving treatment from a leading expert whose experience in the field has gained him nationwide recognition.

As you research your options for relieving pelvic organ prolapse, give Coyle Institute a call today!