Pelvic organ prolapses are quite common after pregnancy and childbirth, and a variety of prolapses can occur, such as uterine prolapse, bladder prolapse (cystocele), vaginal prolapse, and rectal prolapse (rectocele). What prolapse refers to is the dropping of these organs from their original placements. In many cases, women feel like their organs are falling out of their bodies.
Prolapses are known to cause feelings of heaviness and dragging, with a mild aching in the vaginal area. Sometimes, bulging within the vagina can be felt, and in more extreme situations, bulging may occur on the exterior of the vaginal opening. Aching in the abdomen and backache are common symptoms of prolapse.
What Causes Prolapse?
There are some misconceptions over what causes pelvic organ prolapses. It is often assumed that older women are more prone to such conditions, however this is not necessarily the case. Regardless of a woman’s age, prolapses are fairly common after a first birth, and even more common after a second vaginal birth.
Essentially, a weak pelvic floor causes prolapse. For some women, it depends on their body type. If one has softer connective tissue, there is a likelihood that the ligaments may be prone to loosening. In the female body, pelvic organs are supported by a system of ligaments, the pelvic floor muscles, and fascia. In the event these structures are weakened, the support system for pelvic organs becomes compromised, and they will begin to drop deeper into the pelvis.
In most instances, pregnancy and childbirth are the cause of pelvic floor weakening due to the impact they have on the body. Pregnancy weakens the pelvic floor and softens ligaments, and this process is aided by the influx of the relaxin hormone. If pelvic floor muscles are not strengthened during and after pregnancy, the chances of prolapse can greatly increase. The process of vaginal childbirth also plays a part in weakening the pelvic floor. Longer labors and longer periods of pushing are known to put immense pressure on the pelvic floor, and can result in weakening, which can lead to prolapse.
Pelvic Floor Exercises
Pelvic floor muscle exercises are recommended to maintain the condition and tone of the muscles during pregnancy and childbirth, however, this method is not always a guaranteed way to avoid weakening of the muscles. Immense pressure is placed on the pelvic region, and due to the impact on the area’s ligaments, prolapses can still happen. Kegel exercises and physical therapy are often utilized as methods to strengthen the pelvic region after pregnancy and birth, though in more advanced cases, surgery may be required to correct the issue.
If you are suffering from a pelvic organ prolapse, or have a feeling you may be, it is important to have an exam performed by a physician to attain proper diagnosis. Prolapses tend to get worse over time, and it is certainly best to begin treatment as soon as possible to maintain optimal health. If you are located in the northern New Jersey area, contact the office of Dr. Shakiba of Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey to schedule an appointment for consultation and evaluation.
You can contact the office of Dr. Shakiba at:
Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey, LLC
211 Essex Street, Suite 402
Telephone: (201)- 301-2772