As you get older and hit menopause, your body produces less estrogen. This decrease in estrogen can lead to pelvic organ prolapse, a condition in which one of your pelvic organs moves or falls out of place.
Khashayar Shakiba, MD, at Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey in Hackensack, New Jersey, is an expert in pelvic medicine and surgery. In this blog, he discusses what pelvic organ prolapse is and how it can be prevented or treated.
What is pelvic organ prolapse?
Your pelvic organs include your uterus, bladder, vagina, urethra, small bowel, and rectum. A pelvic organ prolapse is when one of these weakens or drops out of place. This can happen, because as you grow older and estrogen decreases, the connective tissue that supports these organs can weaken.
When these connective tissues stretch or get damaged, whatever organ they’re supporting can slip out of place. Sometimes the organ can even protrude out of the vaginal opening.
Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse can become more likely as you age. Some of the symptoms can include:
- Difficulty urinating
- Difficulty moving your bowels
- Lower back pain
- Painful intercourse
- Frequent urinary tract infections
- Pain or pressure in the pelvis
- Feeling or seeing tissue protruding from your vagina
Treating and preventing pelvic organ prolapse
There are a number of ways to treat and prevent pelvic organ prolapse. Here are a few of them.
Hormone replacement therapy
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is sometimes recommended to help reduce the risk of pelvic organ prolapse. Estrogen production decreases during menopause. However, HRT can increase your body’s estrogen and help prevent the thinning of connective tissue.
Colpocleisis is a surgery in which Dr. Shakiba shortens your vaginal canal to give your uterus more support. For this surgery, he uses the state-of-the-art da Vinci® system. This minimally invasive system makes tiny incisions, which can help you heal quicker.
Sacrocolpopexy is another surgical procedure Dr. Shakiba performs with the da Vinci® system. A screen-like material is inserted into your body to reinforce weakened tissues and organs.
If you need temporary relief before scheduling surgery, Dr. Shakiba can give you a pessary This small, rubber device, which is inserted into your vagina, helps hold the uterus in place. It requires frequent checkups.
If you’re concerned about your pelvic health, book an appointment online or over the phone with Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey today.