What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Severity of Prolapse
- Mild or 1st degree prolapse: When the prolapse is still within the vagina
- Moderate or 2nd degree prolapse: When the prolapse is just outside the vagina
- Severe or 3rd and 4th degree prolapse: When the prolapse is completely outside the vagina
Types of Prolapse
You may present with one or more types of prolapse.
- Cystocoele: When the top of the vagina supporting the bladder prolapses downwards into and outwards outside the vagina.
- Rectocoele / Enterocoele: When the bottom of the vagina supporting the rectum / small intestines respectively prolapses upwards into and outside the vagina.
- Uterine prolapse: When the back of the vagina supporting the uterus prolapses into and outside the vagina.
- Procidentia: When there is prolapse of the uterus and vagina including the bladder completely outside the vagina.
- Vault prolapse: When the back of the vagina prolapse into and outside the vagina after a previous hysterectomy.
What are the causes?
The prolapse is due to the progressive weakening of the supporting tissues of the uterus and the vagina in situations such as pregnancy and childbirth, especially difficult and prolonged labour.
The supporting tissues become even weaker when you enter the menopause and as you grow older. If you are involve in strenuous physical work, or suffer from chronic cough and constipation, you have an increased tendency to develop pelvic organ prolapse.
Other causes include congenital weakness of the pelvic floor muscles, ligaments and fascia and collagen deficiency.
Some of the symptoms are included below; they are not listed in descending order of frequency of presentation but may be related to the severity/degree of your prolapse.:
- A dragging sensation in the lower abdomen and pelvis