Uterine prolapse results from stretching and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments and as a result provide inadequate support for the uterus. This causes the uterus to slip down into or protrude out of the vagina.
This condition can happen to anyone but it usually affects postmenopausal women who have had one or more vaginal deliveries. Mild uterine prolapse may not require treatment. However if the condition is making life uncomfortable, then treatment may be needed.
What causes uterine prolapse ?
Uterine prolapse results from weakening of the pelvis muscles as well as supportive tissues. This may result from the following :
- delivery of a large baby
- difficult labor and delivery
- trauma during childbirth
- loss of muscle tone
- less circulating estrogen as a result of menopause
Who is at risk ?
Certain factors may increase your risk for a prolapsed uterus. These include the following :
- one or more pregnancies and vaginal birth
- increasing age
- prior pelvic surgery
- frequent straining during bowel movement
- delivering a large baby
- genetic predisposition to weakness in connective tissue
- being hispanic or white
Some conditions such as obesity , chronic constipation and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD may also play a role.
What are the symptoms of uterine prolapse ?
This condition ranges in severity. The mild once may not exhibit any symptoms but the severe once may show the following symptoms.
- trouble having bowel movement
- sensation of heaviness or pulling in the pelvis
- urinary problems such as urine leakage and urine retention
- tissues protruding from the vagina
- lower back pain
- feeling as if you are sitting on a small ball or as if something is falling from your vagina
What is the treatment for uterine prolapse ?
If you have a mild condition with or without symptoms that do not bother you, you may not need treatment.
In some cases simple self care exercises such as kegel exercises can help strengthen these muscles. Maintaining a healthy weight and not lifting heavy objects can also help.
In advance cases, the following may be recommended.
- vaginal pessary which is a device that fits into the vagina and holds the uterus in place. However this can be of little use in cases of severe uterine prolapse. It can be use short or long term.
- surgery is done to repair weakened and damaged pelvic floor tissues. If you plan to have a baby in future, you may not be a good candidate for this procedure.
Uterine prolapse. National library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001508.htm. Accessed May 16, 2016
Prolapsed uterus. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/women/guide/prolapsed-uterus. Accessed May 16, 2016