The Stages Of Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Their Implications To Your Health

Although pelvic organ prolapse is a common disorder among women caused mainly by childbirth and menopause, it is not widely discussed due to embarrassment.

Women will often keep early symptoms of this condition to themselves, hiding their discomfort from everyone including their physician. In spite of this lack of widespread information, you should become aware of the stages of pelvic organ prolapse so that you can better understand what treatment options will be most successful for you.

What Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

It is believed that 50% of women are affected by pelvic organ prolapse to some degree. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when pelvic floor muscles weaken, causing one or more pelvic organs to shift or drop out of their normal position.

Organs like the bladder, uterus, intestines, and rectum begin to push against the walls of the vaginal canal, and may eventually descend into or outside of the vagina as the condition progressively worsens over time.

Noticeable symptoms include some of the following:

Most women with pelvic organ prolapse develop the disorder after childbirth, and as they age the disorder becomes more common with the loss of estrogen.

In addition to these common symptoms, women can lose sensation during intercourse, develop fecal incontinence, and coital incontinence.

Stages of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

A case of pelvic organ prolapse will be assigned a level of severity based on how far advanced it has become. The stages of pelvic organ prolapse are divided into 4 stages with 1 having relatively no symptoms to stage 4 as very severe

Pelvic floor exercises can help with stages 1 or 2, along with medications, and Pessaries to hold the organs in place. The worst case (stage 4) is when organs like the uterus push through the vaginal wall and can be completely outside the body.

Dekalb Women’s Specialists can determine the stage of a patient’s pelvic organ prolapse by doing a simple pelvic exam.

Depending on the diagnosed stage the doctor may recommend to simply observe for a period of time, suggest a conservative surgery, or in a case where multiple organs are out of place a more aggressive surgical repair may be required.

What You Can Do

There are ways to mitigate the symptoms and any further development of pelvic organ prolapse. After childbirth, you should begin to do regular pelvic floor exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles. It is highly recommended to get back to your pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) approximately one year after giving birth since this lowers your risk for pelvic organ prolapse.

Losing some weight and quitting smoking are both extremely helpful as they not only contribute to pelvic organ prolapse development, but also to a wide range of other health issues.

Pelvic organ prolapse can present serious implications to your health, so be sure to speak with Dekalb Women’s Specialists at the first sign of any symptoms, and don’t be afraid to speak up during regular doctor’s appointments!


You Might Also Enjoy...

5 Ways to Manage Hot Flashes

Hot flashes are one of the most common symptoms of menopause — but the good news is, there are some things you can do to help keep your cool. Here are five simple steps you can take to reduce your annoying hot flash symptoms.

Understanding Your Birth Control Options

Birth control methods all work to prevent unplanned pregnancy, but how they work can vary — a lot. Choosing the method that suits your lifestyle means it’s a lot easier to work it into your routine. Fortunately, you’ve got lots of options.

Everything You Should Know About Prenatal Care

Prenatal care plays a crucial role in helping you and your baby stay healthy through pregnancy and delivery. If you’re pregnant, here’s why you need prenatal care and what to expect during your office visits.

The Importance of a Well-Woman Exam

Well-woman exams play an important role in helping women stay healthy, especially as they get older. Not sure you need an annual well-woman exam? These statistics might change your mind.

Treatment for Your Menopause

More than a million women enter menopause each year in the United States, and most of them will have experienced at least a few bothersome symptoms. Our team uses a patient-centered approach to relieve menopause symptoms. Here’s how it works.

How Do I Know My Pregnancy Is High-Risk?

High-risk pregnancies require special care to prevent potential problems for you and for your baby. Knowing your risk factors is the first step toward identifying a high-risk pregnancy, so you can get the care you need to stay healthy.