What Is Uterine Prolapse?
Uterine prolapse is a condition that occurs when the ligaments and muscles inside of the pelvic floor stretch and weaken. As a result of this, the uterus protrudes or slides down into the vagina. Women of any age can develop uterine prolapse, however, some women are at a greater risk for developing it than others. This condition is more common in postmenopausal women, as well as those who have had multiple vaginal births.
Estrogen levels have a tendency to decrease as a woman gets older. A loss of estrogen puts a woman at a greater risk for developing uterine prolapse. That is why this condition is more common in postmenopausal women. Repeated straining – like that caused during pregnancy and childbirth – is another risk factor for this condition, because it can weaken and damage the supportive tissue in the pelvic floor.
Symptoms of Uterine Prolapse
Women who have mild uterine prolapse may not notice any symptoms. However, symptoms become more noticeable as the condition gets worse. Some of the symptoms of uterine prolapse include painful intercourse, a feeling of heaviness in the pelvic floor, vaginal discharge, constipation and problems urinating. Some women notice that the symptoms worsen after periods of extended walking.
Women who have mild uterine prolapse may not require any treatment. Self-care measures, such as kegel exercises, avoiding heavy lifting and maintaining a healthy body weight can help ease the symptoms of uterine prolapse. If a woman has advanced uterine prolapse, then Dr. Sherry may recommend a vaginal pessary. This is a device that fits at the lower part of the cervix that helps hold the uterus in place.
Surgery is another treatment option. Surgery can repair the pelvic floor muscles that have been weakened or damaged. However, if you plan to get pregnant in the future, then surgery may not be right for you. Doctor Sherry can discuss all of the possible treatment options with you, and help determine the most effective treatment plan.
It is not always possible to prevent uterine prolapse. However, there are a few things you can do that will reduce your risk of developing it. Exercising for 20 to 30 minutes every day and maintaining a healthy body weight can help prevent uterine prolapse. Women who are going through menopause may be able to reduce their risk of uterine prolapse by getting estrogen replacement therapy. Because straining can increase the risk of uterine prolapse, it is important for you to use the proper technique while you are lifting.
Contact Dr. Sherry Thomas’s office today to schedule your consultation. She can go over all of your options with you, and answer any questions you may have.