What is vaginal prolapse?
When the top of your vagina descends from its usual position in your body, this is known as vaginal prolapse. Your vagina, also known as your birth canal, is the tunnel that links your uterus to your vaginal opening. When the top of your vagina weakens, the organs that it should support drop into your vagina, giving you the sensation of a lump or bulge.
Your vagina is one of several organs located in your pelvic region. Muscles and other tissue hold these organs in place. These muscles work together to form a structure known as the pelvic floor. This support structure can begin to deteriorate over time. This can happen for a variety of causes, but the end effect is organ sagging. A prolapse occurs when your organs sag or droop from their natural position. When the top of your vagina weakens and collapses into your vaginal canal, this is known as vaginal prolapse.Prolapses can be minor or severe. An incomplete prolapse is a minor prolapse. When your organ has displaced significantly, you will experience a larger prolapse (full prolapse). Your organs may protrude from your vaginal entrance if you have a full prolapse. This is a really severe prolapse.Painful symptoms might result from vaginal prolapse. Surgery may not be necessary for mild to moderate vaginal prolapse. However, more severe cases may need surgical repair.\
Are there different types of prolapse?
Your pelvis is made up of your uterus, vagina, rectum, bladder, and urethra. These organs are supported by your pelvic floor muscles, which resemble an upside-down umbrella. The umbrella supports your pelvic organs, however it might collapse over time or due to other circumstances like vaginal delivery.There are various varieties of prolapse, each with a different name based on where the organ has slipped. The following are some examples of pelvic organ prolapse.
Vaginal prolapse (apical prolapse) occurs when the top of your vagina (known as the "vaginal vault") droops down into your vaginal canal. This is most common in women who have had hysterectomy (removal of your uterus).
Uterine prolapse occurs when your uterus bulges or slips into your vagina, sometimes so far that it protrudes through the vaginal opening. You may feel vaginal tissue pressing against your garments in severe cases.
Cystocele is a condition in which your bladder falls into your vagina.
Urethrocele is a condition in which your urethra (the tube that transports urine from your bladder) bulges into your vagina.
Rectocele is a condition in which your rectum bulges into your vagina.
Enterocele is a condition in which your small intestine bulges against the back wall of your vagina.
Is vaginal prolapse common?
Vaginal prolapse is a rather frequent condition. During their lifespan, more than one-third of women or people assigned female at birth (AFAB) may experience some form of pelvic region prolapse. You're more prone to have vaginal prolapse later in life, especially if you've had numerous vaginal births.
How do I know if I have a prolapse?
You may not realise you have a prolapsed vagina until vaginal tissue protrudes from your vaginal orifice. Some people experience soreness or the sensation of sitting on a ball. Others discover they have a prolapsed vagina after a normal pelvic exam.
What other portions of my body are affected by a prolapse?
Not only your vagina, but also other pelvic organs, might move out of place. Other neighbouring organs may be damaged depending on the type of prolapse and its degree. For example, you could have issues with your kidneys, urethra (the opening through which you pee), or rectum (the hole you poop from). Because a prolapse might cause other issues, it's critical to have it checked out by a doctor.
What are the symptoms of vaginal prolapse?
Symptoms of vaginal prolapse can include:
- Fullness, heaviness, or pain in the pelvic region. This sensation frequently worsens throughout the day or after standing, lifting, or coughing.
- Back ache in the lower back.
- Bulging in your uterus.
- You have the sensation that something is slipping out of your vagina.
- Pee dripping (urinary incontinence).
- Infections of the bladder occur on a regular basis.
- Pooping is difficult.
- Sexual intercourse problems.
- Tampon inserting issues.
How does vaginal prolapse feel?
Because the prolapse is minimal, some people do not feel it. During a typical gynaecological checkup, your gynaecologist may notice a slight prolapse. In some circumstances, you may feel as if a ball is hanging from your vagina or have pain when peeing or engaging in sexual activity.
What causes vaginal prolapse?
A set of muscles and other tissue hold your vagina in place within your pelvis, forming a sort of support framework. This structure holds your pelvic organs in place. This structure may deteriorate with time. When this happens, your vagina may slip down and out of place, resulting in a prolapse. Among the most common causes of vaginal prolapse are:
Childbirth: Vaginal delivery is more likely to result in prolapse than a C-section. If you've had several vaginal deliveries, had a lengthy labour, or delivered a large baby, your chance of prolapse may be increased (more than 9 pounds).
Menopause: Menopause occurs when your ovaries cease releasing hormones that regulate your monthly menstrual cycle (period). The hormone oestrogen is especially significant because it helps maintain the strength of your pelvic muscles. When your body does not produce as much oestrogen as it used to, your pelvic muscles can weaken and you may develop a prolapse.
People who have had a hysterectomy (uterine removal operation) are more prone to experience vaginal prolapse.
Ageing: As you get older, your chances of prolapse increase.
Excessive physical exercise or heavy lifting: Activity-related strain can also weaken your pelvic muscles and cause your organs to sag out of position.
Factors of genetic or hereditary origin: Your pelvic support system may be naturally weaker.
Prolapse can also be caused by activities or situations that put extra pressure on your abdominal area. These are some examples:
Failure to maintain a healthy body weight.
Struggling to defecate.
Having a persistent cough (common in people with asthma or respiratory problems).
What is the treatment for vaginal prolapse?
Treatment for vaginal prolapse varies based on the severity of your prolapse. In certain circumstances, your healthcare physician may simply want to monitor it over time to ensure that it does not worsen.
Vaginal prolapses can be treated non- surgically or surgically. A few factors will be considered by the Obstetrics & Gynaecology Hospital while developing a treatment plan, such as:
- Your overall health, as well as any major medical issues.
- Your age
- The seriousness of your prolapse.
- If you desire to have children later on.
- If you ever want to have penetrative sex.
It's critical to have an open and honest dialogue about these subjects with your healthcare professional. Discuss any questions or concerns you have about these therapies with your healthcare provider. Non treatments are usually utilised as a first alternative and are most effective with minor or mild prolapses. Treatment options may include the following:
Exercise: Kegel exercises can be used to strengthen the muscles in your pelvic. Tighten your pelvic muscles as if you were trying to hold back pee to perform these exercises.Hold the muscles firm for a few seconds before releasing them. This should be done ten times. You can do this up to four times each day, and you can do it anywhere.
Using a vaginal pessary: A pessary is a device that sits in your vagina and is typically fashioned like a little plastic or rubber doughnut. It serves as a support structure, holding everything in place. Your healthcare provider fits you for and inserts a pessary. It will need to be cleaned periodically and removed before having intercourse.
Surgery to address vaginal prolapse may be an option in more severe situations. Among these alternatives are:
Vaginal vault suspension: This surgery includes linking your vagina to the ligaments that hold it in place inside your pelvis.
Sacrocolpopexy is a surgery that entails attaching a piece of mesh to your vagina and anchoring the mesh to your tailbone in order to raise the vagina. This operation is performed via your belly, utilising small incisions and a minimally invasive procedure known as laparoscopy.
Colpocleisis is a technique in which your vagina is stitched shut. The outcome is an advantage of this procedure; your chances of having another prolapse are low. However, once you've had this treatment, you won't be able to have penetrative intercourse.