A prolapse occurs when an organ or other parts of the body slips down or forward. The tilt can cause severe pain and discomfort. In the female anatomy, the uterus and bladder are two organs that can easily become prolapsed or tilted. Childbirth, menopause and straining to lift heavy objects can cause a prolapse of both the uterus as well as the bladder. As a woman ages and the walls of the abdomen and pelvis become weaker, strenuous activity can damage the muscles, causing them to fail. Childbirth can also have an impact on how well the uterus is supported.
The most common symptoms of a prolapsed uterus involve pressure on the pelvic area. Painful and problematic intercourse, vaginal discharge of any kind, constipation, frequent and recurring bladder infection, and the protrusion of the uterus through the vaginal opening are other symptoms. The prolapse of the uterus or the bladder does not happen overnight, although it may take a short period for the symptoms to become severe enough to be noticeable. Once the muscle walls begin to fail, the prolapse will be easily noticeable in an ultrasound as well as through a pelvic exam.
Prolapsed organs are normally corrected with surgery. Because the problem has to do with the pelvic and abdominal walls, there are not many ways to correct the problem without surgery. For mild cases of prolapse, devices are available that can be placed inside the vagina to help support the pelvic floor and hold the uterus in place. No treatment is necessary if the prolapse is not severe enough to cause physical discomfort. It is important for the doctor to check on the situation during an annual exam to prevent the condition from worsening and causing problems in the future.
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