Allison Perry

By

College: Medicine

Pelvic Organ Prolapse Common Problem in Older Women

Published: Jun 24, 2014

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 24, 2014) -- It's a problem many women are embarrassed to discuss, but pelvic organ prolapse is a very common disorder, especially among older women. Roughly half of women who have had children will experience a form of prolapse later in life, and more than one out of every 10 women will have at least one surgery to treat pelvic organ prolapse or urinary incontinence  by the age of 80.

 

What is pelvic organ prolapse?

Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when the pelvic floor becomes weak or damaged and one or more pelvic structures drop from their natural positions into or even outside of the vaginal canal. Several structures can be involved, including the uterus, bladder, small bowel, rectum or the vagina itself.

 

What causes prolapse?

Prolapse is caused by damage to the tissues that support the pelvic organs. This damage is often a result of several factors, with the most common cause being the trauma of childbirth.  Other risk factors include obesity, chronic constipation, lung diseases that result in a chronic cough, prior hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), menopause, and heavy manual labor.

 

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse include a bulge or pressure in the vagina, a pulling or stretching feeling in the vagina or pelvis, discomfort with sexual intercourse, delayed or slow urine stream, difficulty with bowel movements, and urinary and fecal urgency or incontinence.

 

What's the best way to treat prolapse?

Treatment depends on several factors including the age and overall health of the patient, the severity of symptoms, the stage of the prolapse, the patient’s anatomy and prior surgical history and most importantly the patient’s preference.

 

For women with a mild case of prolapse, physicians may not recommend a surgical intervention. However, they may recommend nonsurgical treatments that can help prevent the prolapse from becoming worse, such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and avoiding lifting heavy objects.

For more severe prolapse, some women may choose to use a pessary (a medical device that provides internal support) while others may choose to undergo surgery.

 

Surgery can be laparoscopic with the assistance of the da Vinci robot or approached through the vagina. Women often have other pelvic floor disorders in addition to prolapse including overactive bladder (urinary frequency, urgency and urge incontinence) or stress urinary incontinence (leakage of urine with coughing, laughing, or exercise) that need to be addressed at the same time.  

 

For younger women, the potential loss of childbearing ability plays a role in the patient's treatment.  Treatment should be individualized for each patient and it is important to see a physician that specializes in the treatment of pelvic floor disorders, such a surgeon board-certified in Female Pelvic Medicine Reconstructive Surgery.

 

Why should women seek treatment sooner rather than later?

The symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse can worsen over time.  The sooner a woman seeks treatment the sooner we can work on alleviating the symptoms and improving her quality of life.

 

Dr. Katie Ballert specializes in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at UK HealthCare.

 

This column appeared in the June 22, 2014, edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader

 

ballert_katie_134.jpg
June
 
 
 
1
 
Wed
2
 
Thu
3
Postdoctoral Research Symposium (Hosted by Society of Postdoctoral Scholars)
Fri
4
 
Sat
5
 
Sun
6
LINKS Center Summer Workshop on Social Network Analysis
Mon
7
LINKS Center Summer Workshop on Social Network Analysis
End of the Summer I 2016 Four-Week Intersession
Tue
8
LINKS Center Summer Workshop on Social Network Analysis
Wed
9
LINKS Center Summer Workshop on Social Network Analysis
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
First Day of Classes of the Summer II 2016 Eight-Week Session
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Thu
10
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
LINKS Center Summer Workshop on Social Network Analysis
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Fri
11
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Family Day Workshop
Sat
12
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Sun
13
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Mon
14
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Tue
15
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Wed
16
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Thu
17
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Film Screening: Artists on the Body
Fri
18
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Sat
19
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Sun
20
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Mon
21
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Tue
22
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Wed
23
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Steve Zahn: One Night Only
Thu
24
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Fri
25
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Sat
26
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Sun
27
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Mon
28
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Tue
29
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Wed
30
UK Writing Center Open for Summer Session 2 (June 9-August 4)
Music Education Summer Training
Natalie Frank: The Brothers Grimm
Lawrence Tarpey: Figures & Grounds
Eugene Meatyard & Duane Michals: Camera Drama
Thu
 
 

Repeats every day until Fri Jul 01 2016 .
Sat, 06/25/2016

Repeats every day until Sun Jul 31 2016 .
Sat, 06/25/2016

Repeats every day until Fri Jul 01 2016 .
Sun, 06/26/2016

Reset Page