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
September
 
 
 
 
1
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
LGBTQ* and Friends Employee Picnic
Thu
2
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Fri
3
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Sat
4
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Sun
5
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
6
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
Tue
7
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
UK Women's Club Volleyball - Open Gym
From The Streets to The Stage With Monti Washington
Wed
8
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
#IAMACCEPTANCE Let's Talk Mental Health with Hakeem Rahim
Thu
9
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
2016 New Chinese Students Welcome Party
Accounting Internship & Career Fair
Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Training
Fri
10
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
11
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Whipping In The Kitchen
Sun
12
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Mon
13
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
UKWC Welcome Coffee
Tue
14
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Greek Park Pictures
Wed
15
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
Thu
16
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
A Day of Rising Strong
Fri
17
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
18
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sun
19
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Mon
20
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
UK Women's Forum Board Meeting
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn - Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
Cuban Heritage Festival
Tue
21
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Last Day to Withdraw to Receive 50% Refund
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Horticulture Club Farm Market Sale
Wed
22
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
TGIT with SAB
Thu
23
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Fri
24
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Sat
25
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Sun
26
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Let's Talk!
Empower: People of Color Support Group
Film Screening of "The Fly Room"
Mon
27
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: EXPRESSIONS
UK Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair
Banned Books--A short history
Tue
28
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: MEDITATION
Horticulture Club Farm Market Sale
Cats Got The Vote
Business Internship & Career Fair
Women In Technology Gala event for UK undergraduate women
Wed
29
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
FIFA Tournament
Let's Talk!
Let's Talk!
Wildcat Wellness Workshop: YOGA
Yoga at Commonwealth Stadium
Thu
30
Louis Zoellar Bickett: Saving Myself
Let's Talk!
Indonesia Focus Conference
Indonesia Focus Conference
Craft Writing: Beer, the Digital, and Craft Culture
Fri
 
Sep 26
Let's Talk! 09/26/2016

Mon, 09/26/2016

Repeats every 7 days until Tue Dec 13 2016 .
Tue, 09/27/2016

Tue, 09/27/2016 - Thu, 09/29/2016

Tue, 09/27/2016

Reset Page