A few different events, such as childbirth or pelvic surgery, can place a woman at a higher risk for a vaginal prolapse. This is a medical condition when the support system in the vagina fails to do its job, allowing the upper part of the organ to drop down into the vaginal canal, or outside of the body. The prolapse may also include the bladder, urethra, small bowel, or rectum. When patients experience this medical event, doctors can repair support structures, helping to restore proper placement to the organs.
Symptoms of a Vaginal Prolapse
Patients who experience a prolapse may experience a variety of symptoms. Some will experience a sensation of pelvic heaviness, or a backache that leads them to consult with their doctors. Others will have signs such as a mass bulging in their vaginal canal or out of the actual vagina. This bulging often makes standing or walking difficult. Incontinence, or the involuntary release of urine, as well as vaginal bleeding can also be symptoms of a prolapse. A woman experiencing any of these symptoms should speak with an urologist, or their own physician to see if surgery is the treatment needed to correct these problems.
Treatment for a Vaginal Prolapse
The optimal treatment for a vaginal prolapse is generally surgery, which will attach the top of the vagina to the lower abdominal wall, the ligaments in the pelvis, or the lumbar spine. This attachment will help hold the organ in place. Certain support structures can also be restored.
This surgery can sometimes be done laparoscopically. Laparoscopic vaginal prolapse repair combines the superior access of the abdominal approach with the minimally invasive nature of the vaginal approach. Laparoscopic correction using small “button-hole” size incisions not only reduces the operative risk and recovery time compared to large incision surgery, but also improves the precision of the repair. While many patients and surgeons might prefer this type of procedure, some forms of a prolapse will need to be done vaginally by an expert vaginal surgeon. Although this might not be as minimally invasive, this form of the procedure may be necessary to ensure that the patient has the best chances of a full recovery.
A vaginal prolapse is often an uncomfortable complication of the weakening of the pelvic and vaginal muscles. Those who find themselves experiencing any symptoms that might point to this problem should schedule an appointment with a urologist immediately. If you are looking for treatment options for this issue, feel free to contact me to set up a consultation here.