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Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists

Located in Bellingham, WA - Serving the Pacific Northwest

You may think you’re the only woman living with pelvic organ prolapse, but millions of women know what you’re going through. The compassionate team of urologists at Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists in Bellingham, Washington, understands the personal and intimate nature of women’s health issues and has a female doctor on-site to make you more comfortable. You don’t have to be afraid to talk about pelvic organ prolapse; call Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists or schedule an appointment online today.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

What is pelvic organ prolapse?

Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition unique to women. This problem occurs when the tissue in your pelvis supporting your organs — or pelvic floor — begins to relax. If your pelvic floor relaxes too much, your organs can drop down and start pressing against or protruding into your vagina.

There are several types of pelvic organ prolapse, including:

  • Cystocele: the vaginal wall supporting your bladder protrudes into your vagina
  • Rectocele: the vaginal wall supporting your rectum protrudes into your vagina
  • Uterine prolapse: your uterus falls into your vagina

Several factors can increase your risk of developing pelvic organ prolapse, such as pregnancy, a past hysterectomy, obesity, and aging. The average age when women start to notice pelvic floor disorders is 56.

You can reduce your chances of developing pelvic organ prolapse by preventing and managing constipation, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding heavy lifting.

What are the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse?

Most women with pelvic organ prolapse don’t have any symptoms. When symptoms are present, you might experience:

  • Pressure or fullness in your vagina or pelvis
  • A bulge inside or coming out of your vagina
  • Urinary incontinence or overactive bladder
  • Trouble emptying your bladder or bowels
  • The sensation that you can’t completely empty your bladder

In some cases, women with pelvic organ prolapse need to press the bulge in their vagina to completely empty their bladder or finish a bowel movement. This action is known as splinting.

How is pelvic organ prolapse diagnosed and treated?

The skilled team of urologists at Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists can diagnose pelvic organ prolapse through a pelvic exam done while you’re standing or squatting.

Treatments of this condition can vary depending on your symptoms and their severity. The first approach to managing pelvic organ prolapse often includes pelvic floor muscle exercises with a physical therapist for 8-12 weeks to strengthen your pelvic muscles.

Your urologist might also suggest a vaginal pessary. This device fits inside your vagina and helps support your bladder while pushing it back into place. A vaginal pessary comes in different shapes and sizes to provide a comfortable fit.

For advanced cases of pelvic organ prolapse, your urologist might recommend surgical treatments. These could be performed as an outpatient procedure using a vaginal approach, or as an inpatient procedure at the hospital utilizing the robotic da Vinci® Surgical System.

For more information on pelvic organ prolapse, call Pacific Northwest Urology Specialists or schedule an appointment online today.

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