Do you always seek out a restroom when going somewhere? Do you find it hard to get to the restroom in time? Have you stopped going to events or outings in fear you won’t find a bathroom? If so, you’re not alone, and it’s time to look at what's causing the problem.
Health issues surrounding the pelvis are known as Pelvic Floor Disorders (PFDs). Of those disorders, a common ailment is pelvic organ prolapse (POP) which is an issue among women (and some men) as they age. Learn about the signs and symptoms and find out if you may be suffering from this disorder below.
What is POP?
According to Voices For PFD, “POP is the dropping of the pelvic organs caused by the loss of normal support of the vagina [or rectum].” Prolapse occurs when the strength of the pelvic floor muscles, tissues, and ligaments are weakened due to many different factors such as genetics, lifestyle, injury, and other health conditions.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of POP will vary from person to person, and some women may not even experience discomfort from a pelvic floor disorder at all. But, those that do experience issues with a PFD often have quite a few common complaints when it comes to prolapse. Providers tend to hear patients saying things like:
- I am no longer able to wear a tampon.
- I am experiencing urinary or fecal incontinence.
- I have vaginal dryness which causes discomfort and irritation.
- I feel pain during intercourse.
While many symptoms are able to be resolved through non-surgical methods, many symptoms often progress at a gradual rate until the issue becomes unbearable. One of the most significant factors is that people tend to slowly reduce physical or social activities until they are no longer able to enjoy what they used to, which at that point, the problem is exacerbated and the issue is extreme.
Delaying treatment for PFDs are found to worsen the symptoms. Some of these issues include:
- Pressure in the vagina
- Pressure in the vagina during bowel movements
- Experience what feels like “sitting on a ball”
- Experience a bowel movement only by pushing stool out of the rectum from the vagina
- The sensation of feeling unable to empty the bladder
- Difficulty urinating or a weakened stream of urine
- Lower back discomfort
- Need to lift a bulge in order to start urination
- Urinary leakage with intercourse
The Signs of 4 Common Types of Prolapses
1. Anterior Vaginal Wall Prolapse
Prolapse of the anterior vaginal wall causes symptoms of urinary frequency like nighttime voiding (urination), loss of control with the bladder, and recurrent bladder infections. Some also experience stress urinary incontinence (SUI) due to coughing, sneezing, and laughing.
2. Posterior Wall Prolapse
Prolapse of the supporting tissues from the vagina and rectum cause symptoms such as a bulging sensation, issues with bowel movements, constipation, not feeling like the bowel has been emptied after defecation, and the need to use your finger to help empty bowels.
3. Apical Prolapse or Uterine Prolapse
Prolapse of the top part of the vagina causes symptoms such as ulcers from rubbing and irritation, bleeding, pressure on the pelvis, and possibly a bulge in the vaginal area.
4. Rectal Prolapse
Prolapse of the rectum causes symptoms such as soft tissue protruding from the anus which is often mistaken as large hemorrhoid, chronic constipation, diarrhea, weakness of the nerves and muscles, painful bowel movements, blood and discharge from the anus, and loss of control with the bowel or bowel movements.
How to Alleviate Your Pain and Discomfort?
If you are ready to alleviate any pain or discomfort related to pelvic floor disorders, it's time to visit Metro OBGYN. Visit one of our four locations and we’ll help you through the process of finding the best treatment option for your issues.
Curious about pelvic organ prolapse? Download our free guide Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Restoring Normal Anatomy Without Transvaginal Mesh to learn about POP treatment options below!