Pregnancy and childbirth, obesity, and straining can damage or weaken the ligaments, muscles and tissues that support your pelvic organs. After menopause, the loss of estrogen may make these problems worse. At Fort Sanders Women’s Specialists, we offer pelvic support options for women suffering pelvic organ prolapse.
Symptoms vary depending on the type of pelvic support issue that affects you, but may include:
- Feeling of heaviness or fullness, as if something is falling out of the vagina
- Pulling or aching in the lower abdomen, groin or lower back
- Leaking of urine or problems having a bowel movement
- Symptoms increase after long periods of standing or with repeated coughing or straining
Pelvic organ prolapse, similar to a hernia, happens when your organs bulge into the vagina. Different organs can prolapse into the vagina, and many women may have more than one type:
- The vaginal roof or walls can descend into the vagina
- Your uterus or cervix may fall into the vagina
- Parts of your the bladder can drop, causing urine leakage
- The small intestine or rectum can prolapse into the vagina
Some women can be helped with the fitting of a pessary – a removable ring-type vaginal support, similar to a diaphragm, which opens the vagina and pushes other pelvic organs back. Estrogen therapy also can help, as can pelvic exercises, changes in diet, and avoiding lifting or straining.
Led by the expertise of Dr. Curtis Elam and Dr. G. Walton Smith, surgeries to repair vaginal prolapse are done with minimally-invasive techniques. With severe cases, robotic laparoscopic procedures may be required.
At the first sign of any of these symptoms, please call us at (865) 331-1122 to discuss your concerns and options.