uterine prolapse

The four stages and symptoms of uterine prolapse

A lady’s uterus, or womb, is similar in shape to an upside-down pear. Along with the bowel and bladder, the uterus is supported by a set of muscles running between the pubic bone and tailbone (or coccyx). The muscles function rather like a hammock, collectively referred to as your pelvic floor, or levator ani muscles. The pelvic organs, including the uterus, as suspended by connective tissue and ligaments, all working together to hold everything in place.

In the event this system of muscles and tissues are damaged or weakened, the uterus is at risk of moving out of place and dropping down, towards the vagina. This is known as uterine prolapse.

Common causes of prolapse

Several elements commonly cause a uterus to prolapse, including vaginal childbirth, severe coughing, obesity, hormonal changes following the menopause, and straining on the toilet. Initial treatment for a prolapse is strengthening the pelvic floor muscles using exercises like Kegels.

Additional support can be provided by a pessary inserted into the uterus. This will reduce the symptoms of prolapse. If a combination of pelvic floor exercises and pessary are unsuccessful, the prolapse is more severe and will require surgical intervention.

Symptoms of uterine prolapse

Several signs indicate a prolapsed uterus, including:

– The feeling of pressure or heaviness in the vagina
– A distinct bulge, or lump inside, or protruding from, the vagina
– Pain during sexual intercourse.

The four stages of uterine prolapse

There are four steps to a uterine prolapse, which indicate the extent to which the uterus has descended. It’s possible that the bladder and bowel, as part of a group of pelvic organs, may also drop as a result of the prolapse. The four stages of uterine prolapse are:

Stage 1: The uterus has descended into the upper part of the vagina
Stage 2: The uterus is almost at the vaginal opening
Stage 3: The uterus is protruding from the vagina
Stage 4: The uterus has descended to the point it is entirely outside the vagina.

If you need help or advice on uterine prolapse, please get in touch – we’re here to help.

does hysterectomy cause prolapse

Can a hysterectomy cause prolapse?

Hysterectomy is commonly used as a solution for a wide range of gynaecological problems. Unfortunately, a hysterectomy can have a number of unpleasant side effects, including the development of a prolapse. Although some women actually undergo a hysterectomy in order to resolve an existing prolapse, the surgery can significantly weaken the pelvic floor and compromise the other support structures which are used to keep the pelvic organs in place. This can result in a further prolapse developing, which can cause a range of distressing effects including incontinence, spotting and bowel problems. If you’ve had a hysterectomy and are still experiencing prolapse symptoms, a number of different problems may have occurred.

Different types of prolapse require individual solutions

Typically there are three different types of prolapse which can occur as a result of a hysterectomy: anterior compartment (typically involving the collapse of the urethra and/or bladder into the vagina); middle compartment (the upper end of the vagina collapses downwards); and the posterior compartment (where the rectum falls into the vagina). The symptoms for each condition can be the same, so it’s important to obtain expert diagnosis so that the correct solution can be provided. Mr Johnathan Broome is fully qualified and has extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of prolapse.

Surgery may help

Particularly for women who had a hysterectomy in order to deal with a prolapse problem, to develop a subsequent prolapse as a result of the surgery can be incredibly distressing. Luckily there are a number of proven surgical approaches which can frequently be used to resolve the situation. As well as conservative measures such as weight management or a pessary, procedures such as a vaginal repair operation, sacrocolpopexy or sacrospinous fixation can also resolve the issue.

If you or someone you know has had a hysterectomy and is now experiencing the symptoms of a prolapse, it’s important to seek specialist medical advice as soon as possible in order to manage the problem effectively. Mr Johnathan Broome has an excellent success rate when it comes to surgical intervention for a post-hysterectomy prolapse and is always happy to assist.

 

prolapse symptoms

A problem shared: don’t ignore prolapse symptoms

Although exact figures are unknown, it is estimated that roughly 50% of women in the UK who have had children have some degree of prolapse. Pregnancy and childbirth have a major impact on the female pelvic floor and over time, this can result in severe weakening of the muscles, leading to pelvic organ prolapse. Although this is not an uncommon problem, it is believed that less than half of those with prolapse will seek medical advice for their problems, and as a result, many risk the prolapse becoming significantly worse.

Out of sight and out of mind

There are numerous reasons why doctors see so few women reporting prolapse to them. Many women only experience mild prolapse symptoms and therefore are unaware that something is seriously wrong, and that the condition can get significantly worse. Others may simply mark the problems down as a natural consequence of having children and believe it is something to put up with. Others may feel embarrassed about their condition and avoid seeking medical attention. If you are one of these people, it is time to change your outlook. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away; if you do not consider prolapse repair surgery, your symptoms will progressively become worse.

Don’t be daunted by prolapse repair procedures

Although the thought of surgery may be worrying, it is one of the most efficient methods of dealing with prolapse. Procedures such as sacrohysteropexy have a relatively short recovery time and allow women to get back to normal as quickly as possible, with no more bladder problems, pelvic pain, bleeding or discomfort during sex – all the symptoms that they may have put up with for months or years before the surgery. The surgery even allows women to go on to have more children if they wish.

Make today the first day in your journey to recovery

No matter how severe your symptoms or how long you’ve been experiencing them for, take the plunge and speak to a specialist about prolapse repair as soon as possible. The longer you wait to do this, the worse your uterus pain can become as the prolapse becomes more and more severe. Contact us today for an appointment and take the first step towards a healthy, pain-free future.