Prolapse, literally meaning “to fall out of place”, is a common medical condition that affects millions of women all over the world each year. A weakening of the ligaments and muscles surrounding the uterus can lead to a variety of troublesome and unpleasant symptoms, including incontinence, pain during intercourse and back aches, as the pelvic floor struggles to hold everything in place. Without treatment, the uterus, bladder and even rectum can end up prolapsing completely out of the body.
A common misconception is that prolapse is something that only affects post-menopausal or multiparous women – those who are older or who have given birth to more than one child. This, however, is simply not true and even women in their 20s can show signs and symptoms of this distressing condition.
Why does prolapse happen?
Weakening of the ligaments and muscles in the pelvic floor occurs mainly as a result of pregnancy and childbirth, when the pelvis is put under tremendous strain through hormonal changes, the weight of the growing baby and the delivery itself. It stands to reason, therefore, that prolapse is more commonly seen in women who have given birth vaginally in the past.
The reduced oestrogen levels seen in post-menopausal women also contribute to the reduction in strength of the pelvic floor and simply getting older is another risk factor for prolapse, as is being very overweight. Like many areas of medicine, however, there are no hard and fast rules and there are many older women who have had multiple pregnancies or been very overweight without ever having had experience of prolapse.
Am I too young for prolapse?
In some instances, prolapse can occur in much younger women. The condition may result from trauma, such as from a pelvic injury or through previous gynaecological surgery. As the pelvis has many organs and structures to support, weakening of those important muscles may occur simply because of the stresses and strains of everyday life.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of prolapse, such as heightened pelvic pressure, painful intercourse, unexplained bleeding or spotting or stress incontinence, it is therefore important to get checked out. There are a variety of lifestyle changes, exercises and prescribed pessaries that can be helpful in improving these unpleasant symptoms in the first instance.
Sacrohysteropexy at The Pelvic Clinic
If you don’t see an improvement in your symptoms, you may consider undergoing a sacrohysteropexy operation. This minimally invasive procedure is carried out laparoscopically (key-hole surgery) and will put your uterus back into its original position using a flexible mesh sling. In a younger patient, this has the huge advantage of being able to solve the prolapse without the need for hysterectomy, meaning your fertility and femininity are retained.
Mr Jonathan Broome, one of the UK’s leading gynaecological surgeons, has performed thousands of sacrohysteropexy procedures at The Pelvic Clinic, with an unparalleled 100% success rate, so if you are interested in booking a consultation to discuss this or any other of our treatment options, contact us.