Prolapse is caused by a weakening of tissues that support the pelvic organs. Although it isn’t a life-threatening condition, it can have a serious impact on patients’ quality of life. Sufferers may experience a variety of symptoms, some of which are very uncomfortable and can have a real effect on the way women go about their daily lives.
The front, top or back of the vagina can be affected by pelvic organ prolapse. The main types are anterior prolapse (where the bladder bulges into the front wall of the vagina), prolapse of the uterus and cervix or top of the vagina, and posterior wall prolapse (which sees the bowel push into the back wall). In some cases, women may suffer more than one type of prolapse at the same time, adding to their discomfort.
What are the symptoms of prolapse?
Potential symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse include a bulging sensation coming down or out of the vagina, pain during sex, and problems passing urine. Some women with prolapse problems may feel as if they cannot empty their bladder, while others may experience a slow stream or need to urinate more frequently. In some cases, women with prolapse problems will not experience symptoms, meaning the condition is only discovered through cervical screening or another internal examination.
How is prolapse treated?
A range of methods are used to treat the condition, including lifestyle changes, exercise and the use of a vaginal pessary. In more serious cases, such as where the womb has prolapsed out, surgery may be needed. Historically, many women have undergone a hysterectomy, with the upshot being they are unable to carry children. This can be very distressing for patients and their partners, particularly those who are pre-menopausal and yet to give birth.
However, in 2015, this course of action isn’t usually necessary. Consultant gynaecologist Mr Jonathan Broome offers sacrohysteropexy treatment for women who suffer prolapse problems, with a 100% success rate. This procedure repositions the uterus, removing the need for a hysterectomy in prolapse sufferers, so patients can still conceive and give birth to children.