Pelvic Organs Drop from Normal Position

Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when your pelvic floor weakens, and one or more of the pelvic organs drop from its normal position and pushes against the vaginal walls. Having multiple childbirths increases your risk of having pelvic organ prolapse, but it can also be caused by cancer treatment, chronic constipation, hysterectomy and obesity.

There are four types of prolapse:

  • Anterior prolapse - the prolapsed bladder drops into the vagina
  • Posterior prolapse - the rectum pushes up into the vagina
  • Small bowel prolapse - the intestine drops into the vagina
  • Vaginal vault prolapse - the top of the vagina drops into the vaginal canal or outside of the vagina
  • Uterine prolapse - the uterus drops into the vagina

The most common cause of pelvic organ prolapse is advanced age. It is more likely to affect postmenopausal women, but your risk also increases if you have a family history of prolapse, connective tissue disorders or chronic constipation.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

The symptoms of prolapse depend on what organ is dropping. Common symptoms include:

  • Backache
  • Constipation
  • Painful intercourse
  • Pressure or fullness in the pelvic area
  • Sensation that something is falling out of the vagina
  • Spotting or bleeding from the vagina
  • Urinary incontinence or bladder control issues

Prolapse is diagnosed through a physical exam by your OB/GYN or primary care doctor. You may also require additional imaging studies (X-ray, CT scan, ultrasound or MRI).

Pelvic organ prolapse can affect your quality of life and daily activities. We work with you to make sure the treatment fits your lifestyle goals. If you choose surgical repair, we specialize in minimally invasive surgery, which means smaller incisions, shorter hospital stay, less pain and a quicker return to your daily routine.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Nationally Recognized Leaders

Our pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgeons are leaders in pelvic medicine and contribute to developing innovative treatment options for pelvic organ prolapse. This commitment means you are given the newest, most effective options used to treat your condition.

Medical and Surgical Expertise

We develop personalized treatment plans depending on the cause and type of your prolapse. Often times, your condition can be treated with behavioral modifications, medications, or noninvasive stimulation therapy. When surgery is necessary, our urogynecologists use minimally invasive surgical techniques and robotic-assisted surgery to help you recover quicker, with less pain. We also have expertise in prosthetic device treatment as well as advanced vaginal repair surgical treatments using both native and synthetic tissue for support.

A Comprehensive, Multidisciplinary Team Approach

Our specialists offer more than just a comprehensive diagnosis for your pelvic organ prolapse. We are a team of medical and surgical specialists who work together to offer you both surgical and nonsurgical solutions to control your bladder. We work with your primary care physician, urologists, neurologists and colorectal surgeons to make sure you get the most comprehensive care possible.

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