What Causes Uterine Prolapse?
As women age, it is not uncommon for them to develop some form of uterine prolapse. Even though it doesn’t cause symptoms in some cases, this condition is uncomfortable, interferes with daily life, and can be embarrassing. Understanding the causes of uterine prolapse is helpful for prevention and treatment.
The uterus is a female sex organ that holds a developing fetus. It is a pear-shaped muscular organ held in place by muscles and ligaments. But when these muscles and ligaments stretch or weaken, the uterus can start to sag or slip out of position.
Prolapse can range from moderate to severe and can be incomplete or complete. A woman has incomplete uterine prolapse when her uterus only slightly sags into the vagina or birth canal.
On the other hand, when part of the uterus protrudes through the vaginal and outside the body, it is considered a complete uterine prolapse.
Symptoms Of Uterine Prolapse
Patients may not be effected by or even notice symptoms in mild cases. But when prolapse is more severe, symptoms become more distressing. Moderate to severe uterine prolapse symptoms include:
- Lower back pain
- Trouble urinating
- Increased discharge or vaginal bleeding
- Discomfort while walking
- Pressure/fullness in the pelvis
- Feeling tissue bulging out of the vagina
Women experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor for treatment, as they can continue to worsen and impair sexual, bladder, and bowel function.
Causes Of Uterine Prolapse
As the tissue and muscles that support the uterus weaken over time, the result is uterine prolapse. Vaginal childbirth is one of the main causes of uterine prolapse, as well as certain conditions. Vaginal childbirth and other conditions weakens the pelvic floor muscles.
For example, some other conditions includes straining due to constipation and chronic coughing can contribute to this condition. Additionally, certain surgeries can also weaken muscles. And age is another notable factor. Estrogen is loss when women go through menopause, which leads to a weakening pelvic floor.
One of the leading risk factors for uterine prolapse is genetics. While this is true for many conditions, women with a family history of this condition are more likely to suffer. There are also other factors that increase the likelihood of this condition such as:
- Prior pelvic surgery
- Excessive weight lifting
- Being post-menopausal
- Having chronic constipation
- Multiple vaginal deliveries
Women who deliver large babies and women who have their baby at an older age are also at increased risk of uterine prolapse.
For more severe cases of uterine prolapse, there are non-surgical treatments. Vaginal pessary is a device that can support the uterus. One of the more common treatment options, this rubber or plastic doughnut-shaped device is custom made to fit around or under the cervix. Before having sex and frequent routine maintenance, the patient must clean the device.
When it comes to surgical options, there are two main options for this condition. Although uterine prolapse can be treated with a hysterectomy, prolapse repair may be a better option for some women. Particularly if they do not want their uterus removed, as in the case of a hysterectomy.
The prolapse repair procedure involves returning the uterus to its correct position and reattaching the pelvic ligaments to hold it in place. Regardless which treatment you’re interested in, you should thoroughly discuss the pros and cons of each option to know which is right for your unique situation.
Concerned About Uterine Prolapse? We Can Help
If you’re concerned about the causes and treatment options of uterine prolapse, our doctors want you to know you are not alone. We understand that uterine prolapse can be uncomfortable to talk about for women. But it’s a common problem many women face. We also want you to know that there are many treatment and prevention options.