Pelvic organ prolapse is the third most common pelvic floor disorder and it involves the descent of the bladder, urethra, small intestine, rectum, uterus, or vagina from their normal position. This may be caused by weakness or injury to the ligament, connective tissue, and muscles of the pelvis. Factors commonly contributing to the development of these disorders include pregnancy, childbirth, obesity, age, injury, surgery, straining, and/or heavy lifting.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse Disorders

  • Cystocele: Develops when the bladder descends down and protrudes into the front wall of the vagina. A person may experience stress/ urge incontinence or fullness in the perineal region.
  • Uterine prolapse: Uterus descends into the vaginal canal at varying degrees, can cause vaginal pressure/discomfort and low back pain.
  • Vagina vault prolapse: Possible complication post-hysterectomy where the vagina drops from its position and into the vaginal canal.
  • Rectocele: When the rectum drops down and protrudes into the back wall of the vagina. Rectocele can make having a bowel movement difficult and can contribute to constipation.
  • Enterocele: When the small intestine and the lining of the abdominal cavity bulge downward between the vagina and the rectum. Typically can be described as a feeling of fullness or pressure or pain in the pelvis and/or pain in the lower back.
  • Mixed incontinence: A combination of stress and urge incontinence.
  • Nocturia: Frequent nighttime urination.
  • Stress incontinence: Unintended leakage of urine as a result of physical stress (e.g, coughing, sneezing, or lifting).
  • Urge incontinence: Leaking urine that accompanies a strong feeling or urge to urinate.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse Symptoms

  • Increased discomfort with prolonged standing, relieved by lying down.
  • Low back discomfort that worsens as the day progresses.
  • Incomplete bowel or bladder emptying.
  • Urinary frequency, urgency, hesitancy, stopping and starting of the urine stream, painful urination, or incomplete emptying.
  • Protrusion from posterior/anterior vaginal wall.
  • Need to reposition during bowel movement.
  • Difficulty evacuating rectum with the need to use the splinting technique.

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