Creating Waves of Awareness
Uterine prolapse occurs when pelvic floor muscles and ligaments stretch and weaken, providing inadequate support for the uterus. The uterus then descends into the vaginal canal. Uterine prolapse often affects postmenopausal women who've had one or more vaginal deliveries.
Damage to supportive tissues during pregnancy and childbirth, effects of gravity, loss of estrogen, and repeated straining over the years all can weaken your pelvic floor and lead to uterine prolapse. If you have mild uterine prolapse, treatment usually isn't needed.
But if uterine prolapse makes you uncomfortable or disrupts your normal life, you might benefit from treatment. Options include using a supportive device (pessary) inserted into your vagina or having surgery to repair the prolapse.
you may experience the following:
> Sensation of heaviness or pulling in your pelvis
> Tissue protruding from your vagina
> Urinary difficulties, such as urine leakage or urine retention
> Trouble having a bowel movement
> Low back pain
> Feeling as if you're sitting on a small ball or as if something is falling out of your vagina
> Sexual concerns, such as sensing looseness in the tone of your vaginal tissue Symptoms that are less bothersome in the morning and worsen as the day goes on
Tests and diagnosis:
Tests or exams to diagnose uterine prolapse include:
Pelvic exam > Your doctor will perform a complete pelvic exam to check for signs of uterine prolapse. You may be examined while lying down and while standing up. Your doctor may ask you to bear down as if having a bowel movement to see how much that affects the degree of prolapse. To check the strength of your pelvic muscles, you may also be instructed to contract them, as if you are stopping the stream of urine.
Questionnaire > You may fill out a form that helps your doctor assess your degree of prolapse and how much it affects your quality of life. Information gathered also helps guide treatment decisions.
Imaging tests > Imaging tests aren't generally needed for uterine prolapse, but they're sometimes helpful in assessing the degree of prolapse. Your doctor may recommend an ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to further evaluate your condition.
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