Pelvic organ prolapse is the abnormal descent or herniation of the pelvic organs from their normal attachment sites or their normal position in the pelvis. The pelvic structures that may be involved include the uterus (uterine prolapse) or vaginal apex (apical vaginal prolapse), anterior vagina (cystocele), or posterior vagina (rectocele). Many parous women may have some degree of prolapse when examined; however, most prolapses are not clinically bothersome without specific pelvic symptoms, and they may not require an intervention.
The risk of UI was higher in AT group (odds ratio: 2.90; 95% CI: 1.50-5.61), mostly among artistic gymnastics and trampoline, followed by swimming and judo athletes. Whereas, AT group reported less straining to evacuate (OR: 0.46; 95% CI: 0.22-0.96), manual assistance to defecate (OR: 0.24; 95% CI: 0.05-1.12), and a higher stool frequency (OR: 0.29; 95% CI: 0.13-0.64) than NAT group. The occurrence of loss of gas and sexual symptoms was high for both groups when compared with literature, although with no statistical difference between them. Pelvic organ prolapse was only reported by nonathletes. Athletes are at higher risk to develop UI, loss of gas, and sexual dysfunctions, either practicing high-impact or strong-effort activities. Thus, pelvic floor must be considered as an entity and addressed as well. Also, women involved in long-term high-impact and strengthening sports should be advised of the impact of such activities on pelvic floor function and offered preventive PFD strategies as well.
If you do not have any symptoms or if your symptoms are mild, you do not need any special follow-up or treatment beyond having regular checkups. If you have symptoms, prolapse may be treated with or without surgery. Often the first nonsurgical option tried is a pessary. This device is inserted into the vagina to support the pelvic organs. Targeting specific symptoms may be another option. Kegel exercises may be recommended in addition to symptom-related treatment to help strengthen the pelvic floor. Weight loss can decrease pressure in the abdomen and help improve overall health. If your symptoms are severe and disrupt your life, and if nonsurgical treatment options have not helped, you may want to consider surgery.
Faculty at Johns Hopkins have been actively involved in research on the anatomy of vaginal support and the causes of pelvic organ prolapse. In addition, women with prolapse who receive their care at Hopkins may be eligible to participate in one of several ongoing research studies, some sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. One project is designed to determine which types of pessaries provide the best results for women with pelvic organ prolapse. Several other projects will determine which surgeries are most successful for treating women with certain types of pelvic organ prolapse.