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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 response rate was 73%, with 161 questionnaires completed. Vaginal hysterectomy, sacrospinous hysteropexy, and the Manchester Fothergill procedure were the most frequently performed surgical interventions for uterine descent. In the case of lower stage uterine descent, uterus preservation was preferred, but in the case of higher stage there was wide variation. Two thirds of the respondents stated that in recent years they tended to save the uterus more often. The registered number of hospital admissions for uterine descent increased by 30% between 1997 and 2009 and the number of surgical procedures almost doubled. The number of vaginal hysterectomies performed because of uterine descent increased by only 15% in this period.
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.
The Clinic doctors contribute to the understanding and treatment of pelvic organ prolapse through research and clinical practice. Researchers at Clinic focus on improving the diagnostic procedures and treatments used for all types of pelvic organ prolapse.