Doctor's Notes on Vaginal Prolapse
Vaginal prolapse describes a condition in which pelvic organs such as the uterus, rectum, bladder, urethra, small bowel, or the vagina itself begin to lose their normal position and sink into the vagina. Prolapse occurs when the supporting tissues such as the skin and muscles of the pelvis weaken or lose their capacity to support the pelvic organs. Eventually, prolapsed structures may even pass through the vaginal opening if their supporting tissues become weak enough.
The most common symptom of vaginal prolapse is a sensation that tissues in the vagina are out of place, There may be a protrusion or sense of pressure in the vaginal area.
Associated symptoms may include:
- pressure in the vagina or pelvis,
- painful sexual intercourse (dyspareunia),
- urinary tract infection,
- problems emptying the bowels,
- constipation, and
- leakage of urine (stress incontinence).
What Is the Treatment for Vaginal Prolapse?
Conservative or nonsurgical treatment options may be appropriate for some women. These may include:
- Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
- Weight loss
- Pessary (small device inserted into the vagina to hold the prolapsed tissues in place)
More severe cases may require surgical repair. The type of surgical procedure depends on the type of vaginal prolapse present.
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UltrasoundUltrasound (sonography, Doppler study) is a non-invasive diagnostic medical procedure performed to exam the internal organs and tissues of the body. There are several types of ultrasound, including 2D, 3D and 4D. An abdominal ultrasound is commonly used to examine the fetus during pregnancy, while a transvaginal ultrasound may be used to assess non-pregnancy symptoms
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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.