Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when muscles and ligaments in the pelvis become weakened, allowing the uterus to drop downward into the vaginal area. This may result in uncomfortable pressure, urine leakage, painful intercourse, bladder infections, vaginal discharge/bleeding and other issues.
Many women experience prolapse as part of the aging process, particularly if they’ve given birth vaginally. If you are experiencing signs of prolapse, it may be time to see a specialist.
SLUCare Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery offers evaluation and diagnosis for pelvic organ prolapse, along with a variety of treatment options to relieve symptoms and help you return to a better quality of life.
Pelvic floor strengthening exercises help rehabilitate and strengthen pelvic floor muscles to keep the vaginal opening closed and support the pelvic organs. The best candidates for pelvic floor physical therapy are women with stage 2 prolapse or less. Our team may refer you to a female pelvic floor physical therapist who specializes in assisting women with pelvic floor weakness, pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence and fecal incontinence.
Vaginal pessary - A pessary is a silicone device that inserts into the vagina to provide support and alleviate symptoms of prolapse. This non-surgical treatment may be an option even for women with severe prolapse. Pessaries come in different sizes and shapes; your physician will work with you to determine which style is most effective for your needs. The optimal pessary should be supportive and improve your symptoms, without causing discomfort.
Your SLUCare physician will also discuss with you how to clean your pessary, how often it should be replaced, and what to do if you experience complications, such as bleeding, discharge or irritation. If pessary use is uncomfortable or complications arise, there are surgical options for treatment of prolapse.
For some women, reconstructive surgery may be the most effective way to relieve symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse. Through surgery, the affected organs are restored to their correct anatomic location.
There are different surgical approaches to pelvic organ prolapse, some of which may require an abdominal incision, but many of which are minimally invasive. Some are performed through the vagina, others through small abdominal incisions via laparoscopic surgery or robotic surgery.
Minimally invasive approaches offer many benefits: improved cosmetic results, less pain in recovery, lower infection risk, shorter time in the hospital, quicker return to activity, and improved patient satisfaction.
Your SLUCare surgeon can determine whether minimally invasive surgery is the right approach for your unique condition. Moreover, you can count on your SLUCare team to listen to your concerns and answer your questions throughout every stage of your care.
Mary McLennan, MD
Fah Che Leong, MD
Andrew Steele, MD
Jennifer Bickhaus, MD
Alexander Hubb, MD
For an appointment, call 314-977-7455 or schedule online with a SLUCare urogynecology specialist.