Are You Like Susan?
What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)?
Do you ever have that “sinking sensation”? We don’t mean in the pit of your stomach. Go lower because we are talking about parts south of your stomach. If you have a sinking or heavy feeling in your pelvic region you might have pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Something may have literally “popped” out of place. Many patients with POP often feel as if something is falling out of their vagina! The Three Gs of gravidy (pregnancy), gravity, and gerontology (aging) are usually the root causes of POP. One in five U.S. women is affected by POP, and 30% of U.S. women over 50 have this condition. Almost 50% of women who have had vaginal births will develop some form of POP in their lifetime. The uterus, bladder, intestines, and rectum are all located around the vagina, and can bulge into the vagina. Who is at risk? Moms, heavy-lifters, and smokers are susceptible. POP can be brought on by chronic coughing, chronic constipation, menopause, normal aging, previous pelvic surgery (hysterectomy), or genetics.
You Know You Have POP If:
You experience any of these symptoms:
- A bulge in your vagina that ranges in size from that of small egg to that of a grapefruit
- Discomfort or pressure in your pelvis or vagina
- Difficulty having a bowel movement
- Difficulty emptying your bladder or your rectum/bowel
- Loss of urinary control with coughing, laughing or sneezing (stress urinary incontinence)
- Pain during intercourse
- Lower back pain
How the story ends
Susan visited her physician and got some help. Her physician diagnosed her condition as a cystocele, or a bladder prolapse, and recommended surgery to treat the problem. Because Susan’s prolapse was fairly advanced, her physician felt that conservative measures would not cure her symptoms. Susan has scheduled her surgery and is gearing up for the big day. Susan has every reason to feel confident as studies demonstrate a 80% anatomic cure with this procedure.