A woman’s uterus is her primary reproductive organ, and this organ is more commonly known as her womb. It is the space where she grows and carries a baby until birth. It is also responsible for her menstrual cycles. The uterus is held in place in the body by a variety of connective and supportive tissues. There are instances when health conditions develop in the uterus, and one of the more common and serious conditions is a prolapsed uterus. This is a condition that requires a medical response, and it is important that all women understand the signs and treatment options available for a prolapsed uterus.
What Is a Prolapsed Uterus?
The uterus is typically a rounded organ that is held in place and that maintains its shape through muscles and ligaments that are attached to it. These muscles, ligaments and tissues can weaken, and when they do, the uterus can drop downward and pass into the vaginal canal. When this happens, you have a prolapsed uterus.
A prolapsed uterus most commonly caused by age as well as by childbirth. It can also be caused by specific medical conditions, such as pelvic tumors, obesity, chronic coughing and more. Even straining while using the bathroom and frequently lifting heavy items at work or home can be causes.
You should contact your doctor as soon as possible if you believe that you may have a prolapsed uterus. Some of the signs of a prolapsed uterus include pain in the lower back, painful intercourse, painful walking, feeling pressure in your pelvis or feeling something come out of your vagina, difficulty urinating, difficulty with bowel movements or recurrent urinary tract infections.
Types of Uterine Prolapse
There are four many classifications for a prolapsed uterus, and these classifications describe the severity of the issue:
- With a first-degree prolapsed uterus, the cervix has declined into a position so that it is in the upper portion of the vagina.
- With a second-degree prolapse, the cervix is located just above to the vagina’s opening.
- A third-degree prolapsed uterus means that the cervix is just at the opening of the vagina.
- The most serious condition is a fourth-degree prolapse when the cervix is partially outside the opening of the vagina and you may visibly see or touch it if this is the case. The most extreme fourth-degree prolapse is called procidentia. It means that the entire uterus has passed outside of the body and the vagina has turned inside out and hangs outside between the legs like a sac and is very uncomfortable and frequently painful. .
Prolapsed Uterus Treatment Options
There are several ways to treat a prolapsed uterus, and surgery is typically only reserved for the most serious cases and only after non-surgical treatments have been attempted or discussed.
- With minor cases, you may be asked to perform Kegel exercises on your own at home. These are exercises that can increase the strength of your vaginal floor muscles. Doing so can keep the uterus in its proper position.
- If the condition has been caused by age, hormone replacement therapy may work well as a component to treatment. Estrogen suppositories or cream are generally applied to the vagina to provide rather fast results.
- Surgery is another treatment option available for a prolapsed surgery. The primary surgery for this condition involves elevating the prolapsed pelvic tissues and often is coupled with a hysterectomy to remove the uterus from the body. During the surgery, additional steps to the procedure may be taken to improve the strength of ligaments throughout this region of the body.
- When none of these treatments are ideal, the woman may also choose to wear a special device called a pessary. It is worn in the vaginal canal, and its job is to support the vagina and to prevent the uterus from entering the vagina.
Prolapsed Uterus Treatment Outcome
There are three main types of surgery that your doctor may recommend if you have a serious prolapsed uterus or if your condition is not improving through other treatment options:
- The three common types of surgery is laparoscopic, robotic laparoscopic, and vaginal, and they are typically reconstructive in nature. With this option, the supportive nature of ligaments may be restored.
- The second type of surgery may include a hysterectomy. The uterus is removed from the body, and the woman becomes infertile and no longer has monthly cycles or bleeding. Usually pelvic ligaments that used to support the uterus are tightened and then reattached to the top of the vagina for support.
- The last resort surgical option is an obliterative surgery. With this type of treatment, the vagina is narrowed and closed completely with the purpose of closing the prolapse opening to support the vagina. This surgery makes future sexual intercourse impossible.
There are risks and complications associated with all surgeries. However, most women who have surgery for a prolapsed uterus are able to recover normally and quickly without difficulty
The recovery time for a woman who has had a prolapsed uterus varies substantially based on the type of treatment she pursues. Kegel exercises that are used to strength the pelvic floor muscles may begin to show results for the condition within a few weeks or less. The supportive device worn inside the uterus may provide immediate relief for the discomfort that is associated with a prolapsed uterus.
Hormone replacement therapy may begin to show results for the woman within a week or less in some cases. If surgery is the treatment selected, the type of surgery will play a role in recovery time. Many of these surgeries may require several weeks of recovery time.
Rest and abstinence are necessary during this time. Driving, walking, showering, sitting, and stair climbing can be resumed in less than 24 hours after surgery. The woman should avoid lifting heavy objects while recovering from vaginal or uterine surgery. The prognosis of a woman who has a prolapsed uterus is very good. Prolapse can be a painful, uncomfortable condition that can cause immediate concern, but rest assured that there are several treatment options available that can produce wonderful results.
If you have noticed signs of a prolapsed uterus, it is important that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. When you have been diagnosed with this condition early, you can typically enjoy exceptional results through a non-surgical treatment option. On the other hand, when the issue is not treated promptly, it can become more serious. The likelihood of needing surgery increases in these cases. Now is the time to set up an appointment with your doctor to begin the testing process and to determine if you have a prolapsed uterus.
IMAGE SOURCE: Fleur Woman’s Health