Find relief from the pressure and pain of pelvic organ prolapse.
Treatments can strengthen and support.
Pain or pressure in your pelvis or lower back might be a sign of pelvic organ prolapse, which affects one in five women in the United States, according to the Office on Women’s Health.
Because pelvic organ prolapse can lead to urinary or fecal incontinence, many women are embarrassed to talk about their symptoms. However, you don’t need to live with the pain. There are a variety of treatments that can make you more comfortable and confident.
Like a hammock, the pelvic floor is a group of muscles and tissues in the pelvic area that supports your bladder, uterus and cervix, vagina, small bowel and rectum and keep them in the right place.
When these muscles and tissues weaken or become loose, one or more of the organs can droop and descend into or outside the vagina or rectum. The drooping is known as a prolapse.
For women, the most common type of pelvic organ prolapse is cystocele, which is when the bladder protrudes into the vagina.
You might feel as though something is protruding into the vagina or slipping out of it. In addition to pressure, you might have some achiness. These sensations might happen more often when you’re physically active or having sex. The might get worse when you stand for a long time or cough, and there might be bleeding and discharge.
If the bladder has dropped, you might leak urine or feel as though you frequently need to urinate. If the rectum has prolapsed, you may experience problems having a bowel movement, constipation or fecal incontinence.
You might have only a few symptoms with a significant prolapse or many symptoms with a small amount of drooping. Alert your health care provider about any pressure or achiness in the pelvic area—no matter how small.
Pelvic organ prolapse is rarely life-threatening. However, treatments can help if the prolapse is causing you pain or discomfort.
In some cases, Kegel exercises are all you need to strengthen the pelvic floor. To do them correctly, you need to contract and hold specific muscles. Your health care provider or a physical therapist can help you locate them.
Other treatments include: