Uterine Prolapse - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus protrudes out of the vagina due to weakness of pelvic floor muscles and ligaments that fail to provide enough support. Under normal conditions, the uterus is held up by various muscles and ligaments that keep it in its designated place. But due to childbirth or difficult labor during delivery, they may weaken and are no longer able to hold the uterus in its place. Moreover, as the woman ages, the levels of estrogen decline, which can also lead to uterine prolapse. It can occur in women of any age group but is more common in the ones who are reaching their menopause- around the age of 55. 


Generally, mild uterine prolapse does not need any treatment, but if it interferes with your daily life activities and makes you uncomfortable, you may need treatment, which is a hysterectomy- complete removal of the uterus. It can lead to further complications like;


Cystocele- A condition in which bulging or herniation of the upper front vaginal wall occurs where a part of the urinary bladder protrudes into the vagina. It can result in urinary incontinence, urinary urgency, and increased frequency. 


Enterocele- A condition in which bulging or herniation of the upper rear vaginal wall occurs where a part of the bowel protrudes into the vagina. It can lead to backache.


Rectocele- A condition in which bulging or herniation of the lower rear vaginal wall occurs where a part of the rectum protrudes into the vagina. It can lead to difficulty in emptying the rectum and doing the bowel movement. 


Symptoms 


Generally, mild uterine prolapse does not cause any bothersome symptoms. But when it progresses it may cause the following signs and symptoms. 


  • Pelvic heaviness 

  • Pelvic pulling

  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding  

  • Unexplained increase in vaginal discharge

  • Difficulty having sexual intercourse

  • Urinary leakage 

  • Urinary retention 

  • Infections of the urinary bladder 

  • Difficulty in bowel movement 

  • Constipation 

  • Lower back pain

  • Uterine protrusion from the vaginal opening

  • Sensations like you are sitting on a ball 

  • A sensation that something is falling out of the vagina

  • Weak vaginal tissues


Causes 


Under normal conditions, the uterus is held up by various muscles and ligaments that keep it in its designated place. But due to childbirth or difficult labor during delivery, they may weaken and are no longer able to hold the uterus in its place. Moreover, as the woman ages, the levels of estrogen decline, which can also lead to uterine prolapse. It can occur in women of any age group but is more common in the ones who are reaching their menopause- around the age of 55. Causes that can weaken the muscles that hold the uterus can be;


  • Pregnancy

  • Difficult labor or delivery 

  • Trauma during childbirth

  • Delivering a large baby

  • Being overweight or obese

  • Lower estrogen level after menopause

  • Chronic constipation or straining with bowel movements

  • Chronic cough or bronchitis

  • Lifting heavyweights


Risk factors 


Factors that raise the chances of uterine prolapse are;


  • Being obese

  • Prior pelvic surgery

  • Chronic constipation 

  • Frequent straining during bowel movements

  • Family history of weakness in connective tissue

  • One or more pregnancies 

  • Vaginal births

  • Giving birth to a large baby

  • Increasing age

  • Being Hispanic or white


Conclusion 


Uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus protrudes out of the vagina due to weakness of pelvic floor muscles and ligaments that fail to provide enough support. Under normal conditions, the uterus is held up by various muscles and ligaments that keep it in its designated place. But due to childbirth or difficult labor during delivery, they may weaken and are no longer able to hold the uterus in its place. Moreover, as the woman ages, the levels of estrogen decline, which can also lead to uterine prolapse. It can occur in women of any age group but is more common in the ones who are reaching their menopause- around the age of 55. Generally, mild uterine prolapse does not need any treatment, but if it interferes with your daily life activities and makes you uncomfortable, you may need treatment, which is a hysterectomy- complete removal of the uterus.


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