As a woman, you grow up learning about how to keep yourself healthy, diseases to be aware of, and how to prevent health care issues from arising, but one thing you not are taught is that women can get hernias too – not just men. A pelvic organ prolapse or POP, is a hernia of the vagina and is caused by weakening of the vaginal tissues. You may hear your doctor use these terms when she talks about POP: cystocele, a dropped vagina, and rectocele, a dropped rectum.
A cystocele occurs when the wall between the bladder and the vagina weakens, leading the bladder to sag from its normal place into the vagina. Of course this can cause discomfort as well as urine leakage when making any movement that puts pressure on the bladder, such as a cough or laugh. A cystocele can range from being mild to more severe.
A Rectocele rectocele occurs when the thin wall of fibrous tissue (fascia) that separates the rectum from the vagina weakens causing the rectum to droop into the vagina. A rectocele can range from being mild to more severe.
How do I know if I have a Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Let’s do a self-care check. In the past few days or weeks, have you felt something strange sticking out beyond the opening of the vagina, have you felt something odd or in the way during sexual intercourse, have you sat down only to feel like you might have sat on something, have you urinated and felt like something is causing your urine stream to be obstructed? If your answers to this self-care check are mainly yes, then you may have a Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
How did I get a Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Get ready for this statistic: one out of three women will have a Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) at some point in their lifetime. That means that if you have two sisters, at least one of you will have a POP at some point. If you are said sister in this scenario, don’t be alarmed because the doctors at the office of Dr. Alvarez and Dr. Padron are sensitive to your needs and desires to live a normal life again and we will provide you with the help you need.
Why do so many women (remember, one in three) get POP? POP is so common because many women have vaginal childbirths. As we age, the vagina muscles that used to be strong and bounced back easily from the strains and stress of childbirth, begin to grow weaker. As these muscles weaken, other organs have greater ability to droop lower and eventually can fall into the vagina.
What are the treatments for Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
A Pelvic Organ Prolapse of any kind, whether vaginal or rectal, can cause insecurities leading to a lower quality of life. We understand this. We know that you want your body to function like it always has and we want you to move and act with confidence. At Dr. Alvarez and Dr. Padron, our doctors offer many forms of treatment such as Pessaries, Physical Therapy, native tissue prolapse repair, synthetic mesh prolapse repair, daVinci Robotic prolapse surgery, and even vaginal synthetic augmentations in the case of distinct situations. The most important thing to remember when seeking treatment, is that you do what is best for you, at your age, and for your lifestyle. Remember, this is about you, so seek out many opinions and feel confident in your decision.