Do you ever feel a bulge or lump in your vagina, or experience a heavy or dragging sensation in your pelvic area? If so, you may be experiencing a vaginal prolapse, a common condition that affects many women worldwide.
In this blog post, we'll discuss what vaginal prolapse is, how it occurs, and the different types of prolapse. We'll also cover the treatments that are available for managing vaginal prolapse, and some steps you can take to prevent it.
What is Vaginal Prolapse?
Vaginal prolapse occurs when the pelvic organs, such as the bladder, uterus, or rectum, bulge into the vaginal canal. This can happen when the muscles and tissues that support the pelvic organs become weakened, often due to pregnancy, childbirth, menopause, or other factors.
Types of Vaginal Prolapse
There are different types of vaginal prolapse, and they are classified based on the location of the prolapsed organ. The types include:
Cystocele - this is a prolapse of the bladder into the front wall of the vagina.
Rectocele - this is a prolapse of the rectum into the back wall of the vagina.
Uterine prolapse - this is a prolapse of the uterus into the vagina.
Vaginal vault prolapse - this occurs in women that have previously had a hysterectomy and is when the top of the vagina falls down into the vaginal canal.
Symptoms of Vaginal Prolapse
The symptoms of vaginal prolapse vary depending on the type of prolapse. However, some common symptoms include:
Bulging sensation in the vagina
Lump in the vagina
Feeling like something is falling out of the vagina
A heavy or dragging sensation in the vagina
Pain or discomfort during sex
Difficulty emptying the bladder or bowel and feeling of incomplete emptying
The sensation of sitting on something and constant rubbing of the vagina against underwear
There are several treatment options available for vaginal prolapse, depending on the severity of the condition and the type of prolapse.
Mild cases of vaginal prolapse can be managed with pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. It is also important to engage those muscles while lifting or pushing to help prevent mild prolapse from worsening. Women can also use a pessary, a small device that is inserted into the vagina to support the pelvic organs.
For more severe cases of vaginal prolapse, surgery may be necessary. Surgery can involve repairing the weakened tissues in the pelvic floor and may include a hysterectomy in cases of advanced degree of uterine prolapse.
At Women's Health Plus, the Women's Health GP’s and Gynaecologist are experts in diagnosing and treating vaginal prolapse and can provide the best advice on which treatment options are most suitable.
Prevention of Vaginal Prolapse
While vaginal prolapse cannot always be prevented, there are some steps women can take to reduce their risk. These include:
Practicing good pelvic floor hygiene by avoiding heavy lifting, constipation, and chronic coughing
Maintaining a healthy weight
Performing pelvic floor exercises regularly, such as Kegels
Appropriate choice of exercises that don’t place too much strain on the pelvic floor (an excellent resource is https://www.pelvicfloorfirst.org.au/)
Avoiding smoking, which can weaken the pelvic floor muscles and cause excessive coughing
Use of the Neotonus Chair which utilises electromagnetic stimulation to engage and activate the pelvic floor muscles to assist in strengthening them
Maintain vaginal health in the perimenopausal and postmenopausal period by using local oestrogen creams or pessaries, vaginal laser and other vaginal rejuvenation options
Vaginal prolapse is a common condition that can affect women of all ages. If you're experiencing symptoms of vaginal prolapse or have any questions about the condition, don't hesitate to reach out to Women's Health Plus. Our team of experienced and compassionate doctors and nurses are here to provide you with the care and support you need. Book an appointment with us today to take the first step towards feeling better.
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