Vaginal Wall and Uterine Prolapse
What is Prolapse?
Vaginal wall prolapse refers to a situation where the pelvic organs, such as the bladder, bowel, walls of the vagina and uterus, can bulge downward or herniate into the vaginal canal, or if serous enough out of the vagina entirely.
Pelvic organ prolapse is caused by damage to or weakening of the muscles or ligaments which would usually hold them in place. The most common time this occurs is during childbirth however the symptoms don't often present until later in life.
- a heavy dragging feeling in the vagina or lower back
- feeling of a lump in the vagina or outside the vagina
- urinary symptoms such as slow urinary stream, a feeling of incomplete bladder emptying, urinary frequency or urgent desire to pass urine, and urinary stress incontinence
- bowel symptoms, such as difficulty moving the bowel or a feeling of not emptying properly, or needing to press on the vaginal wall to empty the bowel
- discomfort during sexual intercourse
Prolapse can involve different parts of the vagina and uterus- Click on the Bold sections below if you want to learn more.
Anterior vaginal wall prolapse - The Front wall of the vagina
Posterior Vaginal wall prolapse - The Back wall of the vagina
Uterine prolapse - The uterus, cervix and often vaginal walls
Vaginal vault prolapse - occurs after a hysterectomy
There are many aspects to treating vaginal or uterine prolapse including
Anterior wall prolapse - Cystocele
Front wall of the vagina bulges downward. This can not only cause an uncomfortable bulge sensation but may also cause some difficulties urinating. Women might experienced slow initiation of urination, dribbling of urine at the end, incomplete emptying or the need to pass urine two times in a row.
Posterior wall prolapse - Rectocele
Back wall of the vagina bulges downward. Similar to the bulge sensation as the front ball but women are more likely to have bowel symptoms. Women may experience difficulty emptying completely, straining, pain and worsening of the prolapse, and often women might have to use a finger to replace the prolapse so they may empty their bowels properly.
The uterus, and often the walls off the vagina bulge downward. This is a mixed prolapse condition and often women can have both bowel and bladder symptoms.
Vaginal vault prolapse
The top of the vagina bulge downward after you have had a hysterectomy. Pressure on the top of the vagina when the uterus has been removed can mean that the vaginal walls become weakened and the ligaments stretch to cause a prolapse. Similar to a uterine prolapse, it is usually a mix of front, back and top walls and women can have both bowel and bladder symptoms.
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