A healthy and well-functioning pelvic floor keeps the pelvic organs (bladder, uterus, vagina, small intestines, and rectum) in place. Sometimes, the pelvic floor weakens or becomes injured, causing what’s known as pelvic organ prolapse (POP), a condition in which the pelvic floor fails to sustain its function. The muscles that support the pelvic organs weaken, and a “prolapse” occurs — the organs sag into the vaginal canal or the anus and in some cases, the organs stop working.
The Association for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support estimates that about 34 million women in the world experience POP. Some estimates report that the number is closer to 50% of the global female population, which classifies this as a common problem. Women who experience the following have a higher risk of developing the POP:
- Advanced age
- Family history of POP
- Sustained pressure on the abdomen
POP affects a woman’s daily life so significantly that it requires immediate treatment. Treated on time, POP can be fully reversible, so it pays to be familiar with its symptoms and work out a plan with your doctor.
The Symptoms of POP
Voices for PFD, an organization that helps women with pelvic floor disorders, says some women have no symptoms at all. Others, however, may feel the following:
- Pressure or fullness in the pelvic area – Often, this sensation feels worse when you’re standing or coughing. And it grows worse as the day goes on. The pain subsides when you’re lying down but the prolapse is still there.
- Feeling something falling out of the vagina – In some cases, you might feel like you’re sitting on a ball or be forced to push the prolapse back in place to function.
- Backache – This may be a sign that the small intestine or the uterus has prolapsed.
- Painful intercourse – This might signal prolapse (enterocele, rectocele, cystocele or uterine prolapse).
- Urinary problems – These include leaking urine and a frequent urge to urinate. A woman may find it difficult starting the stream of urine or emptying the bladder. Sometimes, urine leaks during intercourse. These issues might indicate cystocele.
- Bowel movement problems – Some women need to push on the vagina to move their bowel. During intercourse, some experience leaking of stool. And in serious cases, women must place their fingers into or around the vagina in order to move the bowel.
- Constipation – A sign of rectal prolapse (rectocele).
- Bleeding or discharge from the vaginal opening – Exposed skin may bleed and leave a mark on pads and underwear.
- Problems inserting tampons – Since the organs are prolapsing, the tampons might not settle comfortably in the vaginal canal. In some cases, tampons can even be expelled out the vagina.
- A bulge of tissue at the vaginal opening – The prolapse could be so advanced that women can see a bulge at the opening of the vagina.
Treatment of POP
Currently, there are three types of remedies for POP. Bear in mind that the treatments depend on the severity of the symptoms.
- Physical – Kegel exercises can strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor.
- Mechanical – Medical professionals can advocate the use of a pessary, a small device inserted into the vagina to support prolapsing organs. This should be fit and usage of it should be instructed by medical professionals.
- Surgical – Surgery can repair or remove the prolapsing organ. There are a variety of surgical options so this should be discussed with a medical professional. POP Medical has developed a minimally invasive surgical option. The NeuGuide™ device and procedure is an innovative surgical system that involves no mesh implant and a minimal incision, so the recovery period – is short (only a few days).
When you’re at risk for POP, it’s best to have yourself checked by a physician, particularly a urogynecologist or urologist who specializes in treating pelvic floor symptoms. Early diagnosis makes treatment easier and mitigates the damage that the condition can cause. Schedule a consultation with your physician if you notice these symptoms.
The NeuGuide™ Implant is NOT intended for use on the following:
Do not use the NeuGuide™ device on patients undergoing anticoagulation therapy.
Do not use the NeuGuide™ device on patients with an autoimmune disease affecting connective tissue.
Do not use the NeuGuide™ device on patients under 18 years.
Do not use the NeuGuide™ device on patients with pre-existing conditions that pose an unacceptable surgical risk.
Do not use the NeuGuide™ device on patients with known Nickel or Ni / Ti allergy.
Do not use the NeuGuide™ device on pregnant women or those considering future pregnancy