A prolapsed uterus, or uterine prolapse, is fairly common in older women, especially those who’ve had more than one vaginal birth. So what is it? If you have uterine prolapse it means that your womb (uterus) has slipped down from it’s normal position in the pelvis and is lower in the vaginal canal.
Muscles, ligaments and tendons normally support the uterus or womb. As we age these supportive structures weaken and sometimes fail to give adequate support.
This condition is diagnosed by degrees. A first degree prolapse means that your womb has slipped slightly from it’s usual position. The cervix or neck of the womb will be lower down in the vagina than normal.
Second degree prolapse means that the whole uterus is lower down and your cervix may protrude through the labia or introitus. Third degree prolapse is when your whole womb is outside of the vagina, that is, outside your body.
Symptoms and Signs
Below are some of the things youwill possibly experience with a prolapsed uterus. Everyone is different, so notall women will have all of these symptoms.
An uncomfortable feeling offullness near the bladder region
Pressure on the bowel…wanting to empty your bowels often
A dragging sensation in thepelvis
Pain with lovemaking
Feeling like you’re sitting on asmall ball
Seeing or feeling somethinghanging down between your legs
Frequent bladder infections
Vaginal bleeding or Increased vaginal discharge
CAUSES OR RISK FACTORS
Lower levels of the hormone estrogen post-menopause
Chronic constipation, and/or coughing
Having had long ‘pushing stage’ during labor(s)
Having had several vaginal births
Very rarely a pelvic tumor
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
Some things you can do to reduce your chance of getting a uterine prolapse include the following:
Keep to a healthy weight foryour height – check your BMI
Avoid long-term constipation– eat plenty of fibre, fruit and veg. Drink 8 glasses of water a day
Include estrogen-rich food in your diet after menopause
Avoid premature ‘pushing’ in labor. Talk to your midwife or care provider about your wishes and concerns
Try to avoid an epidural inlabor as this can lead to you not being able to feel when to push; this canlead to caregivers instructing you to push too early
Pelvic floor exercises or Kegals will strengthen the muscles and ligaments that support your uterus in it’s normal position
There are many different treatments for uterine prolapse. Many women don’t need any treatment if their prolapse is mild. See your family doctor or Gynecologist if you suspect that you may have a prolapse. Surgery should always be a last resort.
In some cases, women also find that they have a bladder, vaginal wall and/or bowel prolapse too. Known as cystocele and rectocele. This obviously complicates things a bit.
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