Prolapse of the Uterus (Uterine Prolapse) is a condition of the women, in which the uterus (womb) descends down into the vagina (birth canal). Prolapse of the Uterus occurs when the muscles that support the uterus become weak or are damaged.
It usually affects the old aged women, but it may also be seen in young women during and after pregnancy. The common symptoms of Uterine Prolapse are feeling of something coming out of the vagina, lower back pain and difficulty in urination.
Depending upon the degree of the descent, Uterine Prolapse can be categorized into following stages:
It is not an emergency condition but negligence may lead to certain complications.
Old age related condition, may be life style induced or rarely genetic also.
Uterus is the main organ affected but other organs, such as vagina, urinary bladder, and rectum, may also be affected.
The uterus is normally held in its place by the support of various muscles that are called as the pelvic floor muscles. The following are certain factors that can lead to weakness or damage to these muscles, which may result in Uterine Prolapse:
Pregnancy: The normal delivery increases the chances of Uterine Prolapse. Women, who had multiple child births, may develop Uterine Prolapse during a pregnancy due to the increasing weight of the uterus.
o Persistent cough due to Asthma, Bronchitis, or Tuberculosis.
o Accumulation of fluid inside the abdomen due to some liver or kidney diseases.
o Large tumors of the pelvis (lower abdomen)
The first degree Uterine Prolapse usually does not produce any symptom. But women with higher degrees of Uterine Prolapse may experience the following Symptoms. The discomfort due to these symptoms is less in the morning but it worsens as the day passes.
The common symptoms are:
Most of the times, Prolapse of the Uterus can be diagnosed on the basis of the symptoms and the physical examination.
Usually, there is no laboratory tests are required. But sometimes, the following lab tests may be required to find out other associated conditions:
Various treatment options are available depending upon the degree of the Uterine Prolapse and the other associated conditions.
Estrogen Theraoy: Estrogen is a hormone that strengthens the pelvic muscles. With advancing age, the production of this hormone decreases and the chances of prolapse increases. This hormone can be given to the old women in the form of tablets or vaginal creams (to be applied in the vagina). It can also be given preventively to the post-menopausal women, whose monthly cycle has stopped.
o In young women, who may plan pregnancy in their future, the uterus may be repaired and fixed in its normal place.
o In older women with higher degrees of prolapse, usually Hysterectomy, which is removing the uterus, is considered.
o Laparoscopic Surgery: It is a modern type of surgery that leaves minimum scars on the skin. It involves insertion of surgical instruments along with a laparoscope, which is a thin tube that has a light and a camera at its tip, into the abdomen through small skin incisions. The surgery is done by looking at the monitor on which the picture inside the body is displayed.
The common complications associated with Uterine Prolapse are:
o Cystocele: Prolapse of the urinary bladder into the vagina leading to retention of the urine or loss of control over urination.
o Rectocele: It is prolapse of the rectum into the vagina causing difficulty in defection.
The treatments of Uterine Prolapse may also have following side effects such as:
The pessaries are relatively free of side effects, but in some cases they cause discomfort, impaction, infection or bleeding inside the vagina.
The following measures may help in preventing Prolapse of the Uterus: