Uterine Prolapse: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

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The uterus is a muscular structure that’s held in place by pelvic muscles and ligaments. If these pelvic muscles or ligaments stretch or become weak and they are no longer able to support the uterus, it will lead to prolapse.

In this article:

What is Uterine Prolapse?
Is it Dangerous?
Types of Uterine Prolapse
Different Stages
Signs and Symptoms of Uterine Prolapse
Diagnosis of Uterine Prolapse
Treatment for Uterine Prolapse
Causes of Uterine Prolapse
How Common is Uterine Prolapse?
Complications of Uterine Prolapse
Home Remedies for Uterine Prolapse

All You Need to Know About Uterine Prolapse

What is Uterine Prolapse?

Uterine prolapse is a condition when the uterus descends toward or into the vagina and happens when the pelvic floor muscles and ligaments become weak and are no longer able to support the uterus.

uterine prolapse symptoms

Is it Dangerous?

In some cases, the uterus can protrude from the vaginal opening or birth opening. Some complications can sometimes result in ulceration of exposed tissue and prolapse of other pelvic organs such as the bladder or the rectum.

Types of Uterine Prolapse

Uterine prolapse is of two types –

  • Incomplete uterine prolapse – the uterus is partially or incompletely displaced into the vagina but does not protrude.
  • Complete uterine prolapse – a portion of the uterus protrudes from the vaginal opening (birth opening).

Different Stages

Uterine prolapse is graded by its severity and determined by how far the uterus has descended –

  • 1st grade is when descended to the upper vagina
  • 2nd grade is when descended to the introitus
  • 3rd grade is when the cervix has descended outside the introitus
  • 4th grade is when cervix and uterus have both descended outside the introitus

More severe the grade and case is may need surgery but in the early stages, exercises may also help.

Signs and Symptoms of Uterine Prolapse

Symptoms vary depending on how severe the prolapse is and include –

In mild cases, there may be no signs and symptoms and can appear only sometimes often become worse toward the end of the day.

Diagnosis of Uterine Prolapse

A doctor will ask about the symptoms and perform a physical examination. While examining the pelvis, the doctor will evaluate for organ placement and vaginal tone. Tests like an ultrasound or MRI may help assess the severity of the prolapse and help in diagnosis.

Treatment for Uterine Prolapse

Uterine prolapse up to the third degree may spontaneously resolve. More severe cases may require medical treatment and include –

  • Vaginal pessary- this is a vaginal device that helps and supports the uterus and keeps it in position. Make sure it is important to follow the instructions on care, removal and insertion of the pessary. In cases of severe prolapse, a pessary can cause irritation, ulceration, sexual problems and other complications.
  • Vaginal surgery – surgical repair of a prolapsed uterus can be performed through the vagina or abdomen. It includes skin grafting or using donor tissue or other material to provide uterine suspension. A hysterectomy may be recommended.
  • Pelvic floor exercises – kegel exercises help to strengthen the vaginal muscles.

Causes of Uterine Prolapse

Pelvic floor muscles can become weak for a number of reasons such as –

  • One or more pregnancies and vaginal births
  • Factors related to delivery such as trauma, delivering a large baby or having a vaginal delivery
  • Getting older or increasing age, especially after menopause when levels of circulating estrogen drop
  • Frequent heavy lifting
  • Straining during bowel movements
  • Obesity
  • Chronic constipation or frequent straining during bowel movements
  • Chronic coughing
  • A history of pelvic surgery
  • Genetic factors leading to weakened connective tissue

How Common is Uterine Prolapse?

Uterine prolapse is a relatively common condition in which the uterus drops when the pelvic muscles become too weak to support it and can occur in women of any age but it often affects postmenopausal women more having one or more vaginal deliveries. Among women aged 55 years and above, it is one of the most common reasons for undergoing a hysterectomy.

Complications of Uterine Prolapse

Uterine prolapse is often associated with prolapse of other pelvic organs and experience –

  • Anterior prolapse (cystocele) – weakness of connective tissue separating the bladder and vagina may cause the bladder to bulge into the vagina and it is also called as the prolapsed bladder.
  • Posterior prolapse (Rectocele) – weakness of connective tissue separating the rectum and vagina may cause the rectum to bulge into the vagina.

Home Remedies for Uterine Prolapse

  • Performing kegel exercises regularly and correctly –these exercises can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles especially important after delivery.
  • Preventing and treating constipation – drink plenty of fluids and eat high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole-grain cereals. Avoid straining when using bowels.
  • Avoiding heavy lifting and using correct body mechanics whenever lifting is necessary – when lifting, use the legs instead of waist or back.
  • Managing chronic coughing – get treatment for a chronic cough or bronchitis and don’t smoke.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise – talk to the doctor to determine the ideal weight and get advice on weight-loss strategies.
  • Considering estrogen replacement therapy during menopause

Conclusion

Uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus sags or slips from its normal position and into the vagina. If there are any symptoms consult the doctor and get treatment right away.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2034734/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/305971.php#symptoms

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-prolapse/symptoms-causes/syc-20353458

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