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Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Understanding Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition where the organs in the pelvis (like the bladder, uterus, or rectum) drop down out of their normal position. This occurs when the muscles and tissues that usually support these organs become weak or damaged. Prolapse is common, especially for women who have given birth or gone through menopause. While it may seem embarrassing, it’s important to talk to your doctor if you notice any symptoms. There are many good treatment options available.

Getting a Prolapse Diagnosis

If you suspect you have a prolapse, the first step is getting an exam. Your doctor will perform a pelvic exam using a speculum to look for signs of organ dropping. They may also recommend additional tests like:

This creates images of the organs and structures in the pelvis.

Provides detailed views of the pelvic region.

Checks how the bladder, muscles, and urethra work when storing and releasing urine.

A scope exam to visually inspect the bladder.

An x-ray to examine bowel function.

These tests help identify the type of prolapse, its causes, and the best treatments.

Considering Your Prolapse Treatment Options

There are both surgical and non-surgical ways to treat prolapse. Your doctor can go over the pros and cons of each option for your situation.

Non-Surgical Treatments

  • Vaginal pessary – A device inserted to support pelvic organs. Needs regular cleaning and removal for intercourse.
  • Kegel exercises – Strengthen pelvic floor muscles.
  • Biofeedback therapy – Use monitors to help learn proper pelvic muscle control.
  • Lifestyle changes – Losing weight, quitting smoking, etc.

While non-surgical options avoid surgery risks, they may require lifelong management.

Surgical Treatments

  • Anterior/posterior repair – Stitching vaginal tissue for support.
  • Vaginal mesh – Using implanted mesh for added support.
  • Sacrocolpopexy – Anchoring the top of the vagina for support.
  • Reconstructive surgery – Repositioning dropped organs.

Talk to your surgeon about the specifics of your surgical plan.

Recovering From Prolapse Surgery

Recovery times vary, but you’ll likely need to avoid straining, heavy lifting, and intercourse for 6 weeks. Your surgeon will share your specific post-op guidelines. Be sure to attend all follow-up visits as well. Report any concerning symptoms right away.

Finding the Right Prolapse Specialist

Seeking an expert in pelvic health can help ensure you get the best care. Look for surgeons specially trained and experienced in prolapse procedures. Come prepared with questions to discussions about the pros/cons of different options.

Costs and Insurance Coverage

Most insurance plans cover prolapse treatment, but copays and deductibles apply. Confirm your specific coverage details. Don’t let finances stop you from getting treatment – many offices can offer payment plans or connect you with financial assistance.

The key is not being afraid to speak up and work with your doctor to choose the treatment approach that’s right for your situation. Relief from prolapse is possible with proper care!

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