Many women at some point in their life begin to feel like “something is falling out” or “heaviness in the pelvis”. They complain of back pain at the end of the day, needing to use finger pressure to support a bowel movement, difficulty starting to urinate or having a weak stream of urine or not fully emptying the bladder. Leakage of urine or frequent need to urinate and pain with intercourse are also common.
These complaints are typical of women with pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse is defined as the descent of one or more of the anterior vaginal wall, the posterior vaginal wall and the apex of the vagina or vaginal vault after hysterectomy. Essentially the muscle and fascia that support the pelvic organs weaken. The pelvic organs then begin to descend into the vagina. Organs that can descend into the vagina include the bladder, the uterus, the intestines, the rectum or the vagina itself.
Nearly 50 percent of women between the ages of 50 and 79 have some type of prolapse. Risk factors associated with prolapse include genetics, ethnicity, injury to pelvic floor during delivery of baby, surgery, pelvic radiation, hysterectomy, constipation/straining, chronic coughing, smoking, chronic heavy lifting, joint hypermobility, obesity, poor posture, and hormonal changes affecting pelvic floor muscles.