Pelvic Health & Reconstructive Surgery | Prolapse

Pelvic prolapse is a common issue, especially in women who have had 3 or more vaginal deliveries. 

At the Advanced Women’s Health Institute, we have the expertise to offer you a variety of options for treating pelvic prolapse. We’ll work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that works for you.

If you need relief from pelvic prolapse, schedule an appointment with us today.

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FAQs on Pelvic Prolapse

What is pelvic prolapse?

When tissue protrudes out of the vaginal opening we call it prolapse. Common terms include:

  • Cystocele: When the front wall of the vagina prolapses.
  • Rectocele: When the back wall of the vagina prolapses.
  • Apical: When the top part of the vagina prolapses.

What causes pelvic prolapse?

As the baby delivers vaginally the tissue that make up the pelvic floor are torn. When the tissues do not completely heal there is a gap in the pelvic supports. This is similar to a hernia. Over time the tissue stretch from coughing or heavy lifting. Women with chronic constipation are at more risk of developing prolapse.

What are the symptoms of pelvic prolapse?

The main symptom is tissue protruding from the vagina. You may see or feel a bulge. Pelvic pressure, as if things are falling out, is sometimes reported.

How is pelvic prolapse diagnosed?

A physical exam, during which you will push, is used to diagnose and stage prolapse. Three compartments are evaluated, the front wall (cystocele), the back wall(rectocele) and the apex(uterus or top of the vagina). There are four stages of prolapse and each compartment is given a stage.

  • Stage I: The tissue descends but does not go to the vaginal opening.
  • Stage II: The tissue descends to the vaginal opening.
  • Stage III: The tissue descends beyond the opening. .
  • Stage IV: All tissues, including the apex or uterus, are beyond the vaginal opening. This is also called procedentia.

How many women have pelvic prolapse?

Approximately 10-15% of women will have a prolapse surgery in their lifetime. As women choose to have smaller families prolapse issues will decline.

What is the best treatment option for pelvic prolapse?

Following the examination we will sit down and discuss options. Mild prolapse with minimal symptoms does not require surgery. Educating our patients that sex will not worsen the prolapse can relieve anxiety. Counseling on lifestyle changes such as not lifting heavy objects and correcting constipation issues can keep it from getting worse.

Higher stage prolapse does not require surgery unless you find it bothersome. A pessary is a non surgical device for treating prolapse. It is generally used in elderly women who would be at risk for significant complications. Pessaries can be used by younger women. However, there is frequently discharge and most younger women opt for surgery. 

When surgery is the choice we will describe the repair for each compartment. We offer non-robotic, advanced laparoscopic repair for the least invasive, least painful prolapse procedure.