What Is Uterine Prolapse?
Your uterus is held in place by ligaments and connective tissue. When these supportive structures become weak or stretched, the uterus can slip from its place in the pelvic cavity and drop down into the vagina.
What Causes Uterine Prolapse?
Uterine prolapse is more common in women who have had multiple vaginal births. Other factors that can contribute to uterine prolapse are:
- Normal aging.
- Lack of estrogen following menopause.
- Conditions such as a chronic cough and obesity, which put pressure on the pelvis.
- Repeated and long term constipation.
What are the Symptoms of Uterine Prolapse?
Women with uterine prolapse usually experience the following:
- Pressure or heaviness in the pelvic region.
- Issues with sexual intercourse.
- Low backache.
- Leaking urine or sudden urges to empty the bladder.
- Uterus and cervix that bulge into the vaginal opening.
- Repeated bladder infections.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Increased vaginal discharge.
Diagnosis of Uterine Prolapse
Your physician can diagnose your uterine prolapse during a pelvic exam. You will be asked to bear down as if you're trying to push out a baby so your doctor can determine how far the uterus has dropped. You may have mild or moderate prolapse, depending on whether your cervix drops into the lower part of the vagina or through the vaginal opening.
Treatment at Penn
Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking to control a chronic cough and avoiding heavy lifting or straining is enough to bring relief to many women. Your physician may recommend a vaginal pessary, which is a donut shaped device fitted for your vagina, much like a diaphragm, that keeps the uterus in place.
Surgical treatment isn’t performed until the prolapse symptoms are worse than the risks of having surgery. If you do require surgical treatment, know that the specialists at Penn Medicine's Department for Advanced Gynecologic Surgery have years of experience caring for women with some of the most complex gynecological conditions.
Penn Medicine surgeons and physicians offer new techniques in minimally invasive and robotic-assisted surgery. These methods lead to shortened recovery times, reduced pain and blood loss, letting you get back to your life in record time.
When you choose Penn, you choose to work with a dedicated team who continue to lead the field, advancing the science of gynecologic medicine.
Penn Programs & Services for Uterine Prolapse
Pelvic floor and bladder disorders affect women of all ages. Our urogynecology team is here to help.