Uterine prolapse or dropped uterus is a common condition, particularly among older women. It is not a life-threatening condition but it can cause a great deal of discomfort and distress. Normally, women face this problem after menopause. If pelvic muscles which hold the uterus in its position are injured or weakened, then the uterus loses the support and hence moves downward in the pelvis below its normal position. It may fall from its normal position and bulge into the vagina.
- Pregnancy (multiple childbirth through vagina) or the trauma caused during childbirth
- The process of aging
- Excessive pelvic pressure due to constipation
- Chronic cough due to asthma and bronchitis leading to increased pressure on the abdomen
- Pelvic tumors
- Accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
- Obesity leading to excessive strain on pelvic muscles
- Decreased levels of circulating estrogen after menopause
- Weakening and loss of tissue tone after menopause
- Excessive weightlifting
- Radical surgery in the pelvic area
- Poor physical fitness due to lack of exercise
- Spinal cord condition and injury
- Genetic factors
- Grade 1: The woman is usually not even aware of the condition when the uterus drops slightly. No specific symptoms or discomfort is noticed. When only a small portion of the uterus descends into the upper part of the vagina, it is referred to as a mild prolapse.
- Grade 2: Uterus drops down into the vagina and the cervix (neck of the uterus) can be seen outside the vagina. When the uterus bulges through the vaginal opening, outside the vagina, it is considered as a serious case.
- Grade 3: Most of the uterus falls down through the vaginal opening. This severe form of dropped uterus is known as procidentia.
- A lump in front or back of the vagina or a lump protruding out of the vagina.
- A dragging sensation or heaviness in the pelvic area.
- The skin around the vagina may get irritated and infected.
- Abdominal discomfort.
- Pelvic pain or pressure in the pelvic area.
- Difficulty in bowel movements.
- Lower back pain which eases when you lie down.
- Lower back pain which worsens while lifting any object.
- Frequent and painful urination.
- Abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding.
- Excessive menstrual bleeding.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Occasional urine leakage or urine leakage while laughing, coughing or sneezing.
- Difficulty while walking.
- It is quite possible that no symptoms are noticed by the woman.
This condition can be detected with the help of renal sonography or intravenous pyelogram (IVP). The condition is diagnosed after complete pelvic examination.
- For mild prolapse (grade 1), no treatment is required.
- Overweight women need to lose weight. Proper weight loss diet and regular exercise are essential to maintain normal weight. A high fiber diet can help avoid constipation.
- Kegel exercises can help strengthen the pelvic muscles.
- Estrogen therapy or hormone replacement therapy can help avoid weakening of muscles.
- Estrogen cream or suppository ovules or rings placed inside the vagina help restore the strength of the muscles and supporting tissues.
- A vaginal pessary helps hold the uterus in place. This supportive device can be inserted into the vagina.
- Surgery (hysterectomy) to remove the uterus and excess vaginal tissues can be performed.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.