Pelvic Support Problems

As a woman ages, the effects of childbirth, injury, or other health issues can cause her pelvic floor muscles to weaken. When this occurs, the pelvic organs can lose their support and begin to drop down out of normal position, causing a bulge. This is commonly referred to as pelvic prolapse and the organs affected include the urethra, bladder, small intestines, rectum, uterus, and vagina.

Women with pelvic support problems may experience incontinence or difficulty emptying their bladder or rectum, vaginal protrusion, sensations of pressure or fullness, pelvic and/or low back pain, or the sensation that something is "falling out."

If you suffer from any of these symptoms, contact your gynecologist. He or she will perform a pelvic examination to determine if prolapse is the cause. Your doctor may then request further tests, such as an ultrasound or an MRI of your pelvis, to obtain a better view of the pelvic organs and support muscles.

You should know that prolapse affects millions of women and it is a very treatable condition. For example, performing Kegel exercises can strengthen the muscles that surround the openings of the urethra, vagina and rectum. Also, depending upon the organ affected, there are a number of surgical options that can offer relief. Click on the links in the sidebar to learn more about the condition and the treatment alternatives available. And, be sure to contact your gynecologist if you experience any of the symptoms associated with prolapse.

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