Uterine prolapse, prolapse of the uterus or pelvic organ prolapse refers to the condition wherein the uterus becomes weak and ultimately collapses into the vaginal canal. The uterus is a thick walled, hollow, muscular organ that is located in the pelvic cavity. It is positioned exactly between the rectum and the bladder.
The uterus is held in place through a network of interconnected muscles and ligaments. In certain special circumstances, the ligaments which hold the uterus in place, namely the suspensitory ovarian ligament, uterosacral ligaments, broad ligament and round ligament, become weakened or destabilized causing the uterus to shift from its original position in the pelvic cavity and slip downwards towards the vaginal canal.
There are many factors which can cause the uterus to prolapse. Besides childbirth; pelvic tumors, chronic cough, multiple pregnancies and even obesity can cause the uterus to slip down from it original position. Medical research has revealed that older women are more likely to suffer from uterine prolapse than younger women.
Symptoms of Uterine Prolapse
The symptoms of uterine prolapse depend on the severity of the prolapse. In cases of mild prolapse a woman may experience few or no symptoms at all. However, if the uterine prolapse is severe a woman will experience a host of symptoms, some of which have been discussed below.
Lump In The Birth Canal
One of the very first signs of a uterine prolapse is the presence of a lump in the birth canal. This lump may be positioned at the front or the back of the birth canal. In some women, this lump extends through the length of the birth canal and may exert quite a bit of pressure on the pelvic region.
Sensation of Heaviness or Pulling in the Pelvic Region
Another typical symptom of uterine prolapse is the sensation of heaviness or pulling in the pelvic region. Normally, this uncomfortable feeling is experienced when a woman lifts a heavy object. Often the initial uncomfortable sensation gives way to excruciating pain in the lower back.
Tissue Protruding From the Vagina
Often a bulge of tissue protrudes out from the vagina when the uterus prolapses. The amount of tissue protruding out through the vagina will indicate the severity of uterine prolapse. In severe uterine prolapse, a sizeable amount of tissue will protrude out through the vaginal opening.
Difficulty Having Bowel Movements
Women who have suffered a uterine prolapse experience difficulty while emptying their bowels. Uterine prolapse can also give rise to chronic constipation.
Difficulty Urinating and Urinary Incontinence
If you have suffered a uterine prolapse, you may experience some degree of pain while urinating. The degree of pain while urinating depends on the severity of the prolapse. Women with a prolapsed uterus also suffer from urinary incontinence, especially when they cough or sneeze violently.
Pain During Sexual Intercourse
Women who have suffered a uterine prolapse often complain of excruciating pain while engaging in sexual intercourse. Uterine prolapse can also affect the tone of the vaginal tissues, with the tissues feeling loose.
Difficulty in walking, feeling of fullness in the pelvic region, debilitating back pain and a sensation of something moving through the pelvic region are other common symptoms of uterine prolapse.