If a woman is experiencing a prolapsed uterus she is likely to notice a number of different symptoms.
A woman’s uterus is another way of referring to her womb.
It is the part of her anatomy that has the ability to house and carry a pregnancy
This organ sits in the middle of a woman’s pelvis and is generally the shape of an upside down pear. The position of a woman’s uterus can vary from person to person. Some tip slightly forwards while others can bend slightly backwards. These positions can change throughout a woman’s life but both are very normal.
The uterus is held in place by tissue and muscle. When those tissues and muscles become weakened it can affect their ability to hold the uterus in place. This can force the uterus to lower itself and move from its usual position. This is referred to as prolapse.
If a woman is experiencing a prolapsed uterus she is likely to notice a number of different symptoms. In many cases, she may feel as though it is simply hormonal or a temporary shift such as when a woman has given birth or is menopausal. In the case of a prolapsed uterus a woman may feel a sensation of something coming down the vaginal canal.
She may feel as though it is getting lower and will eventually leave the vagina. In other cases, a woman can feel very bloated or experience painful sensations when she is having sexual intercourse. Another common symptom is a weakened bladder. Stress incontinence (or leaking) can occur when she is running, sneezes or laughs for example.
Prolapse of the uterus is extremely common after a woman has given birth. It can happen in various stages of severity. In some cases, the prolapse may not affect the cervix and it may remain inside the vagina whereas in other cases the cervix can pass out of the opening of the vagina and become visible and uncomfortable. In rarer cases, the entire uterus is outside of the vagina.
There are a number of treatment routes for all cases of a prolapsed uterus. In many cases, no major treatment is required and lifestyle changes do the trick. Introducing more fibre, fruit and vegetables may help as this reduces constipation which will reduce the pressure in that general area. If a woman is over-weight weight loss may also improve the condition for her greatly.
Exercising the pelvic floor
can make a huge difference as a weakened pelvic floor makes prolapse a lot more likely. Your doctor may simply recommend pelvic floor exercises or refer you to a physiotherapist.
In other cases, medical therapies or surgery may be required. If a woman is going through the menopause she may be asked to consider hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Taking oestrogen, for example, can strengthen the Uterus and vaginal walls. This may be in the form of a cream, tablet or implant that releases the hormone.
Alternatively, a mesh or pessary may be inserted into the vagina to help hold the Uterus in place. Surgical procedures such as a hysterectomy carry more possibilities of side effects and risks but can be very effective in treating the discomfort that the prolapse causes.
If you are concerned about prolapse it is recommended to speak to your GP. They can usually make a diagnosis after a quick pelvic exam using a speculum which allows them to clearly see inside the vaginal canal and the uterus.
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.