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What Happens When Things Fall Down- Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Posted Oct 01 2010 5:51pm

While you might have expected gravity and time to take a toll on your face and "the girls", who would have thought that same thing could happen to your insides? Well, we are here to tell you stuff happens. Things (more specifically you bladder, uterus and rectum) can fall down and dare we mention ....out.

But what would make you suspect that something had fallen down?

Do you have a funny feeling something is not right down there-things just aren't what they used to be?
Do you ever feel
  • Heaviness in the pelvis?
  • Feeling like you're sitting on something?
  • You wipe and something is there that wasn't before?
  • Things are falling out?
  • Something is in the way?
  • Your tampon won't stay in?
  • You need to lean forward to completely empty your bladder?

What's going on down there? You could have pelvic organ prolapse. None of these symptoms can identify which organ is prolapsing (falling down). These symptoms might suggest that something is heading south. Only your doctor or nurse practitioner can diagnose the specific organ (s) that may be the source of your symptoms. During your appointment don't be afraid to discuss the nitty gritty, don't hold back they've heard and seen it all. Be sure to bring up

  • changes in bowel or bladder habits

  • that you need to lean forward to completely empty

  • that you need to place your thumb between your vagina and rectum to help you "poop"
  • sex is painful, you are getting poked
None of these symptoms are specific to one organ but letting your doctor know about them can help direct his/her exam.

Just so we are all speaking the same language, let's define some basic terms. Think of this as a crash course in pelvic organ prolapse. These are the terms that describe what is happening when things fall down.
  • When your uterus begins to fall down into the vagina it is called uterine prolapse.
  • When your bladder leans into the anterior vaginal wall it is called a cystocele.
  • When your rectum leans into the posterior vaginal wall it is called a rectocele.
As you might imagine there are still other organs that can prolapse but these are the ones that get your attention.

If you think that you might have pelvic organ prolapse, we encourage you to see your health care professional for diagnosis and care.

Be Well
Mary and Kathleen
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