If you experience discomfort and pain from pelvic organ prolapse that doesn’t respond to lifestyle changes or nonsurgical treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery to address your symptoms. Let’s take a look at the surgical alternatives for a POP procedure.
What is POP or Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse or POP is a disorder in which one or more of your pelvic organs fall from their typical position and protrude into the vagina. Pelvic organ prolapse can involve various organs surrounding the vagina such as the uterus, small bowel, the bladder or the rectum. You may have heard your doctor refer to different conditions involving different organs as enterocele, cystocele or rectocele. An enterocele occurs when the small bowel descends into the lower pelvic cavity and pushes on the top part of the vagina creating a bulge. A cystocele occurs when the muscles between the bladder and vagina weaken allowing the bladder to bulge into the vagina. A rectocele is when the front wall of the rectum bulges into the back wall of the vagina. Any one of these conditions may or may not cause symptoms depending on a woman’s lifestyle and the severity of the condition.
When Should You Consider Surgery to Treat POP
There are various symptoms of POP that woman can feel or see. It is proven that most women, especially after child birth, have a mild prolapse which means that organs drop down slightly, but don’t protrude from the opening of a woman’s vagina. In these cases, women generally don’t experience any symptoms or discomfort. But women who have severe prolapse will experience symptoms such as uncomfortable or painful intercourse, feelings of heaviness or fullness in the pelvic area, aching or pulling feeling in the pelvis or lower abdomen, as well as difficulty urinating and having a bowel movement.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and they are affecting your activities of daily living, then your doctor may recommend surgery. This is a test.
Top 5 Surgical POP Alternatives
Anterior & Posterior Repair
Anterior and Posterior repair of the vagina is called a colporrhaphy. A colporrhaphy is a minimally obtrusive procedure used to fix pelvic organs that have dropped out of their typical positions. This type of procedure is used to repair the support tissues that have weakened and usually hold the pelvic organs in Repairing the weakened tissue restores the organs to their normal function and position and eliminates the vaginal bulge. Historically, this procedure was done using sutures and can be performed without the use of mesh material. The anterior procedure is used to tighten the anterior or front wall of the woman’s vagina. The procedure is used when the bladder drops out and bumps into the front of the woman’s vagina. This causes the front wall to sag and it is a condition known as cystocele, anterior wall prolapse or dropped bladder. The posterior procedure is used to tighten the posterior or the back wall of the woman’s vagina. The procedure is used when the rectum drops out and bumps into the back of the woman’s vagina. This causes the back wall to sag which results in bowel dysfunction. It is a condition known as rectocele, posterior wall prolapse, or fallen rectum.
Uterosacral Ligament Suspension
This procedure is specially designed to restore the support to the vagina by attaching the apex of the vagina to the uterosacral ligament. This procedure can be performed abdominally or vaginally without the use of mesh material. With this procedure, the top of the vagina is lifted up and held in place. This procedure has been proven to have excellent results, however, it may require re-evaluation in a few years based on a woman’s activity level.
This procedure is similar to the Uterosacral procedure except it restores support to the vagina by attaching the apex of the vagina to the sacral promontory. This procedure is done abdominally either through an incision or more recently by laparoscopic surgical approach. The Sacro-Colpopexy can be done with sutures and without the use of mesh material. Discuss the alternatives with your doctor.
This procedure includes the removal of the vaginal epithelium and it is recommended for older patients who no longer want to be sexually active. Total colpocleisis is a technique for women who don’t have a uterus and LeFort is a technique for women who have a uterus. By closing the vaginal opening, the pelvic organ prolapse can be eliminated.
It is a non-surgical alternative for women who prefer this kind of option for prolapsed organs. The pessaries are silicone devices that can be found in a variety of sizes and shapes. They are placed into the woman’s vagina to hold the pelvic organs in normal place. This procedure demands expert knowledge on how to choose the right pessary and how to fit it into the woman’s vagina.
A Final Word
Pelvic organ prolapse is usually a result of weakened pelvic tissues that develop a bulge, similar to a hernia, in the vagina. Although POP is strongly connected to labor and vaginal delivery, it can be caused by a multitude of different factors. Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a common problem among women, and given the aging of the US population, complaints related to pelvic floor disorders are increasing. Some studies predict that by the year 2050, 43.8 million women, or nearly one-third of the adult female population in the US, will experience some sort of POP. Here are few tips that can help you lower the possibility of pelvic organ prolapse: Quit smoking Treat conditions that can put strain on the pelvic floor including a chronic cough and constipation Lose weight Strengthen the core and pelvic floor with pelvic floor exercise Surgeries are developed to help you with the symptoms associated with POP or pelvic organ prolapse. Consult with a doctor specialized in the treatment of pelvic floor conditions before you decide if surgery is right for you. If surgery is an option, discuss the non-mesh surgical alternatives with your doctor to determine the best procedure for you.