About Vaginal Prolapse

Vaginal Prolapse is used to describe a condition when the pelvic organs (uterus, bowel, rectum, bladder, urethra and vagina) lose tissue and muscle support and drop from their normal position. Prolapse is associated with symptoms such as sensation of a lump or bulge in the vagina, constipation, incontinence and problems with sexual intercourse. It can often be uncomfortable, painful and cause symptoms that disrupt daily life.

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A cystocele or bladder prolapse occurs when the tissues and muscles that hold the bladder in place are stretched or weakened. This change causes the bladder to move from its natural position and press against the front wall of the vagina, forming a bulge. A cystocele often occurs together with a prolapse of the urethra (urethrocele). Often these conditions occur with Stress Incontinence. In advanced cases, prolapse may cause blockage of urine.

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A Rectocele occurs when the tissues and muscles that hold the end of the large intestine (rectum) in place are stretched or weakened. The rectum moves from its normal position, pressing against the back wall of the vagina forming a bulge into the vagina. This condition often occurs due to injuries sustained during childbirth. It is common to experience a bulge at the opening of the vagina and sometimes this bulge needs to be pushed back inside for comfort.

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Uterine Descent/Prolapse

Uterine prolapse is a condition in which a woman’s uterus (womb) sags or slips out of its normal position. The uterus may slip enough that it drops partway into the vagina (birth canal), creating a lump or bulge. This is called incomplete prolapse. In a more severe case, (complete prolapse), the uterus slips so far out of place that some of the tissue drops outside of the vagina. Left untreated, uterine prolapse can interfere with bowel, bladder and sexual functions.

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Vaginal Vault Prolapse and Enterocele

Vaginal Vault Prolapse or Enterocele can sometimes occur after a woman experiences a hysterectomy. When the top of the vagina loses support, it may sag or drop down the vaginal canal. The small bowel inside the pelvis pushes down on the vagina, creating what is called an “Enterocele”. It is common for these patients to experience a vaginal bulge. Urinary Incontinence (involuntary loss of urine) may also occur with this and other types of prolapse.

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Vaginal Problems Treatment Options

Women with symptoms of one type of Vaginal Prolapse are more likely to have or develop other types as well. Dr. Wilkie is specialized in Urogynecology and Reconstructive Gynecologic Surgery and offers both vaginal and abdominal procedures to correct Vaginal Prolapse. Sometimes a vaginal supportive device called a pessary may be recommended. Dr. Wilkie will often surgically correct all prolapse related problems during one procedure. In most cases, the surgery is performed through the vagina.