Uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus slips out of place and into the vaginal canal. The severity of uterine prolapse is defined as:
- First degree—the cervix protrudes into the lower part of the vagina
- Second degree—the cervix protrudes past the vaginal opening
- Third degree—the entire uterus protrudes past the vaginal opening
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
The uterus is normally supported by pelvic connective tissue. It is held in position by special ligaments. Weakening of the tissue causes the uterus to descend into the vaginal canal.
Uterine prolapse is more common in Caucasians.
Factors that may increase your chance of uterine prolapse include:
- Increased age
- Multiple vaginal deliveries
- Straining caused by chronic cough, constipation, or heavy lifting
Symptoms may include:
- Pelvic pressure
- A feeling of vaginal fullness or heaviness
- A feeling of pulling in the pelvis
- Vaginal discharge
- Urinary urgency and frequency
- Urination when laughing, sneezing, coughing, or exercising
- Protrusion of pink tissue from the vagina that may be irritated or itchy
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Uterine prolapse without symptoms may be diagnosed during routine examinations. Your doctor may refer you to a gynecologist, who will do a pelvic exam.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. First or second degree prolapse without symptoms may not require treatment. Treatment options include:
Your doctor may insert a pessary into the upper portion of the vagina. A pessary is a rubbery, doughnut-shaped device. It helps to prop up the uterus and bladder. Pessary placement is more often used in older women.
To help reduce your chance of uterine prolapse:
- Do Kegel exercises.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- To avoid constipation, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
- If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit . Smoking may cause chronic coughing and weakening of connective tissues.
- Limit heavy lifting.