Spring 2011
ASK THE EXPERT: Pelvic Organ Prolapse
 


Elisabeth Erekson, MD, MPH
Q: When I go to the bathroom, I notice a new sagging bulge in my private area. It seems to get worse if I’ve been on my feet all day or if I’ve done some lifting—like when I finished cleaning out the garage last weekend. I haven’t asked my doctor about it yet, as I’m hoping it will go away on its own. What is it and should I be worried?

Urogynecologist Elisabeth Erekson, MD, MPH, responds:

A: What you’re describing could be a pelvic organ prolapse, a dropping of the female pelvic organs. While that may sound alarming, rest assured—it’s essentially a hernia of the vagina and is not life-threatening.

Pelvic organ prolapse can occur in women of any age. It happens when the muscles supporting the uterus or vagina tear or weaken. Some women experience prolapse immediately after having a baby (vaginal delivery), while other women begin noticing symptoms after menopause. Conditions that can weaken the pelvic area (called the pelvic floor) include chronic straining, smoking, repetitive heavy lifting and obesity.

While prolapse doesn’t often go away on its own, there are many treatments available. Deciding which treatment is best depends on the severity of the prolapse and a woman’s overall health. Many women benefit greatly from exercises and/or physical therapy that are specifically designed to strengthen the pelvic floor. Another option is a special medical device called a pessary, which can support the vagina and hold the bulge inside. Other women choose to have surgery to repair the prolapse.

If you think you may have pelvic organ prolapse, you should speak with your doctor sooner rather than later. Prolapse won’t go away on its own, your doctor can help you decide among the many treatment options that may be right for you.

For a referral to an expert physician, please call us toll free, please call us toll free, 24/7, at 1-800-794-5013. or visit www.bridgeporthospital.org/FindPhysician.

Women’s Health Program at Ahlbin Rehabilitation Centers
 

If you’ve been diagnosed with pelvic floor dysfunction (such as prolapse, incontinence, or other conditions), speak with your physician about a referral to the Women’s Health Program. This comprehensive treatment can help increase strength, decrease pain and improve function.

Designed for women who experience
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pelvic floor pain
  • Low back pain
  • Prenatal/postpartum pain and weakness
  • Fecal incontinence after childbirth/after surgery
  • Hysterectomy (before and after surgery)
  • Organ prolapse (before and after surgery)
  • Constipation due to tight pelvic floor

Individual treatment is provided by Licensed Physical Therapists who have specialized training in female pelvic floor dysfunction.

Two Convenient Locations

Ahlbin Rehabilitation Centers
3585 Main Street, Stratford

Ahlbin Rehabilitation Centers
4 Corporate Drive, Suite 184, Shelton

For more information, please call Pamela Mongillo, PT, MS, OCS at 203-380-4672.