Library Search Go Advanced Search
Español (Inicio)

Medications

Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Surgery for Incontinence

The pelvic floor muscles that support your urethra and bladder also support other pelvic organs. Weak pelvic floor muscles may cause one or more of your pelvic organs to fall out of place (prolapse). This is called pelvic organ prolapse. During surgery for stress urinary incontinence (SUI), prolapsed organs often can be sewn back into place. One or more extra incisions may be needed to do this. If you need these repairs, your surgeon can discuss them with you.

What Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

Pelvic organ prolapse is when one or more of the organs inside the pelvis (found between the waist and thighs), slip from their normal positions. Normally, muscles and tissues in the pelvic region support the pelvic organs and hold them in place.

A Normal Pelvis

Cutaway view of pelvis

A. The small intestine absorbs nutrients from food.

B. The bladder collects and holds urine.

C. The pubic bone helps protect the pelvic organs.

D. The urethra is the tube that carries urine out of the body.

E. The pelvic floor muscles support organs and other structures in the pelvis.

F. The uterus is where the baby develops when a women is pregnant.

G. The vagina is the canal from the uterus to the outside of the body.

H. The rectum stores stool until a bowel movement occurs.

What Causes Prolapse? Image of woman

  • Vaginal childbirth

  • Hormonal changes that occur with menopause

  • Constant coughing (such as with bronchitis or smoking)

  • Heavy lifting

  • Chronic straining (such as with constipation)

  • Being overweight

Symptoms of Prolapse

  • A feeling of fullness or pressure in your pelvis

  • A sense that a “ball” or lump is protruding from the vagina

  • Problems passing urine or having a bowel movement

  • Urine leakage when you cough or use stairs

  • Pain or pressure in your low back

  • Problems with sexual intercourse

 

Surgical Procedures

 

Cystocele occurs when the bladder sags into the vagina. To fix the problem, the bladder is moved back into its normal position and sewn into place.

 

Uterine prolapse  occurs when the uterus sags into the vagina. The uterus may fall as far as the opening of the vagina. To fix this problem, the uterus is often removed (hysterectomy). In some cases, the uterus may be sewn back into place.

 

Rectocele occurs when the rectum bulges into the vagina. An enterocele (which is much less common) is when the small intestine bulges into the vagina. During SUI surgery, the bulge in the rectum or small intestine can be fixed.

 

Vaginal vault prolapse occurs when the walls of the vagina fall in on themselves. It can happen if the uterus has been removed. Surgery can be done to lift the vagina and hold it in place.

Possible Risks and Complications of Surgery

  • Infection

  • Bleeding

  • Blood clots

  • Risks of anesthesia

  • Damage to nerves, muscles, or nearby pelvic structures

  • Prolapse of the pelvic organ or organs occurring again

 

© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.