There is nothing worse than having health issues, physical or psychological. Both have their share of challenges. Something that is particularly challenging though, is if a woman finds out she has a prolapse during pregnancy, and especially right after birth. As if pregnancy, labor and childbirth were not enough to test a woman’s mental and physical stamina, add on to it other health problems and the woman has even more to deal with than she thought. It is not an easy ride, and is something downright stressful and difficult to live with for sure. Add on to that taking care of a small child and it’s not an easy task.
So what is a woman to do? Well, there are a lot worse things that could happen. Counting her lucky stars she does not have anything more serious or fatal, is a start. But, still she needs to tackle her health issues at hand to be the very best she can be for her baby and herself. She needs to figure out what kind of problem she has and how best to begin to resolve it when it comes to a prolapse. There are surgical options, other less invasive options and figuring out what else she could do to inform herself on how to live with her condition. Where can she start? Well, first things first she can book an appointment with her obstetrician/gynecologist. While she is waiting to see him/her, she could find some reputable medical sites online to get an idea of what she has and how to help herself more. Here are 12 signs she might have a prolapse:
This feels like a bulging sensation when the woman strains to go to the bathroom for #2. This causes an “S-bend” in the vagina. Feces move into the area of the prolapse and not much motion is going to occur due to the loss of flexibility in this area. Constipation and irritable bowel syndrome may end up happening due to this and many women complain of painful intercourse as well. It feels like a balloon sensation in the upper wall of the vagina. Not fun at all. It’s important that a woman see her doctor who will help her determine the best course of action for her to take. Sometimes, depending on her stage of pregnancy, surgery will be suggested. Other times different methods will be suggested. The most important this is that she looks at what options are right for her at her time of life at this particular moment.
Cystocele is when the bladder collapses into the front wall of the vagina. It has the effect of not feeling like it is completely empty when urine is passed. This leads to irritation in the bladder, which in turn makes the woman more prone to bladder spasms which can in turn cause incontinence or leakage. The bladder of the neck is lowered in these cases, and this results in more leakage of urine when there is any sudden pressure that is exerted. This leakage can embarrassingly also happen during intercourse and at other times there is pressure on that area. This makes for a lot of discomfort and embarrassment for women, whether this happens pre or post-natal. What can she do about this? Though there is surgery as a last option, should nothing else like physiotherapy or pessaries work, it is important for a woman to try all her options and talk to her doctor to discuss all options she has.
This is when the small bowel is obstructed with that of the small intestine into the top of the vagina. There is irritation, pain, inflammation and problems with constipation and voiding. The best thing a woman can do is to get herself examined to find out if that is indeed what she has. After that the best course of action will be suggested by the doctor. With surgery, it is usually through the vagina with a small incision. The recovery process could take up to 2 days in the hospital and is usually 6 to 9 weeks with no heavy lifting afterwards. Some women do not experience any symptoms in particular. This makes it equally frustrating as to what to do. She needs to run anything out of the ordinary by her doctor, and to trust her gut if she feels something is off in her body.
A prolapsed uterus most commonly occurs after childbirth when the pressure of the stomach and uterine muscles that have stretched to capacity then have to return to normal. It can even happen to women who have caearian sections, not only those who have experienced natural childbirth or vaginal birth. What women say it feels like is a dragging sensation. They feel a heaviness or pulling in the pelvis as if they are sitting on something like a ball. Many women also experience symptoms like low backache, and in some other cases, what is called a protrusion that is located at the opening of the vagina. Another side effect of this condition would be painful sexual intercourse. This is a hard thing all around for a woman to deal with, but at least if she is aware of these symptoms, something can be done about it. Many women experience some lower body trauma after childbirth.
This occurs due to pressure on the vaginal area after childbirth with the tearing and stretching. It can also be caused by being a heavier weight and the pressure bearing down on her uterus and vagina. What are some of the solutions to handle this? One could be a special surgery where the wall of the vagina is lifted not sealed. Other less invasive strategies to improve this situation include, with a doctor’s approval of course, doing Kegel exercises, which will help her tighten her pelvic muscles gradually. Kegel exercises help strengthen the nerves and muscles in her pelvis. She will need to have a clean bill of health to start doing these, however, to better help strengthen and heal her body for the future. Lifestyle changes of losing weight if she is overweight to begin with, can also help ease symptoms of vaginal vault prolapse. Maintaining or eating a healthy diet of high-fiber foods and drinking lots of fluid is also very important for this issue as well as for helping in her overall health. Straining or pushing herself will worsen the prolapse symptoms.
This is not at all fun and very difficult to handle, especially if a woman has just had a baby and is exhausted and busy. Pressure could feel like anything from pain, to a heaviness, to a dragging sensation in the pelvis. Many describe it as feeling like they are “sitting on a small ball”. Many women also experience lower backache, and in some moderate to severe cases, there can be protrusions from the vaginal opening. This kind of pressure will also affect things like urinary incontinence or difficulty urinating as well as difficulty with bowel movements. Of course there is also the difficulty of performing everyday tasks due to pressure and pain felt in the women’s lower body areas. She needs to pace herself, and only do what is necessary while the area is healing and, in general, follow her medical care practitioner’s orders on when she can resume normal physical activities.
This would also be a sign of a prolapse, as any kind of growth or inflammation in the women’s lower body cavity is not a normal occurrence and not one that will make her feel comfortable to be sure. She would most definitely feel pressure, pain and discomfort. She would also feel something there that would be possibly painful to the touch or would be uncomfortable. There may be irritation and infection, too. Obviously, if a woman notices any kind of strange growth or lump of any kind anywhere, she needs to consult her medical care practitioner, obstetrician or gynecologist right away. Whether she is prenatal, pregnant or postnatal it is important for her to get this issue resolved so that she can enjoy the highest quality of life possible and to be as pain-free as possible. It is not always easy to know what is wrong, but with careful monitoring she will know if something is feeling off and can let the doctors advise her on the best action to take.
Due to all the pressures in the lower uterus and vagina, another unexpected and unpleasant side effect of a prolapse would be painful intercourse. This can be caused by psychological as well as physical reasons. Physical problems that would cause painful intercourse would be conditions like endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine prolapse, cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, hemorrhoids, and ovarian cysts. Psychological factors that could add to the physical factors of the pain due to prolapse, are things like stress from dealing with the pain of such conditions as well as anxiety in general about one’s health, or other factors in one’s life that are affecting the pain level at that moment. It becomes such a part of a woman’s life, living with any kind of chronic pain, that if she begins to associate intercourse as painful due to the prolapse, she will start to avoid doing an activity that was once pleasurable. It makes perfect sense.
This is a surefire sign that the problem with pain or discomfort that the woman is experiencing is due to a prolapse. The reason being when she is off her feet, there is a lot of pressure and weight being put on the lower regions of her body. Even if she is in one hundred percent perfect health, it is still difficult sometimes when hormones are off balance and she may not be eating the best. She may be experiencing more bloating, cramping or indigestion even if it is not that time of the month for her. However, if she is always feeling good when lying down but not when upright, she needs to look for ways to correct the prolapse and seek medical attention for the best way to do that. A doctor will examine her fully so that they can be able to tell her what are the best courses of action she could take to heal.
Many women get some of these in their entire lifetime, perhaps a handful maybe less. Women who get these continuously, however, know that there is something amiss and not quite normal happening in their system. They will usually go for an exam, and a urinary tract infection will be detected. Doctors will give the usual advice. Sometimes medication will be prescribed. Sometimes drinking more water and cranberry juice will be enough, but the fact that they are recurrent means that there are secondary health conditions going on that need more detailed medical care. UTI’s can be caused by infections, incontinence as well as cystocele, rectocele, entocele or uterine prolapse. When prolapse is the cause which does happen in many cases, something called a “sacrocolpopexy” or a “vaginal prolapse repair” may be suggested to restore the pelvis. This allows the bladder to empty completely and no more bacterial growth to form in there.
Any kind of vaginal bleeding that is not associated with a woman’s menstrual cycle is subject to suspicion. If a woman is pregnant, her obstetrician will screen her baby to make sure all is well. He/she will also take care of screening the woman. If all comes out normal and it is not due to pregnancy hormones or a menstrual cycle, a woman will be screened for other types of vaginal infections such as yeast or other infections. Finally, if those are ruled out, a woman will be screened for any kind of prolapse. Vaginal bleeding does sometimes occur with prolapse. Though many women do not have prolapse symptoms, sometimes the pressing of the uterus against the vaginal wall will cause some spotting or bleeding from the vagina. If it is happening frequently and other methods have been tried to control this problem and minimize the bleeding and discomfort, surgery may be the best option for a woman to look into.
A pulling or heavy feeling in the pelvis often indicates constipation. This happens many times due to the pressures placed on the uterus due to vaginal childbirth, heavy lifting, and other bearing down movements which put a lot of pressure on that part of the woman’s anatomy. A lot of times her childbirth experience along with other lifestyle factors, can put her at risk for developing a prolapse of any kind. The good news is that often in the early stages this is reversible without surgery. It requires other lifestyle changes that she needs to implement, as well as being followed by her gynecologist and other medical health care practitioners to make sure she is on the right path. Any kind of health change involves a better diet, exercise (gentle as per doctor’s orders), and avoiding any kind of heavy lifting or strain of any kind will lead to a good outcome regardless. A woman may even be able to avoid surgery.
Now that she has a better idea of 12 signs she might have a prolapse, the good news is that she can educate herself on what is the best step to take next to improve her quality of life, and live as much of a pain-free life as possible.