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What is pelvic organ prolapse?

Dr. Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is the condition in which any organs in the pelvis/vagina are "falling". When a patient has bladder prolapse, uterine, or vaginal prolapse, or rectal prolapse it can be considered POP. The downward descent of the pelvic or vaginal organs can cause a significant amount of problems with pelvic pressure, pelvic pain, problems with bladder or bowel emptying, pain with intercourse, and a noted bulging or protrusion of the organs into the vagina. The most common cause of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is child birth. The delivery of a baby through the vagina can cause tearing of the connective tissue surrounding the pelvic organs which would subsequently cause a hernia of the bladder, the bowels, or the rectum into the vagina. These hernias and/or tears in the connective tissue is what causes pelvic organ prolapse. Other causes of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) are obesity, chronic straining, weak connective tissue disorders, smoking, or some types of vaginal or gynecologic surgeries. A hysterectomy can increase a patient's risk of pelvic organ prolapse (POP) because the connective tissue is disrupted at the apex of the vagina and if not properly repaired or reapproximated then there can be a weakness of the apex of the vagina causing future pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.