Uterine prolapse, aka descensus or procidentia, means your uterus has fallen, sunk or slid from its normal position in your pelvis into your vagina. Your uterus dropped because the pelvic floor muscles and connective tissue that provides it with support have stretched and weakened.
And you might experience bladder and rectal prolapse as well.
Uterine prolapse varies in severity. Mild cases typically cause inconsequential symptoms. With a moderate to severe uterine prolapse you’ll likely experience low back pain and pelvic pain or pressure symptoms.
Your prolapsed uterus may also cause these other symptoms too:
- recurrent UTIs
- abdominal pain
- vaginal bleeding
- painful intercourse
- vaginal tissue protrusion
- bowel movement difficulty
- feel like you’re sitting on a small ball
- unusual, excessive vaginal discharge
- heaviness, pulling sensation in pelvic area
- sense of something falling out of your vagina
- urinary issues ~ incontinence, urgency, frequency increase
Symptoms may not be as noticeable in the morning, but low back and pelvic pressure typically worsen throughout the day. Particularly if you’ve been standing or walking a lot because gravity causes added pressure to your pelvic muscles.
Any activity that causes you to strain your pelvic muscles and connective tissue can contribute to the development of uterine prolapse. As such, uterine prolapse most often affects postmenopausal women who’ve had one or more vaginal deliveries. And particularly if your labor and delivery was difficult or the delivered baby was large.
Pregnancy is thought to be the primary cause of pelvic organ prolapse. Some other contributing risk factors or causes that can put a strain on your pelvis include:
- pelvic tumor
- large fibroids
- spinal cord injury
- frequent heavy lifting
- previous pelvic surgery
- aging muscle tone loss
- long-term effects of gravity
- Northern European descent
- lung disease ~ COPD, sarcoidosis, bronchiectasis
- recurrent respiratory infections ~ bronchitis, pneumonia
- menopause estrogen loss causes muscles to be less elastic
- muscle atrophy conditions ~ muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis
- genetic collagen deficiency ~ Marfan syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
- repeated straining over the years can weaken pelvic floor muscles & tissue
- chronic cough ~ smoking, asthma, GERD, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, postnasal drip
Chronic constipation can worsen uterine prolapse because of the strain of pushing.
Treatment usually isn’t necessary if your uterine prolapse only causes mild pelvis pain symptoms. However, your pelvic floor muscles may continue to deteriorate, making symptoms worse.
Standard uterine prolapse treatment is vaginal pessary, vaginal hysterectomy or vaginal repair surgery. A pessary is a supportive device that’s inserted into your vagina. If you desire a future pregnancy, vaginal surgical repair may be possible via grafting material on the weakened pelvic floor structures for support.
Uterine prolapse surgery should always be your treatment of last resort. Some lifestyles measures you can take to slowdown your uterine prolapse back pain and pelvic pressure progression, thus potentially averting the more radical treatment of surgery, is to:
- lose weight
- stop smoking
- avoid heavy lifting, straining
- treat contributing health problems
- attend to constipation ~ increase dietary insoluble fiber
- Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles
And get that cough under healthy control if that is your case.