As has been evidenced by the Channel 4 programme, Embarrassing Bodies, very few women will go to the doctor with the symptoms of prolapse, preferring to soldier on and suffer acutely embarrassing symptoms in silence. And yet, it is an extremely common problem.
However, prolapse is not exclusive to women and, whether you are male or female, some form of prolapse can occur if the Pubococcygeus muscle, which is like a sling that runs between your legs from your spine to your pubic bone, has become too slack and is not supporting the pelvic organs properly, allowing any one of them to slip out of its normal position.
The most worrying thing is that this lack of tension can be caused by many factors - childbirth, Menopause, obesity, the general wear and tear of getting older can all be contributors - and the most important thing that any woman can do to reduce the risk of suffering from uterine, vaginal, urethral, bladder or rectal prolapse or to prevent a mild prolapse from worsening is Kegel and pelvic floor exercises.
This applies to males as well as females, if they want to keep their rectum and intestines in place. If they don't exercise their pelvic diaphragm regularly, then men can also be subject to prolapse. As they age, if not worked at, the Pubococcygeus muscle will stretch and sag to varying degrees, risking rectal prolapse. The odds grow significantly if obesity is also involved.
Some people have no idea that they have suffered a mild prolapse but any symptoms that do occur will give a clue as to which organ is causing the problem.
Various muscles and ligaments attach the rectum to the pelvis but childbirth, constipation, age, obesity and sometimes even haemorrhoids can weaken them. In mild cases, it is just the lining of the rectum that protrudes into the anus so it needs to be established whether this is a true prolapse or just piles. As things worsen, the ligaments become more and more stretched until part of the rectum itself can be felt protruding from the anus. Other symptoms can include constipation or diarrhoea or the inability to defecate at all.
For women, there are additional forms of rectal prolapse called rectocele and enterocele. The latter is a prolapse of the small bowel, where part of the small intestine that lies just behind the uterus may slip down between the rectum and the back wall of the vagina. This often occurs at the same time as a rectocele or a uterine prolapse.
A rectocele is a prolapsed rectum that can result when the back side (or posterior) wall of the vagina prolapses. This can sometimes be diagnosed through a patient complaining about 'not feeling clean' due to some of the matter becoming caught around the prolapse. Some women may even be able to put the bowel back into place using their finger and pushing from inside the vagina.
Cystourethrocele is the most common type of prolapse for women. This is when the tube which carries urine away from the bladder (the urethra) and the bladder prolapse at the same time. The bladder falls towards the vagina and creates a large bulge in the front vaginal wall.
When the urethra slips out of place, it also pushes against the front of the vaginal wall, but lower down, near the opening of the vagina.
If you are suffering from incontinence, frequency or cannot pee at all, then you could be suffering from some degree of bladder or urethral prolapse.
Uterine prolapse is when the womb drops down into the vagina. It is the second most common type of prolapse and is classified into three grades depending on how far the womb has fallen. It may be indicated by a pulling heaviness in the pelvic area and the feeling that something is falling out.
Vaginal prolapse occurs when the top of the vagina (the vaginal vault) falls in on itself. This can only happen after a hysterectomy (the removal of the womb).
Certain symptoms that can occur with all types of prolapse are feeling a lump or heavy sensation in the vagina; lower back pain that eases when you lie down; pelvic pain or pressure; pain or lack of sensation during intercourse.
If you experience any of these symptoms, you should visit your health professional immediately.
Kegel and pelvic floor exercises - because prevention is always better than cure.
Article Source: http://www.bharatbhasha.net
Article Url: http://www.bharatbhasha.net/health.php/243523
Article Added on Thursday, July 1, 2010
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