Vaginal prolapse is a medical condition that many people are not even aware it exists. Even though its name gives the impression that it is something that affects the female vagina, it actually describes the effect and not only the area targeted. In simple terms, vaginal prolapse occurs when some pelvic organs (one of which is the vagina) move away from their normal position and approache the vaginal opening.
There are 4 different types of vaginal prolapse, each of them involving a different organ. Following is a list of each one of them accompanied by a short description:
1) Cystocele: The term comes from a combination of the Greek words for cyst and hernia. It is also known as anterior prolapse and it occurs when the front wall of a woman's vagina and the bladder both move towards the opening of the vagina.
2) Enterocele: Once again, a combination of intestine and hernia in Greek offers us the description of this type. During this condition, the small bowel is dislocated, thus pushing either the top of the patient's vagina or the uterus towards the opening of the vagina.
3) Rectocele: This is pretty much self explanatory since, by now, the readers know what “cele” is and the term “rectum” is commonly used so everyone is aware of that as well. In this vaginal prolapse deviation, the back vaginal wall and also the rectum move towards the aforesaid opening. Rectocele is often referred to as posterior prolapse.
4) Urethrocele: In this case, the only thing that is different is the organ that is affected, namely urethra. Vaginal prolapse occurs when the tissue and muscles supporting the pelvic organs become weak or even torn.
There are a few factors that increase the risk of developing the condition, some of which are:
- Giving birth. The probability of developing vaginal prolapse increases significantly due to labour.
- Obesity. Studies have proven that it increases the possibility of suffering from the condition up to two times.
- Aging. Women over 60 years of age are the most likely to develop it.
- Hysterectomy. The surgical removal of the uterus increases the danger of the appearance of various types of prolapse.
There are a few treatment options, some of which include an implant placed inside the vagina. The choice depends on the patient and some other factors about her that the medical examiner has to take into consideration before deciding which treatment option should be employed.