Uterine prolapse. It’s when your uterus sags down from its normal position and falls into the vagina.
So your uterus doesn’t just stay up by, like…magic?
Nah. According to Healthline, your uterus is held in place by pelvic muscles and ligaments. If those muscles and ligaments weaken or stretch out, the uterus slips down.
So it’s…I’m sorry, walk me through this. Is your uterus hanging out of your vagina?
You can have a complete or incomplete prolapse. If it’s incomplete, the uterus will only droop partway into your vag. If it’s a complete prolapse, then yeah, some of it the tissue will be outside your vagina.
OK, so if I don’t see it literally coming out of my crotch, how will I know I have it?
According to Mayo Clinic, symptoms include:
- Sensation of heaviness or pulling in your pelvis
- Tissue protruding from your vagina
- Urinary problems, such as urine leakage or urine retention
- Trouble having a bowel movement
- Low back pain
- Feeling as if you’re sitting on a small ball or as if something is falling out of your vagina
- Sexual concerns, such as a sensation of looseness in the tone of your vaginal tissue
- Symptoms that are less bothersome in the morning and worsen as the day goes on
But if it’s a minor prolapse, you might not have any symptoms at all.
Why does this happen?
If your estrogen levels decrease (since estrogen is what keeps those pelvic muscles nice and strong), if you’ve damaged your pelvic muscles and tissues via pregnancy or childbirth, or if you’ve put pressure on your pelvic muscles via chronic coughing or chronic constipation. Women who’ve had more than one vaginal delivery and are postmenopausal are at the greatest risk of uterine prolapse.
How is it treated?
If it’s severe, you might need surgery – a uterine suspension or hysterectomy – though it’s not recommended if you plan on having children in the future. If it’s not severe enough for surgery, you might have to do Kegels, lose weight (to take stress off the pelvic muscles and tissue), take estrogen, or wear a pessary.
WTF is a pessary?
Nooooo I don’t wanna stick any of those up me. How do I prevent this?
Do Kegels! And if you’re postmenopausal, look into estrogen replacement therapy.
Photo courtesy of Habitual Homebody