What to do about pelvic organ prolapse

Relaxation is usually a good thing, but not when it involves the muscles and tissues holding pelvic organs in place.

Pelvic relaxation is a weakness or laxity in the supporting structures of the pelvic region. Bladder, rectal, or uterine tissue may then bulge into the vagina. This is called pelvic organ prolapse. The term refers to a number of conditions that can dramatically affect a woman's quality of life, causing discomfort and embarrassment and limiting sexual and physical activity.

Once rarely discussed or recognized, this problem has now become a priority in women's health because we're living longer and want to stay active well past menopause. Today, many primary care physicians and gynecologists routinely screen patients for the symptoms, and the new surgical specialty of urogynecology has arisen to correct prolapse conditions and the urinary incontinence that often results. By age 80, more than 1 in every 10 women will have undergone surgery for prolapse.

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