As its name suggests, genitourinary prolapse is a condition in which one or more pelvic organs drop down into the vagina. The pelvic organs may include rectum, bladder, uterus, vaginal vault, or small/large bowel. The descent can affect the uterus, vaginal vault, and anterior, posterior vaginal walls and cause discomfort in the vagina.
Symptoms of Genitourinary Prolapse
There may be no symptoms at all, or the affected person may start experiencing urinary and bowel problems. The woman may experience rectum, urinary, pelvic symptoms along with the protrusion of vaginal walls and uterus. Pelvic organs are supported by ligaments and pelvic floor muscles that wrap around the underside of the uterus, bladder, and rectum.
Any woman past her menopause, who have had children, can experience genitourinary prolapse symptoms. Though it is not a dangerous condition, the woman may still experience frustrating symptoms, such as backache, dragging feeling in the vagina and problem keeping tampons in. Not only this, it can cause problems during intercourse, and the woman may experience extreme discomfort, urine leakage, passing wind from vagina, and loss of sensation.
Woman who suffer from genitourinary prolapsed may also experience stress incontinence of urine, especially if the prolapsed is at the front and the bladder does not offer effective support. In severe cases, it risks making you prone to urinary infections.
If prolapsed is at the back, you may experience uncomfortable feelings that you haven’t emptied your bowels properly. Constipation may become common as a result of prolapsed. If the bulge is large, it may hang through the vaginal opening. As a result of its protrusion, it can become sore if it constantly rubs on the underwear.
Some women experience that their symptoms become worst if they had been standing for longer durations, especially by the end of the day.
- Urine flow that stops and starts
- Urgency to pass urine often
- Feeling of improper bowel movement
- Urine leakage on laughing, sneezing, coughing, or lifting
- Loss of control of urine
- An urge to pass stools
- Incontinence of stools
- Use your finger while sitting on the toilet to push back the prolapse for easy urine passage
Different Types of Genitourinary Prolapse
Your doctor can diagnose the type of GU prolapse after determining the pelvic organ that has dropped down into the vagina. Prolapse may affect different parts of the pelvis.
- Urethrocele: Prolapse of the urethra into the vagina.
- Cystocele: The bladder may prolapse into the vagina.
- Cystourethrocele: The most common GU prolapse, cystourethrocele is the prolapse of both the urethra and bladder into the vagina.
- Uterine prolapse: The second common type of GU prolapse, uterine prolapse is the dropping of the womb into the vagina.
- Vault prolapse: Some women who have had her uterus removed may experience prolapse of the vaginal vault into the vagina. Vaginal vault is the blind-end of the vagina, which is closed during hysterectomy. In normal women, this end attaches to the neck of the womb.
- Enterocele: The prolapse of the space between uterus and rectum into the vagina. Affected women may experience loops of bowel in the prolapse.
Cause of Genitourinary Prolapse
- Increases pressure on the abdomen
- Gynecological surgery
- Congenital problem