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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Pelvic Organ Prolapse

How Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse Diagnosed?

Your doctor may discover pelvic organ prolapse during a routine pelvic exam, such as the one you get when you go for your Pap smear. Your doctor may order a variety of tests:

  • Urinary tract X-ray (intravenous pyelography)
  • CT scan of the pelvis
  • Ultrasound of the pelvis
  • MRI scan of the pelvis

How Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse Treated?

Treatment of pelvic organ prolapse depends on how severe the symptoms are. Treatment can include a variety of therapies, including:

  • Behavioral treatments, such as doing Kegel exercises designed to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
  • Mechanical treatments, such as inserting a small plastic device called a pessary into the vagina to provide support for the drooping organs
  • Surgical treatment, either to repair the affected tissue or organ or to remove the organ (such as removal of the uterus by hysterectomy)

Can Pelvic Organ Prolapse Be Prevented?

Many risk factors for pelvic organ prolapse are out of your control. These include:

  • Family history
  • Advancing age
  • A difficult vaginal delivery
  • Having had a hysterectomy

But you can reduce the likelihood you will have problems. Try these steps:

  • Do Kegel exercises daily to maintain good muscle strength in your pelvic area
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid constipation
  • Do not smoke, as smoking can affect tissues, and a chronic cough often seen in smokers boosts the risk of problems

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD, FACOG on February 07, 2015
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