15 November 2010
Australian Doctor magazine (5 Nov 2010) reports that pelvic organ prolapse is more common than previously thought. Pelvic organ prolapse is when internal organs sag down into the bowel and vagina. A mild prolapse can have no symptoms, but if severe, it can be uncomfortable or painful. Almost one in five Australian women will need surgery for prolapse during their lifetime. Researchers found 19% of women had pelvic organ prolapse by age 85, compared to the 11-12% previously reported in the USA.
However, there are probably many more women who never talk to their GP about their symptoms, perhaps due to embarrassment, thinking nothing can be done, or that it is an inevitable part of the childbearing experience, says the Continence Foundation of Australia. Women are more at risk of prolapse than men as it's a condition commonly related to pregnancy, childbirth and hysterectomy. Surgery can cure about 80% of patients and is most effective when done in the early stage of symptoms.
You can read more about pelvic organ prolapse here, including information about the signs and symptoms, prevention and treatment.
Talk to your doctor if you have any symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, or call the National Continence Helpline on 1800 33 00 66.