Friday, January 22, 2016

Post Baby: There's something different "down there"

You just had a baby, but something feels “off “down there. You’re not quite sure what to expect because you’re new to the whole postpartum process, but you’re certain that a bulge in your vagina is not normal. When the vaginal pressure does not ease up, you decide to check in with your doctor, only to find out that you have a type of Pelvic Organ Prolapse called Uterine Prolapse.

As scary as this diagnosis may sound to you, there are options available to relieve symptoms, or repair the prolapse.  You wonder how this prolapse happened. One day your uterus is snugly in place, and the next, you are suffering the unpleasant symptoms of pain, pressure and an aching lower back. A prolapsed uterus is a common occurrence after a vaginal birth, but even women who have never given birth can also develop a prolapse.

Basically when damage to the fascia (The wall that holds up the organs), ligaments and muscles of the pelvic floor occurs, it can cause the uterus to sag into the vaginal canal – leading to incontinence, and a feeling that something is “stuck” or “falling out.” These problems may worsen with age, as decreased estrogen causes the pelvic floor to relax even more.

Often times symptoms of this occurs after a delivery but will spontaneously resolve within 6 months.  Important, while the symptoms may resolve, the damage to the fascia, muscles and ligaments will not.  Women may feel well for years only later to have the bladder, rectum or intestines start to sag out of the vagina.  Others may later experience unwanted leakage of urine or stool.  For this reason, most women with pelvic floor damage following a delivery should be seen, evaluated and started on pelvic floor rehabilitation. 

Fortunately, for women even when the symptoms do not resolve, you don’t have to deal with these meddling symptoms. There are many options available to address these concerns.  Note! Surgery likely will not be necessary!   Also remember you are not alone! Many other women are dealing with the inconvenience and pain of a prolapsed uterus, and you don’t have to suffer in silence. Make a list of questions and concerns and contact us.

Dr. Ashford is board certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS) and understands complex female anatomy.  In fact he is one of the few board certified OBGYNs also board certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery in the state of Minnesota.  We are able to offer a range of effective treatment options when problems occur.

You’re in good hands – during your pregnancy and after at Minnesota Women’s Care.  Don’t hesitate to call us to talk about your options to find relief for your symptoms – and help that “bulge” disappear.  Minnesota Women’s Care  651-600-3035.