Vaginal prolapse is a common condition and can cause symptoms such as a sensation of a vaginal bulge, pelvic pressure and discomfort, constipation, and difficulty emptying the bowel or bladder or problems with sexual intercourse. 50% of women who have had children, complain of some vaginal prolapse but only 10 to 20% of these women seek medical attention. Prolapse results from weakening or damage to the pelvic ligaments, muscles, nerves and tissues that are responsible for supporting the pelvic organs (vagina, uterus, bladder, uterus and rectum).
Prolapse is not a dangerous or life threatening condition, but it may be quite uncomfortable, distressing and bothersome.
An operation is only indicated when the prolapse is symptomatic (i.e. causes problems or is uncomfortable).Over 10% of women undergo pelvic floor surgery for the management of genital prolapse and or urinary incontinence. Up to 1/3 of these women will undergo repeat surgery. The incidence of surgery for prolapse seems to increase with age. The majority of women will have improvement of their symptoms following an operation.
Many different operations can be performed for prolapse. The type of surgery that is recommended will depend on many factors such as age, the severity of the prolapse, if there has been previous failed prolapse surgery or a previous hysterectomy. Prolapse surgery can be performed along with surgery for urinary incontinence and about 35% of women who have prolapse surgery will also need surgery for urinary incontinence. The most common operations used by Dr Swanepoel for prolapse are detailed below.
Some women will be suitable to try a vaginal pessary (vaginal ring) instead of surgery. This is a device that supports the vagina and will be changed/inspected every 3 to 6 months . If you choose this option, Dr Swanepoel will fit a vaginal pessary that is right for you.
Below are more in depth evidence based explanations of different treatment modalities Dr Swanepoel uses /offers.
Hysterectomy, Vaginal Repair and Apical Suspension
Anterior vaginal repair
Posterior vaginal repair