Vaginal Prolapse is a condition in which structures such as the uterus, rectum, bladder, urethra, small bowel, or the vagina itself may begin to prolapse, or fall out of their normal positions. Without medical treatment or surgery, these structures may eventually prolapse farther and farther into the vagina or even through the vaginal opening if their supports weaken enough.
The network of muscles, ligaments, and skin in and around a woman's vagina acts as a complex support structure that holds pelvic organs, and tissues in place. This support network includes the skin and muscles of the vaginal walls (a network of tissues called the fascia). Various parts of this support system may eventually weaken or break, causing a common condition called vaginal prolapse.
The symptoms that result from vaginal prolapse commonly affect sexual function as well as bodily functions such as urination and defecation. Pelvic pressure and discomfort are also common symptoms.
Types of Vaginal Prolapse:
Depending on the organ and the side from which the organ prolapses or protrudes into the vaginal, vaginal prolapse can be divided into five types: Uterine Prolapse, Anterior Prolapse, Posterior prolapse, Enterocele and Vaginal Vault Prolapse.
Anterior prolapse occurs when the bladder or the urethra bulges in on the vagina. Bladder and Urethra exist towards the anterior walls of the vagina, and thus a prolapse from any of these is named as an Anterior or Anterior Wall Prolapse. When the bladder protrudes into the vagina, the condition is named as cystocele, while protrusion of urethra into the vagina is named as urethrocele. Commonly the two condition coexists and is named as cyst urethrocele vaginal prolapse.
Uterine Prolapse as the name suggests, is the herniation or protrusion of the uterus into the vagina due to the failure of ligamentous and fascial supports. In extreme cases of uterine prolapse, wherein the ligaments lose complete support, the uterus might fall through the vagina, while the vagina falls inside the body. Uterine prolapse often coexists with anterior and posterior vaginal prolapse.
Posterior vaginal prolapse refers to a condition when the rectum or the bowels protrude into the vaginal. It is also known as a rectocele. Posterior prolapse can occur alongside other forms of prolapse. It is common for more than one prolapses to occur together.
Enterocele is a type of vaginal prolapse that primarily occurs in patients who undergo hysterectomy, i.e., the surgical removal of the uterus. In enterocele, the herniation generally occurs at the apex of the vaginal. Enterocele is sometimes characterized as a type of posterior vaginal prolapse, but unlike rectocele, occurs only when the uterus is surgically removed.
Vaginal Vault Prolapse is closely related to enterocele and occurs in individuals who have undergone the hysterectomy. In this case, the apex part of the vagina herniates on itself, or falls on itself, such that the once highest point of the vagina, becomes its lowest point, hanging out of the vagina.