Uterine Prolapse Specialist
Pelvic organ prolapse can cause considerable pain and discomfort. Embry Women’s Health is a leading practice of state-of-the-art treatments for vaginal and pelvic organ prolapse, helping Mesa, Arizona, area women resolve symptoms and lead healthy, normal lives.
Uterine Prolapse Q & A
What are vaginal and pelvic organ prolapse?
Approximately fifty percent of women who have experienced childbirth have varying degrees of pelvic organ prolapse that affect the vagina. Some of these conditions can include:
- Vaginal Prolapse. Where the top of the vagina loses its support and drops, this condition occurs most often with women who have had a hysterectomy. Vaginal Prolapse can cause include difficulty urinating, bowel function, painful intercourse, vaginal pain loss of bladder control and a feeling of heaviness in the vaginal area.
- Small Bowel Prolapse (Enterocele). A condition when the small bowel presses against and moves the upper wall of the vagina causing a bulge or hernia to form.
- Anterior Vaginal Prolapse (Cystocele). A bulge or cystocele forms on the front wall of the vagina and causes a loss of support to the bladder that rests on that area of the vagina. Symptoms can include incontinence, a feeling of pelvic heaviness or back pain.
- Posterior Vaginal Prolapse (Rectocele). A condition when the rectum bulges into or out of the vagina. May cause difficulty with bowel movements.
Proper diagnosis is essential in treating pelvic support conditions. Being open about symptoms with your physician is important in finding the exact cause. Depending upon your symptoms and the type or vaginal prolapse you are diagnosed as having, treatments can include special exercises, lifestyle changes, the use of pessaries, changes in diet and lifestyle, reconstructive surgery and obliterative procedures to narrow and shorten the vagina.
What are the two primary methods used to treat prolapse?
In treating or repairing vaginal prolapse, suspensions are used to restore the support of the top of the vagina (vaginal vault). Procedures used include:
- Laparoscopic Sacral Colpopexy (ASC) – Performed through a tiny incision in the abdomen either laparoscopically or robotically, ASC involves the use of graft material to reinforce the walls of the vagina by forming straps that, when attached to the ligaments overlying the sacrum, support and suspend the vagina over the pelvic muscles and backbone.
- Uterosacral or Sacrospinous Ligament Fixation – This procedure involves suspending the vagina to a patient’s own uterosacral ligament or sacrospinous ligaments. Graft material can also be added to improve the durability of the repair.
What is the treatment for small bowel prolapse (Enterocele)?
The surgical procedure to correct this condition is called a sacral colpopexy. The surgical procedure uses polypropylene or biologic grafts so as to close over the apex of the vagina and correct the bulge or herniation of the small bowel into the vagina. The procedure approaches the vagina intra-abdominally. It is a complicated procedure in which a Y shaped mesh is positioned over the apex of the vagina and re-suspended to the sacrum.
What is the treatment for anterior vaginal prolapse (Cystocele)?
A cystocele repair elevates the anterior vaginal wall back into the body to support the bladder. This can be done either vaginally or through an abdominal approach at the time of a sacral colpopexy.
In an anterior colporrhaphy, an incision is made in the front wall of the vagina. The vaginal skin is separated from the bladder wall behind it. The weak or frayed edges of the deep vaginal wall are found and the strong tissue next to edges are sutured to each other lifting the bladder and recreating the strong ”wall” underneath it.
Since this part of the pelvic floor is subjected to significant pressure with each cough or when picking up heavy items, up to one third of women will develop recurrent anterior prolapse after an anterior colporrhaphy. To reduce this recurrence, a surgeon may use graft material over the repair to reinforce it.
What is the treatment for posterior vaginal prolapse (Rectocele)?
If muscles at the vaginal opening are stretched or separated at childbirth, this condition can be corrected by a perineorrhaphy. It may also be corrected abdominally during a sacral colpopexy.
To correct the vaginal bulge, a surgical procedure called an anterior colporrhaphy is performed to raise the back wall of the vagina back into the body to support the bladder.
A posterior colporrhaphy is a procedure used to repair the rectal bulge that protrudes through the back wall of the vagina. In this procedure, an incision is made in the back wall of the vagina. The vaginal skin is separated from the rectal wall underneath.
Once the weak or frayed edges of the deep vaginal wall tissue are identified, the strong tissue next to edges is sutured to each other to recreate the wall between the rectum and the vagina. Occasionally, a surgeon will use graft material to provide additional strength to the repair.
Embry Women’s Health is committed to providing quality, affordable health care. We’re in-network with all major insurance plans, including Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare. No insurance? No problem. We offer a simple fee schedule for those who wish to pay out-of-pocket. Click the button below for our complete list and more information:
Words from our patients
JoEllen is AMAZING! Not only is she professional- she makes your whole experience comfortable. If you’re looking for a professional that never judges your situation and treats you very well- I would definitely recommend this office!
5 Stars – Yelp
It is refreshing to meet a practitioner who sees the whole patient and not just a series of symptoms. JoEllen is willing to spend the time to ask questions and really listen to the responses. I have seen JoEllen several times and I have always appreciated how much time she spends with each appointment and her pragmatic approach with solutions. I feel like my health drives the appointment and not the schedule. Finding JoEllen’s practice was like finding a needle in a haystack, a caring practitioner who encourages patients to listen to their bodies and to be their own best advocate.
5 Stars – 10/11/2018
Friendly staff. JoEllen is incredibly kind, patient and answers all of my questions whenever I see her. I don’t feel like I am being rushed when I am there, it is very nice.
5 Stars – 10/4/2018
I went in as a new patient just for an annual exam and Dr. Barbara Lockwood was so professional, knowledgeable, and friendly. She made sure to answer any and every question I had and she made sure I understood everything I needed to know. I have been to some offices in the past where you feel judged but she was so kind and made me feel so comfortable talking to her! I will be moving away soon but I might just have to make the drive back to see her next year!
5 Stars – 10/4/2018
“I started seeing Joellen earlier this year and I have had nothing but good experiences every time I have gone back. She is very down to earth and listens to any concerns. I would highly recommend Embry Womens Health.”
5 stars – 09/28/2018