What is vaginal prolapse and do you really need surgery?
Author: Dr Manoj Johar Director – Department of Aesthetic & Reconstructive Surgery, Max Super Speciality Hospital
The vagina is also called the birth canal. It connects the uterus to the outside of a woman’s body. A prolapse occurs when an organ of the body drops down or slips out of its normal place. Vaginal delivery raises the risk of prolapse more than a cesarean section (when the baby is delivered through a surgical opening in the wall of the abdomen). It is also thought that the more children a woman delivers, as well as the delivery of a large baby (more than nine pounds), will raise the risk of prolapse. Elongated labia and widening of the vaginal canal are some of the possible consequences of childbearing.
Signs of Prolapse:
Many women don’t notice a prolapse when it first happens or if the organ has not moved far. If your prolapse has moved further down (and is a higher stage) you may:
1..Sense that your vagina is different. It may feel heavy or like it is dragging. This may be more noticeable when you sneeze or cough, have been standing for a long time, have done something very physical such as running or at the end of the day.
2.. See or feel a lump. This can be inside your vagina or poking out of it.
3.. Have achy pain in your pelvic region or back.
4..Have difficulty going to the toilet. You may need to urinate a lot, have trouble emptying your bladder or bowel, or urinate accidentally.
5.. Have a urinary tract infection (UTI) that often comes back again.
Some women also say they have discomfort, pain or less sensation during sex. You are a local doctor or GP can diagnose a prolapse.
The kind of treatment you have will depend on:
1.which organ has moved (prolapse type) and how far (prolapse stage)
2. your age, health and medical history
3.whether you want to have (more) children.
If you feel as if your vagina is looser than it was before having a vaginal delivery and it is affecting your sex life, a vaginoplasty is a possibility but should be done at minimum six months after delivery.
If you’re considering having more children, it may be prudent to wait until all childbearing is done. Then again, one may argue that if the vagina is too loose, there will be no more childbearing because sex is “just not the same” and thus is not happening!
As for the labia or vaginal lips, these will shrink after delivery. Elongated vaginal lips are not always a consequence of pregnancy, as some women have them after puberty. If you find that they get in the way of intercourse, exercise, or inhibit your clothing styles, a labiaplasty may be the surgery for you which is now doable in-office procedures.
We personally do not recommend any woman consider surgery or procedures at the time of childbirth or even shortly after. The body and the body parts are in the healing stage and it happens for several months post delivery. If you’ve decided to breastfeed, the changes will continue until you stopped breastfeeding. If you think you need such kind of procedure, wait for a minimum of six months after the breastfeeding stops before having any procedures.