Many women mistakenly think pelvic organ prolapse—when one or more of the organs in the pelvic area slip from their normal position and bulge into the vagina—is just a normal part of aging.
“What I tell my patients all the time is that just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s normal,” says Leslie Rickey, MD, a Yale Medicine urologist and specialist in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery.
What’s more, many treatments—ranging from simple lifestyle changes to surgery—can bring women relief from pelvic organ prolapse and other pelvic floor disorders, including incontinence.
“There are some really simple behavioral and dietary changes, as well as exercises that can help with mild symptoms, and then really effective medical and surgical treatment options for more severe symptoms,” Dr. Rickey says.
First-line treatment options for many pelvic floor disorders include avoiding caffeine, performing pelvic floor exercises, and losing weight. “Sometimes, just strengthening the pelvic floor muscles, which is a treatment we offer right in our office, can just wipe out these symptoms,” she says. “We also have office treatments, mostly for incontinence, which just use a little bit of numbing medication. They can have almost instant success without having to go through a surgical procedure.”
In this video above, Dr. Rickey talks more about pelvic floor disorders and different types of treatment.