Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"What is genital prolapse?"
My mother's being evaluated for a hysterectomy and she is apparently at risk for something called prolapse. I tried to find out from her what this means but she is just blowing me off, saying the risk is very small. What is prolapse and why is it likely to happen to her?
Anytime a loved one is planning on going under the knife, it can be a source of distress for all of us. The best physician to speak to about this issue is an OBGYN. Female genital prolapse is also known as vaginal prolapse. It happens when the vaginal canal protrudes out the opening of the vagina. It usually occurs after a women has children and is more likely to happen the more children she has. There are several different types named for the different structures that protrude into the vagina (rectum, bladder, uterus, etc). A hysterectomy can actually be the treatment for uterine prolapse. It seems from your question that you were told that prolapse is a risk of the surgery. It is possible that bladder or rectal prolapse are more common after hysterectomy because there will be an empty space there that may allow the other structures to "fall." As your mother said, this risk is small, and if it did occur there are simple surgeries or procedures that can treat it. I suggest you accompany your mother to her next appointment with her OBGYN (if she is okay with that). This way you can ask her doctor directly what risks she has if she does not get the surgery and if she does. You can get a little more information about genital prolapse and what her risk is of developing it. Good luck.
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