When the muscles and ligaments in your vagina become weak the organs (including your bladder, bowel or uterus) they support may push forward or prolapse.
In addition your vagina walls may weaken causing your vagina to fall forward toward the opening of your vagina (called vaginal vault prolapse).
A vaginal prolapse is very common in women who have had a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus). This is because the uterus supports the top of your vagina. Other causes include childbirth and hormonal changes in menopause.
If your vaginal prolapse does not respond to conservative treatment, your consultant may recommend vaginal prolapse surgery.
What happens during vaginal prolapse surgery?
Vaginal prolapse surgery is usually performed under general anaesthetic. In some cases it can be performed as laparoscopic surgery. The length of the procedure will depend on the extent of your prolapse.
Your consultant will make incisions inside your vagina and strengthen the supporting tissues with stitches. They may make repairs to both the back and front vaginal walls. Additional supporting stitches may be needed may be needed at the top of your vagina or into your cervix. In some cases surgical mesh may be used. Any wounds will be closed using dissolvable staples.
At the end of your procedure they may insert a catheter into your bladder to drain urine and your vagina may be packed with material to prevent bleeding. These will be removed in 1-2 days.
You may need to stay in hospital 3-5 days. Be sure and let a member of our healthcare team know if you are in any pain. You will be able to go home once you are able to move about confidently and you can pass urine with no problem.
Going home after vaginal prolapse surgery
You will not be able to drive until release to do so by your consultant. Please arrange for someone to take you home on your day of discharge.
You will need to rest and recover for several weeks. Take over the counter pain relief such as paracetamol as needed for any post-operative pain. You may experience light vaginal bleeding for up to 2 weeks.
You should avoid lifting anything heavy including shopping, laundry or young children for the first 2-4 weeks. In addition you should avoid any strenuous sports activities for at least 4 weeks.
Any stitches you have will dissolve in about 10-14 days. There is no need to remove them.
Most women make a good recovery from vaginal prolapse surgery. As with any operation there can be complications:
- Blood clots (deep vein thrombosis)
Specific complications of vaginal prolapse surgery may include:
- Perforation of bladder or rectum
- Injury to the uterus
- Recurrence of symptoms.
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