What is Female Organ Prolapse?
There are two support systems in a female which both create the “floor” of the pelvis and sustain the pelvic organs. These systems provide the active and passive support of pelvic organs in their proper place. Female organ prolapse is the result of a breakdown of these two systems.
The lavatory ani muscles are a pair of special muscles in the pelvis that are “active.” In other words, they maintain a certain tone even when a woman rests. The muscles are strong and can contract forcefully when needed. In addition, they are quite flexible, resilient, and renewable.
Damage to these muscles can occur during childbirth, or due to a constant increase in intra-abdominal pressure caused by chronic lung disease (for example, asthma or heavy smoking), constipation, or heavy lifting or straining activities. When damage occurs, these muscles can no longer contract, losing their ability to support the pelvic organs in their accurate places.
A great strain is then created on the “passive” support system of the pelvis, the endopelvic fascia. The endopelvic fascia is a tough, fibrous sheet within the pelvis, consisting of collagen, elastin and smooth muscle fibers. Alone it cannot support the pelvic organs, which may be affected by consistent gravitational pull and/or an intra-abdominal pressure.
Exposed to prolonged pressure and tension from the pelvic organs, the endopelvic fascia may stretch and eventually break, resulting in the breakdown of the pelvic floor. This is female organ prolapse.