POP can worsen one’s quality of life. You don’t have to learn to live with it. Seek medical health and treatment whenever your symptoms have a negative impact on your life. You don’t have to wait until your symptoms are really bad.
During the initial appointment, your doctor will try to determine the severity of the prolapse. For example, your doctor will consider your age, symptoms of vaginal bulge, and difficulty having sex due to the feeling of the bulge. So, to help your doctor provide the best diagnosis for you, be open about difficulties with sexual relations.
POP is typically diagnosed by a simple pelvic exam as part of a complete physical exam. Your doctor may use a:
- Speculum to examine the different parts of the vagina to determine which part of the vagina is prolapsing and to what extent.
- Pelvic Organ Prolapse Quantification, or POP-Q, measurement system to assess severity of prolapse and track changes.
In addition, other exams or studies may help your doctor assess symptoms associated with prolapse:
- Urodynamics: Bladder function study that assesses evaluates urinary incontinence or difficulty with urinating.
- Cystoscopy: Procedure that uses a camera to look into the bladder for any anatomical abnormalities that could be contributing to urinary symptoms.
- Defecography: Radiologic study to look at prolapse symptoms associated with bowel function.
- Pelvic Ultrasound: Radiologic study that looks at reproductive organs, bladder, or muscles of the pelvic floor.
- Pelvic Floor MRI: Radiologic study that assesses the muscles, organs, and support of the pelvic floor and helps to evaluate how the pelvic floor functions with straining.
- CT Scan of Abdomen and Pelvis: Radiologic study that helps rule out other medical conditions that may have similar symptoms to prolapse
If you notice prolapsed pelvic organs, carefully describe the location of the bulging tissue (opening of the anus or the vagina). This is important information for your doctor to consider during diagnosis—rectal and vaginal prolapse may be present simultaneously. However, treatment options for a rectocele or posterior vaginal wall prolapsed and rectal prolapse are different.