Here is a true story that illustrates just how serious a pelvic floor disorders can be.
Think a weak pelvic floor is purely a quality of life issue, an inconvenience? Consider KL.
KL came to see me about 6 months ago with an advanced degree of pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic organ prolapse is a very common, but seldom discussed, women’s health issue where the bladder, uterus, and or rectum fall toward, or beyond, the vaginal opening. In KLs case way beyond the vaginal opening. KL, 77 years old, came into my office last Fall with “a bulge”; the typical report of a woman with an advanced prolapse. In KLs case the bulge was a complete prolapse of her uterus and vagina. Although the geometry is a challenge to explain suffice to say she was experiencing a complete turning “inside-out” of the vagina such that it extended, (uterus, bladder, and rectum) outside her body, halfway to her knees. This is no exaggeration. Now KL had other problems as well, among them nausea, daily vomiting, and weight loss related to failing kidneys. KL’s prolapse and kidney failure, two seemingly unrelated problems, were all but unrelated. In KLs case the prolapse had become so severe that the ureters (the kidney tubes that bring urine from the kidneys to the bladder) were kinked and not allowing urine to flow into the bladder. Left untreated the obstructing effect of KLs prolapse would have eventually killed her.
KL was quite ill and in no condition to go to the operating room for a surgical repair her dramatic prolapse. We utilized a large pessary device, a donut shaped piece of silicon, to replace the prolapse and unblock the ureters. Fortunately over the next 4 months KLs kidney function recovered, her nausea and vomiting cleared, she even gained some weight. Unsatisfied with the pessary as long term solution KL elected to have her prolapse repaired. I am pleased to say she breezed through the surgery. I sent her home this morning.