Small bowel prolapse, also called enterocele, is an abnormal condition where the small intestine slides into the lower pelvic cavity making a bulge on the top part of the vagina. Although self-care measures can reduce the probability of small bowel prolapse, once it occurs, it needs to be treated.
About Small Bowel Prolapse
Aging, childbirth, or other processes may impact ligaments and tissues that hold pelvic organs. They may weaken your muscles that in turn makes small bowel prolapse a probability. Depending on the intensity of the prolapse, meaning ‘bulge,’ surgical or other corrective methods are chosen by your doctor.
What are the symptoms of small bowel prolapse?
Mild enterocele doesn’t show any symptoms. However, you can lookout for the following symptoms in case of considerable prolapse:
- Feeling heavy in your pelvic region or pulling sensation, but it dies down during sleeping.
- Pressure, burning sensation, or pain in the pelvic region.
- Feeling of fullness in the pelvic region.
- You can also observe bulging of your outer vaginal area.
- Lower back pain.
- Painful intercourse or pain while urinating .
- Feeling discomfort in the vagina.
What are the causes of small bowel prolapse?
While increased pressure and weight on the pelvic floor is just one reason that contributes to small bowel prolapse, the other reasons include:
Pregnancy or childbirth: Although pregnancy or childbirth may not always result in a small bowel prolapse. The muscles, ligaments and fascia that hold and support your vagina stretch and weaken during pregnancy, labor and delivery. This condition may further spiral into the enterocele.
Other causes may include:
- Severe constipation or strain in bowel movements also creates pressure on the pelvic floor that may evolve into small bowel prolapse.
- Lifting heavy objects may also create pressure on your pelvic region.
- Overweight or obesity is one of the other causes of small bowel prolapse.
- Bronchitis or cough.
When to visit a doctor?
- If you observe bulging or swelling in your vaginal region.
- Vaginal discomfort for a prolonged period.
- Feeling pressure or fullness in the pelvic area for longer duration.
How to prevent small bowel prolapse?
You can ensure the following preventive measures to reduce the probability of small bowel prolapse:
- Weight control: Overweight can increase the pressure on your pelvic organs. Hence, keeping a check on your weight can reduce the pressure in your abdomen.
- Treat constipation: If you suffer from constipation, consume fiber-rich foods and plenty of healthy fluids like fruit juices. Regular exercise and yoga can also ease constipation.
- Treat cough: Chronic cough creates pressure on your abdomen. Hence, seek medical help to treat chronic cough.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking contributes to coughing. Hence, avoid smoking as much as possible.
- Do not lift heavy weights that create pressure on your abdomen.
Treatment for Enterocele:
Mild symptoms may not need significant medical intervention, but if the symptoms are bothering you, the treatment options include:
- Observation: In case of mild symptoms, regular exercise, treating constipation, weight control measures, and avoiding heavy lifting can mitigate the worsening of your situation.
- Pessary: A pessary is a silicone or rubber tube that supports the vagina. It comes in various sizes and shapes, and with a trial and error method, your doctor suggests a suitable one for you to insert, remove, and clean.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgical intervention becomes inevitable. In such an instance, your doctor tightens the tissues and ligaments of the pelvic floor after moving the small intestine back into its place.
Hysterectomy, kegel exercises, and a few other self-care measures may show positive outcomes in avoiding small bowel prolapse. However, there is nothing to worry about as most of the time, the symptoms are mild, and treatment options are available.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the things that I should avoid in case of a prolapse?
Take care of all aspects that may worsen your condition, or increase the pressure in your pelvic region, avoid lifting heavy exercises or extreme physical activities.
Can I push back the bulge on the vagina?
No. Self-treatment is not a wise choice, especially when medical intervention is required. If the discomfort is bothering you, visit the doctor immediately.
What happens if the enterocele is untreated?
Can a prolapse impact digestive functioning?
There are different types of prolapses. Although vaginal prolapse has the least impact on metabolic functions, depending on the extent, it may or may not interfere with digestive functions.