Prolapse of the Uterus
Prolapse of the uterus refers to the downward displacement of the vagina and uterus. The word prolapse is derived from the latin procidere which means with effect to fall. This disorder is more common in our country than in the western world.
The uterus is held in position by adequate ligaments. Besides, it has the support of the muscular structures of vagina and all other local tissues and muscles. Due to the laxity of support by muscles, tissue and ligaments, the uterus sags downwards.
A woman suffering from prolapse of a uterus feels that something is coming down through the vagina. She feels a sense of fullness in the region of the bladder and rectum. Other symptoms include dragging discomfort in the lower abdomen, low backache, heavy menses and milk vaginal discharge. There is also an increase in the frequency of urination and the patient feels difficulty in total emptying of the bladder. There may also be a burning sensation due to infection.
The woman may experience difficulty in passing stools and complete evacuation of bowels. These symptoms become more pronounced before and during menstruation. The condition may also result in difficulty in normal sexual intercourse and sometimes sterility.
There are several factors which contribute to the displacement of the uterus. These include continuous distension of the intestines with gas or excess food materials, leading to constant downward pressure on the womb, chronic constipation leading to pressure from behind from an over-filled colon, tight clothing especially tight corsets, constant stooping, and a weakened condition of the internal muscles of the abdomen , through lack of exercise and bodily weakness.
Some of the other important factors responsible for prolapse of the uterus are prolonged labour, an interference in the delivery by inexpert people, lack of proper rest and diet in post-natal periods, repeated deliveries and manual work. An increased weight of the womb, tumours of the uterus, traction of the uterus and surgical injuries can also lead to this disorder. Menopausal atrophy may also precipitate it.
It is easier to prevent prolapse of uterus than cure it after its occurrence. The measures to prevent it should include good antenatal care in pregnancy, proper management and timely intervention during delivery, good postnatal care with proper rest, correct diet and appropriate exercise so as to strengthen the pelvic musculature.
Treatment of displaced womb must consist mainly of a suitable diet and exercise. The diet should be so planned as should aim at building up the internal musculature of the body. Of course, any tendency towards tight lacing, constant stooping, and heavy lifting must be carefully guarded against, once a natural regime is undertaken, as these will automatically tend to hold up the success of the treatment.
To begin with the patient should adopt an all-fruit diet for about five days. During this period she should take three meals consisting of juicy fruits such as orange, apple, pineapple, grapes at five hourly intervals. The bowel should be cleansed daily with a warm water enema.
After the all-fruit diet , the patient should gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet, based on three basic food groups, namely, (i) seeds, nuts and grains (ii) vegetables and (iii) fruits. The all-fruit diet should be repeated for three days at monthly intervals till the condition improves.
Carrots have proved useful in the treatment of prolapse of the uterus. For prolpase of the uterus, pulped carrots should be placed in a muslin bag and inserted in a vagina. This should be kept for some time using fresh carrots every 12 hours. This will heal and strengthen the parts and help greatly in preventing any further disorders in the female reproductive system.
A hot Epsom salts bath is also beneficial in the treatment of prolapse of the uterus and should be undertaken twice a week. This bath is prepared by dissolving one or one and half kg. of Epsom-salt in an ordinary bath of hot water. The patient should remain immersed in the bath from ten to twenty minutes. This bath should be taken just before retiring to bed and care should be exercised not to get chilled afterwards. No soaps should be used with the bath as it will interfere with its beneficial effects. The alternate hot and cold hip bath are also useful and should be undertaken at night on alternate days.
Exercises to strengthen the pelvic musculature are extremely useful in the treatment of prolapse of the uterus. Lying on a couch with the legs raised higher than the rest of the body is very helpful in relieving pain and discomfort from a displaced womb. This should be done from half an hour to an hour two or three times daily. The feet should be raised about eighteen inches by placing cushions under them. When this is not possible the patient can sit on a chair with feet on another chair. The more this can be done during the day, the better will it be in every way.
The patient should also perform other exercises aimed at strengthening the abdominal muscles. These exercises will help greatly in correcting the displacement of the uterus.
Women should always take precautions to space out their children so as to prevent repeated successive deliveries. This will allow the genital issues to regain their strength and vitality and thereby prevent prolapse of the uterus.