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Release Date: 10/30/2017

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a common problem in women that is caused by a weakness of the ligaments and muscle that normally hold up the bladder, vagina, uterus, and rectum. While it is not usually dangerous, POP can be very uncomfortable and interfere with healthy living. Often, health care providers struggle with how to properly evaluate and counsel patients with POP.

The American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS) Guidelines and Statements Committee recently published a Best Practice Statement in the journal Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery entitled “Evaluation and Counseling of Patients With Pelvic Organ Prolapse.” The statement was prepared with the assistance of a team that includes Cassandra L. Carberry, MD, MS, a member of the Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery at Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island and an assistant professor (clinician educator) at Brown University.

According to the statement, “Women with prolapse should have an examination to quantify the loss of anatomic support and should be evaluated for associated bladder, bowel, and prolapse symptoms, as well as associated bother. Treatment options should be tailored to meet the patient’s medical health and personal functional goals. In most cases, women should be informed of the range of treatment options including observation as well as nonsurgical and surgical management.”

Dr. Carberry has explained that there are several treatment options for pelvic organ prolapse, including specialized physical therapy to help strengthen the pelvic muscles that support the vagina, bladder, and rectum; a pessary to provide support; or surgery to correct the POP.

She said, “It’s important for women with pelvic organ prolapse to be properly evaluated and given all their options. Any health care provider taking care of women may encounter patients with pelvic organ prolapse. They should be aware of the necessary evaluation and treatment options, and can work collaboratively with specialists to treat those women who are symptomatic to improve their quality of life.”

For information about Women & Infants’ Division of Urogynecology and Reconstructive Pelvic Surgery, visit womenandinfants.org/urogynecology or call (401) 453-7560.

About Women & Infants Hospital

Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island, a Care New England hospital, is one of the nation’s leading specialty hospitals for women and newborns. A major teaching affiliate of The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University for obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics, as well as a number of specialized programs in women’s medicine, Women & Infants is the 9th largest stand-alone obstetrical service in the country and the largest in New England with approximately 8,500 deliveries per year. A Designated Baby-Friendly® USA hospital, U.S.News & World Report 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospital in Neonatology and a 2014 Leapfrog Top Hospital, in 2009 Women & Infants opened what was at the time the country’s largest, single-family room neonatal intensive care unit.

Women & Infants and Brown offer fellowship programs in gynecologic oncology, maternal-fetal medicine, urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery, neonatal-perinatal medicine, pediatric and perinatal pathology, gynecologic pathology and cytopathology, and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. It is home to the nation’s first mother-baby perinatal psychiatric partial hospital, as well as the nation’s only fellowship program in obstetric medicine.

Women & Infants has been designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiography; a Center of Excellence in Minimally Invasive Gynecology; a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence by the National Institutes of Health (NIH); and a Neonatal Resource Services Center of Excellence. It is one of the largest and most prestigious research facilities in high risk and normal obstetrics, gynecology and newborn pediatrics in the nation, and is a member of the National Cancer Institute’s Gynecologic Oncology Group and the Pelvic Floor Disorders Network.
Dr. Cassandra Carberry

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Amy Blustein
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800 Butler Drive
Providence, RI 02906
P: (401) 681-2822 
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E: ablustein@carene.org