Basic Information About Enterocele (Small Bowel Prolapse)An enterocele, also known as small bowel prolapse, happens when a weakened vaginal wall no longer supports the small intestine. This allows the bowels to lower into the pelvic cavity, pushing against the vagina and creating an outward bulge.
Minor cases of enterocele are uncomfortable but they can be treated without surgery. Severe cases, where there has been significant damage to the vaginal muscle tissues, are best treated with surgery, such as with a posterior vaginal wall repair procedure. With the help of miVIP, you can have your enterocele corrected with a minimally invasive surgery through the vagina.
StatisticsIt is much more common for older, postmenopausal women to develop enterocele as compared to other uterine disorders. The median age of women who need surgery for an enterocele is 67 years old, and the percentage of women who have had a previous hysterectomy and subsequently develop an enterocele is 79%.
What Causes Enterocele?There are several factors that make some women more prone to small bowel prolapse.
- Childbirth—The strains of childbirth can often weaken pelvic muscles significantly, making pregnant woman and women who have had children much more likely to experience bowel prolapse.
- Previous Pelvic Surgery—Having a hysterectomy also weakens the vaginal wall and can lead to enterocele.
- Body Weight—People who are significantly overweight have more pressure placed on the pelvic muscles, increasing the risk of enterocele.
- Heredity/Connective Tissue Disease—Some women may be prone to bowl prolapse if they have a history of it in their families.
Common SymptomsYou might have a case of small bowel prolapse if you have the following symptoms:
- Pelvic pressure or pain
- A slight bulge in your vaginal tissue
- Painful intercourse
- A pulling sensation in your pelvis that eases when sitting or lying down
Surgical Treatment Options and PreventionDepending on the severity of your small bowel prolapse, you may require posterior vaginal wall repair. This procedure can be performed non-robotically or by the da Vinci surgery system. The procedure involves entering in through the vagina, pushing the prolapsed bowels back into place, and bringing together the torn or stretched-out vaginal wall. This effectively repairs the damage and most patients are able to leave the surgery center on the same day.
PrognosisAlthough the surgery is quite effective at repairing the problem, after having surgery it is important to be proactive in preventing small intestine prolapse from happening again. Some ways you can prevent another bowel prolapse are:
- Lose weight if you are overweight
- Avoid constipation by drinking plenty of fluids and eating dietary fiber
- Perform Kegel exercises regularly
- Avoid straining your pelvis muscles
Deciding If You Need to Treat Your EnteroceleIf you would like more enterocele information, or think that you have a case of small intestine prolapse, you should seek the advice of a miVIP physician. After receiving an exam, you and your physician will have a better understanding of how to address your enterocele.
To make an appointment, call miVIP at 855-496-4847.