Narrative review of the epidemiology, diagnosis and pathophysiology of pelvic organ prolapse, 2020

Topics: Epidemiology; Pelvic Organ Prolapse; physiopathology

Authors: Adi Y Weintraub, Hannah Glinter, Naama Marcus-Braun


The exact prevalence of pelvic organ prolapse is difficult to establish. The anatomical changes do not always consist with the severity or the symptoms associated with prolapse. There are many risk factors associated with pelvic organ prolapse and this review aims to identify the epidemiology and pathophysiology while looking at the known risk factors for pelvic organ prolapse. PubMed search involved a number of terms including: epidemiology, risk factors, reoccurrence indicators, management and evaluation. Several risk factors have been associated with pelvic organ prolapse, all contribute to weakening of the pelvic floor connective tissue/collagen, allowing the pelvic organs to prolapse through the vaginal walls. Among the risk factors are genetic background, childbirth and mode of delivery, previous hysterectomy, menopausal state and the ratio between Estrogen receptors. The “Integral theory” of Petros and the “Levels of Support” model of Delancey enable us to locate the defect, diagnose and treat pelvic organ prolapse. The currently available demographic data is not reliable enough to properly estimate the true extent of pelvic organ prolapse in the population. However, standardization of the diagnosis and treatment may significantly improve our ability to estimate the true incidence and prevalence of this condition in the coming years.

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