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Understanding the Traditional & Current Classifications of POP by Janet Price

Understanding the Traditional & Current Classifications of POP by
Article Posted: 10/18/2013
Article Views: 85
Articles Written: 7
Word Count: 578
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Understanding the Traditional & Current Classifications of POP

Is your pelvic organ prolapse a case of prolapse of the bladder, cystocele, anterior prolapse, prolapse of the vaginal front wall, or prolapse of the anterior compartment?

When you get to the bottom of it, these terms may describe only one medical condition. For an ordinary woman who is experiencing symptoms associated with the descent of the bladder towards her vaginal canal, designating a name for her condition can be very confusing.

To avoid confusion in the semantics involving this very prevalent condition which may affect over 4 million American women, a clarification may be in order.

Traditional Classification of POP

Not too long ago, a case of prolapse was named after the organ that was affected. So when the bladder prolapses or descends towards the vaginal canal, the condition was called bladder prolapse. It was also called cystocele which is French in origin but derived from the Greek word kystis meaning bladder or pouch and kele which means tumor. Hence, the types of POP were called the following:

Bladder: Bladder prolapse, Cystocele Urethra: Prolapse of the urethra, urethrocele Bladder and Urethra: Cystourethrocele Small Intestine: Small Bowel Prolapse, Enterocele Rectum: Rectum Prolapse, Rectocele Uterus: Uterine prolapse, prolapse of the uterus, Top of Vagina: Vaginal vault prolapse

It was pointed out that using these terms may not really be accurate in describing the specific illnesses. Using the term rectocele may imply that something is wrong with the rectum which may have caused the prolapse. To be precise, the condition is caused by the weakness of the vaginal wall, muscles, and ligaments and not because of any defects of the rectum.

This valid argument may have led to the renaming of the different types of pelvic organ prolapse. Instead of naming it after the affected organ, experts thought it would be appropriate to identify it based on the area where the prolapse may have taken place. Pelvic organ prolapse may occur in the front wall of the vagina (anterior compartment), back wall of the vagina (posterior compartment), and the top of the vagina (apical compartment).

With this, a new classification of the types of POP was adapted by the medical world which is as follows:

Prolapse of the Anterior Compartment / Anterior Prolapse Organs found in the front portion (anterior) of the pelvic area are the bladder and urethra. So when these organs descend and bulge into the vagina, they may be referred as prolapse of the anterior compartment or anterior prolapse instead of just cystocele or urethrocele.

Prolapse of the Posterior Compartment / Posterior Prolapse Traditionally called rectocele and enterocele, prolapse of the posterior compartment occurs when the lower part of the large bowel (rectum) and/or part of the small intestine bulges into the back (posterior) wall of the vagina.

Prolapse of the Apical Compartment / Apical Prolapse The name apical prolapse applies when organs found at the top (apical) of the vagina such as the uterus and vaginal vault drops into the vaginal canal. Traditional names for this type of POP are uterine prolapse and vaginal vault prolapse.

About the Author

In coming up with this write-up, the author has learned that the treatment method for POP which uses vaginal mesh implants has resulted to severe complications causing pain and suffering to thousands of women. This has led to the filing of vaginal mesh lawsuits against several mesh manufacturers. For more information on this important issue, you may visit Vaginal Mesh Lawsuits Center at

Related Articles - vaginal mesh, health, news, prolapse, women, incontinence,

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