Magazine article USA TODAY

Inelastic Vaginal Wall Part of the Cause

Magazine article USA TODAY

Inelastic Vaginal Wall Part of the Cause

Article excerpt

A gynecologist and a molecular biologist have collaborated to show for the first time that pelvic organ prolapse--a condition in which the uterus, bladder, or vagina protrudes from the body--is caused by a combination of a loss of elasticity and a breakdown of proteins in the vaginal wall. Pelvic organ prolapse most often affects women older than 50 years of age. Besides creating pelvic pressure, it can lead to other pelvic-floor disorders, such as urinary and fecal incontinence, and can affect sexual function.

"We found that the protein fibulin-5, which until now simply has been known to be important in generating elastic fibers, actually blocks the enzymes that degrade proteins that support the vaginal wall structure," explains gynecologist R. Ann Word, co-senior author of the study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. "The elastic fibers do play a role, but it's also the enzymes that degrade the matrix that break down both collagen and elastin over time."

More than 225,000 in-patient surgical procedures for pelvic organ prolapse are performed each year in the U.S. at an estimated cost of more than $1,000,000,000. Surgery alone, though, is not always effective in the long run; nearly 30% of women report continued complications over a five-year follow-up period because the underlying problem of matrix support has not been corrected. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.