Surgery Makes All the Difference for 55-year-old Woman With Pelvic Organ Prolapse
June 10, 2022
Maria Chludzinski, 55, works as a paraprofessional at the E. Raymond Appleby School, an elementary school in Spotswood, New Jersey. “I’m on my feet all day,” she says. In 2016, she started experiencing sudden and frequent urges to go to the bathroom, and she was waking several times at night to urinate. She also felt pressure in her pelvic region. At home, she’d put her feet up for a while, which made the feeling recede.
Her obstetrician/gynecologist diagnosed her with pelvic organ prolapse (POP), a condition in which one or more pelvic organs slip down into the vagina, and suggested she see a specialist. Maria found Nina Bhatia, M.D., a urogynecologist at Bayshore Medical Center.
An Additional Diagnosis
When Dr. Bhatia saw Maria in 2017, she was also diagnosed with an overactive bladder, which has four symptoms:
- Nocturia (waking at night to urinate)
- Urge incontinence (having accidents on the way to the bathroom)
Before prescribing medication for Maria’s overactive bladder, Dr. Bhatia wanted her to try pelvic therapy. “I did exercises like kegels, contracting and holding my pelvic floor muscles and then releasing them, and used electronic devices that stimulate the vaginal muscles so that they learn to tense and release to help support the bladder,” Maria says.
Dr. Bhatia also noted Maria’s prolapsed bladder and uterus, which was causing pelvic discomfort. “Some women describe the feeling like they’re sitting on a ball,” she says. “POP can happen to women at any age, but it tends to happen later in life, often after childbearing.”
POP can be caused by a combination of factors:
- Genetics or family history
- Previous C-sections or vaginal deliveries
- Age (as you age, ligaments start to weaken)
- Heavy lifting
- Weight gain or weight loss
Repairing the Prolapse
Despite treatment, the Spotswood, New Jersey, resident wasn’t improving and her prolapse worsened. She started on medication for her overactive bladder, and in 2021, Dr. Bhatia recommended surgery.
“Maria had robotic surgery during which I made five small incisions in her abdomen,” Dr. Bhatia says. “I removed the uterus and used mesh to lift the vaginal walls. That lifted both the bladder and rectum, and supported the vagina. I also repaired the vagina to help with the support and added a sling for stress incontinence.”
Surgery made all the difference for Maria. “I feel so much more comfortable and more secure now,” she says. ”I trust Dr. Bhatia, and I’m grateful to her. Also, the hospital staff was very accommodating.”
Dr. Bhatia says POP is common, but women don’t tend to talk about it. “Women don’t need to feel alone or embarrassed; they should know help is available. The procedure is straightforward and minimally invasive, and they can get back to their lives very quickly,” she notes.
For her part, Maria says: “I’m telling my very personal story because I want women with these conditions to feel empowered. They need to find the right person to help. For me, that’s Dr. Bhatia.”
Next Steps & Resources:
- Meet our source: Nina Bhatia, M.D.
- To make an appointment with Dr. Bhatia or a doctor near you, call 800-822-8905 or visit our website.
- Learn more about urogynecologic care at Hackensack Meridian Health
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
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