Pelvic Organ Prolapse

March 22, 2022 1:04 pm Published by

pelvic prolapse.

Pelvic organ prolapse happens when a woman’s pelvic organs—vagina, cervix, uterus, bladder, urethra and rectum—weaken or loosen and drop from their normal location. It affects around 3% of women in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There are different types of pelvic organ prolapse, depending on which organ has dropped:

  • Cystocele: This is when the bladder drops into the vagina
  • Enterocele: The small intestine drops into the vagina
  • Rectocele: This happens when the rectum bulges into the vagina
  • Uterine prolapse: This is when the uterus drops into the vagina
  • Vaginal vault prolapse: The top of the vagina drops

Pelvic organ prolapse is caused by vaginal childbirth, pregnancy, aging, family history and pressure on your abdomen from obesity or chronic coughing.

Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Some women may not have any symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse, but many report pain or discomfort. Other symptoms include:

  • Constipation
  • Difficulty urinating or emptying the bladder completely
  • Feeling bulging in the vagina
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Heaviness or aching in the vagina that gets worse when using the bathroom
  • Issues inserting tampons
  • Leaking urine when coughing, laughing or exercising

Symptoms may be worse during certain times of day, during exercise or after standing for long periods of time.

Treatment Options

Treatment for pelvic organ prolapse depends on the type of prolapse you have. Options include:

  • Diet changes: If you are frequently constipated, eating more fiber could help. If your prolapse is due to obesity, diet changes for weight loss may be helpful.
  • Pelvic floor muscle therapy: Certain exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor can help with pelvic organ prolapse
  • Pessary: A removeable device called a pessary can be inserted into the vagina to help support pelvic organs.
  • Surgery: There are different surgery options for pelvic organ prolapse, including surgery to close the vaginal opening or repair the prolapse and rebuild the pelvic floor.

Speak with your healthcare provider about which treatment option is right for you.

Prevent Pelvic Organ Prolapse

While you can’t do anything about your genetic risk for pelvic organ prolapse, there are some lifestyle preventive measures you can take to prevent this from happening to you. To lower your risk for pelvic organ prolapse, avoid placing unnecessary pressure on your abdomen or pelvic floor. Habits that help include:

  • Eat a diet high in fiber and fluids to prevent constipation and straining during bowel movements.
  • If you smoke, set a goal to quit.
  • Take steps to lose excess weight if you are overweight or obese.
  • Participate in pelvic floor muscle exercises, like Kegels.

Talk with your healthcare provider about other prevention measures you can take to reduce your risk of pelvic organ prolapse.


Schedule an appointment with our Women’s Health Clinic.

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This post was written by Magnolia Regional Health Center