Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse happens when the muscles and tissues supporting the pelvic organs (the uterus, bladder, or rectum) become weak or loose. This allows the pelvic organs to drop or press into or out of the vagina. Many women are embarrassed to talk to their doctor about these symptoms or think they are normal, but pelvic organ prolapse is treatable.

The most common types of pelvic organ prolapse include:

This most common type of pelvic organ prolapse happens when the bladder drops into or out of the vagina.
This happens when the uterus bulges into or out of the vagina. It can also happen after a hysterectomy. Any part of the vaginal wall may drop, causing a bulge into or out of the vagina.
Happens when part of the small intestine, or small bowel, bulges into the vagina.
This happens when the rectum bulges into or out of the vagina.

Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse include:

Seeing or feeling a bulge or “something coming out” of the vagina

  • A feeling of pressure, discomfort, aching, or fullness in the pelvis
  • Pelvic pressure that gets worse with coughing or as the day goes on
  • Difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement
  • Uncomfortable pressure during physical activity or sex

Treatment for pelvic organ prolapse depends on the type of prolapse you have, your symptoms, your age, other health problems, and whether you are sexually active. Treatment may include one or more of the following:

  • Pessary: A pessary is a removable device inserted into the vagina to support the pelvic organs. Certain types of pessaries can treat both pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence.
  • Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation: Pelvic floor exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. These exercises can help women who have pelvic organ prolapse or urinary incontinence.
  • Surgery: Surgery is an option for the correction of prolapse. This may or may not involve a hysterectomy. ¬†Surgery for prolapse can be done with or without mesh through the vagina or with a robot.