many women, it’s difficult to talk about problems like pelvic organ prolapse or
vaginal bulges, even with a doctor. Some women do not seek help because they
don’t understand what is happening, especially since symptoms develop gradually
over months or years.
Pelvic organ prolapse occurs when your pelvic floor weakens, causing one or more of the pelvic organs (vagina, cervix, uterus, bladder, urethra, intestines or rectum) to drop from its normal place in the lower belly and push against the vaginal walls. While pelvic organ prolapse is not life threatening, it can be life altering.
There are four types of prolapse:
Anterior prolapse—occurs when the bladder falls into the vagina
Posterior prolapse—occurs when the rectum or intestine drops into the vagina
Rectal prolapse—occurs when the rectum detaches from the rectal wall and drops
Uterine prolapse—occurs when the top part of the vagina detaches from the pelvic floor
organ prolapse causes
Normally pelvic organs are held in place by the muscles and tissues in the lower belly. Pelvic organ prolapse occurs most often in women who deliver multiple babies vaginally, resulting in stretching of and damage to the muscles, ligaments and connective tissues of the organ.
You may also have pelvic organ prolapse if you have surgery to remove your uterus (hysterectomy). After removing the uterus, other organs in the pelvis are left with less support.
Other factors that can cause pelvic organ prolapse include:
organ prolapse risk factors
You are most likely at risk for pelvic organ prolapse if you:
Experience constipation (that increases intra-abdominal pressure)
Had a prior hysterectomy or other pelvic surgery
Have a family history
Vaginally delivered multiple babies
organ prolapse symptoms
Pelvic organ prolapse is very common and affects up to 10 percent of women. However, not all women notice symptoms with pelvic organ prolapse.
Some symptoms you may experience is:
A bulge near the vaginal opening
A feeling of pressure and fullness on the vagina
Difficult bowel movements
Urinary symptoms including incontinence
Discuss your concerns with your gynecologists or make an appointment with one of our Pelvic Floor Medicine specialist.
Do you have concerns about pelvic organ prolapse but are not sure about what to do next? Contact our ezCare Concierge nurse navigator, a free, confidential service designed to help you navigate the best next steps for you and your health.