Vaginal Prolapse

Vaginal Prolapse is a common condition where the bladder, uterus and/or bowel protrude into the vagina. Often caused by pregnancy and birth, although other factors do apply.

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There is a range of typically successful treatment options for Vaginal Prolapse cases so don’t suffer in silence or feel too embarrassed to talk to a specialist doctor.

  • SEEK HELP – Seek help from a gynaecologist that provides a calm, unhurried environment.
  • DIAGNOSIS – Prompt diagnosis will help undercover what might be causing your symptoms.
  • TREATMENT – Knowing your treatment options allows you to make informed decisions about your women’s health.
  • DON’T DELAY – Prompt treatment of gynaecology conditions often results in a greater chance of success.

Symptoms

You may not immediately notice when you have had a prolapse, particularly if the protrusion is not a large one.

If you start to experience symptoms you may:

  • see or feel a lump inside your vagina or poking out of it
  • experience an ache in your pelvis or back
  • need to wee more than usual or find yourself weeing accidentally
  • have a recurrent urinary tract infection
  • have problems emptying your bladder or bowel
  • have difficulties during sexual intercourse – pain, discomfort or reduced sensation

Causes

In around 50% of cases, the primary cause of vaginal prolapse is pregnancy and birth. This is due to the weakening of the pelvic floor, which occurs during pregnancy and birth. You are more likely to have a prolapse if:

  • you are overweight
  • there is a family history of vaginal prolapse
  • you have been through the menopause and your oestrogen levels are low
  • you have constipation and strain to go to the toilet
  • you have fibroids
  • you regularly lift heavy objects
  • you cough a lot

Diagnosis

If you suspect you may have a prolapse it is important to visit a gynaecologist who will ask you questions and perform an internal examination. This normally involves examining your vagina and anus.

They may ask you to cough or tighten your pelvic muscles as part of the examination.

Treatment

There are a number of different types of treatment depending on the extent of the prolapse, your age and whether or not you would like to have more children.

Your gynaecologist may suggest:

  • Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight if applicable, lifting less or giving up smoking.
  • Physiotherapy to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and fix the prolapse.
  • A small plastic or silicon pessary inside your vagina to support your organs. While this won’t fix the prolapse it will ease the symptoms.
  • Surgery to repair the prolapse. This may not be recommended if you wish to have more children.

FAQs

In some cases the prolapse may protrude outside your vagina, but not in all. In many cases you may feel a lump inside your vagina. Sometimes a prolapse is asymptomatic (there are no symptoms) in which case treatment is not normally recommended.

A vaginal prolapse may cause discomfort or pain during sexual intercourse. In some cases they may produce a heavy, dragging feeling inside your vagina or just a vague sensation that something is different.

Women usually notice more symptoms at the end of the day after they’ve been on their feet all day, it is usually better in the morning.

In many cases, yes they can, either through physiotherapy to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles or through surgery. If the prolapse can’t be fixed you may be offered something to help you manage the symptoms, such as a pessary to support the prolapse.