This is where the pelvic organs (e.g. the bladder, bowel or uterus) sag into the vagina. You might feel this as a bulge or a heavy/dragging sensation in your vagina. Other symptoms can be pelvic pain, difficulty emptying your bladder or bowel and pain or difficulty having sex. Prolapse is very common and is thought to occur in about 50% of women who have had a baby. However it often doesn’t cause any symptoms.
Pregnancy and childbirth are strong risk factors for the development of pelvic organ prolapse, but other causes can be increasing age, menopause, chronic constipation, heavy lifting and chronic cough.
If you think you have a prolapse, it is a good idea to see your doctor. The doctor can examine you and discuss options for management with you. These might include weight loss, avoiding constipation and seeing a pelvic floor physiotherapist for advice about pelvic floor exercises. Other management options are wearing a pessary (a plastic or rubber device that is worn inside the vagina to give internal support to the pelvic organs) or having surgery.