Pelvic Organ Prolapse


When the muscles and ligaments supporting a woman's pelvic organs weaken, the pelvic organs can drop lower in the pelvis, creating a bulge in the vagina (prolapse). Women most commonly develop pelvic organ prolapse years after childbirth, after a hysterectomy or after menopause.

Several types of vaginal prolapse conditions have been indentified and they include:

  • Cystocele – When the front wall of the vagina is weakened the bladder pushes into the vaginal canal
  • Rectocele – When the back wall of the vagina is weakened the bowel bulges into the vaginal canal
  • Vaginal vault prolapse – Top portion of vagina collapses into vaginal canal
  • Uterine prolapse – Uterus prolapses into the vagina

The pressure from prolapse can cause a bulge in the vagina that can sometimes be felt or seen. Women with pelvic organ prolapse may feel uncomfortable pressure during physical activity or sex.

Other 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 standing or coughing or as the day goes on
  • Leaking urine (incontinence) or problems having a bowel movement
  • Problems inserting tampons

Some women say that their symptoms are worse at certain times of the day, during physical activity, or after standing for a long time. 


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.

Your treatment may include one or more of the following: