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Vaginal Prolapse: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Aug 17, 2023

Vaginal Prolapse: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis and Treatment

Vaginal prolapse can occur when the pelvic muscles that support a woman's organs weaken. The uterus, urethra, bladder, or rectum could protrude into or droop into the vagina as a result.

Prolapse comes in a variety of forms, including:

  • An anterior bladder prolapse into the vagina is referred to as a cystocele or urethrocele.
  • A weakening of the wall separating the rectum from the vagina results in retrocele, also known as posterior vaginal prolapse. The rectum may as a result stick out into the vagina.
  • Uterine prolapse is the medical term for when the uterus protrudes into the vagina.
  • Apical prolapse (sometimes referred to as vaginal vault prolapse) is the medical term for when the cervix or upper part of the vagina prolapses into the vagina.

Causes Of Vaginal Prolapse

Your pelvic organs are supported by a hammock-like group of muscles known as the pelvic floor muscles. These muscles might be strained and weakened after childbirth, especially if you had a challenging delivery.

These muscles can become even weaker with age and estrogen loss during menopause, which will cause the pelvic organs to droop into the vagina.

Vaginal prolapse can also result from:

  • Coughing constantly due to chronic lung disease
  • Moving large goods
  • Pressure from excess weight
  • Chronic constipation

Symptoms Of Vaginal Prolapse

Women who suffer vaginal prolapse frequently exhibit no symptoms. If you do experience symptoms, they will vary depending on the prolapsed organ.

Some symptoms include:

  • A sensation of fullness in the genital area
  • A lump at the vaginal opening
  • A lump at the vaginal opening and a feeling of pressure or weight in the pelvic
  • The sensation of "sitting on a ball"
  • Achy lower back pain that disappears when you lie down an increased urge to urinate issues emptying your bladder or having a full bowel movement
  • Frequent Bladder infections 
  • irregular vaginal bleeding
  • Pain during sex, and urine leakage when you laugh, sneeze, cough, or have sex.

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Risk Factors Of Vaginal Prolapse

The following factors increase your risk of vaginal prolapse:

  • Had complicated vaginal deliveries
  • Undergone menopause
  • Smoking
  • Coughed frequently from lung disease
  • Chronically constipated and had to strain to urinate
  • Had a mother or sister with prolapse
  • Frequently lifted heavy objects
  • Having fibroids.

Diagnosis Of Vaginal Prolapse

A pelvic exam can help identify vaginal prolapse. In order to simulate pushing out a bowel movement during the examination, your doctor may ask you to bear down.

Additionally, your doctor could ask you to tense and relax the muscles that control the flow of urine. This examination measures the power of the muscles that support your uterus, vagina, and other pelvic organs.

Testing to determine how well your bladder functions may be necessary if you have trouble peeing. Urodynamic testing is what this is.

The strength and volume of your urine stream are measured using uroflowmetry.

The amount of bladder capacity required to trigger a toilet visit is determined by cystometry.

To check for issues with your pelvic organs, your doctor might also perform one or more of the imaging procedures listed below:

  • Pelvic ultrasound. This examination examines your bladder and other organs using sound waves.
  • Abdominal MRI. Strong magnets and radio waves are used in this examination to create images of your pelvic organs.
  • A pelvic and abdominal CT scan. In this examination, your pelvic organs are photographed in great detail using an X-ray.

Treatment Of Vaginal Prolapse

The most cautious course of therapy will be first suggested by your doctor.

Conservative methods of therapy

The muscles that support your vagina, bladder, and other pelvic organs are strengthened with pelvic floor exercises, often known as Kegels. Doing them:

  • Using the same muscles that you would use to hold and release urine, squeeze.
  • After a little period of holding the contraction, release it.
  • Three times every day, perform 8 to 10 of these exercises.
  • The following time you need to urinate, stop mid-flow, start again, and stop to aid in learning where your pelvic floor muscles are. This technique should only be used to locate the muscles; it should not be used as a regular practice. In the future, you can practice doing this when you're not urinating.

If you're having trouble identifying the correct muscles, a physical therapist can utilize biofeedback to guide you.

Losing weight could also be beneficial. Your bladder and other pelvic organs may feel less pressure if you lose weight. Find out from your doctor how much weight you need to drop.

A pessary is another choice. This plastic or rubber device, which is placed into your vagina, keeps the protruding tissues in place. Learning to implant a pessary is simple, and it prevents surgery.


Consider having the pelvic organs surgically repositioned and retained if other approaches are unsuccessful.

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