Pelvic Organ Prolapse

What is pelvic organ prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse is bulging of one or more of the pelvic organs in to the vagina. These organs are the womb (uterus), bowel and bladder.


What are the symptoms?

Some women don't have any symptoms; however, symptoms could include one or more of the following:

  • sensation of a bulge or something coming down or out of the vagina

  • discomfort during intercourse

  • dragging sensation lower abdomen and/or vagina

  • problems passing urine

  • leaking urine

  • problems emptying the bowel

Symptoms can depend on the type and severity of prolapse that you have.

Symptoms often come and go and can vary in severity depending on time of day, time of the month and how active you have been.

What causes a pelvic organ prolapse?

Prolapse is caused by weakening of the pelvic floor support system.  This can happen for a number of reasons:

  • Pregnancy/Childbirth

  • Ageing and menopause

  • Being overweight

  • Persistent cough

  • Chronic constipation

  • Abdominal or pelvic surgery


How is it treated?

Treatment depends on the severity of the prolapse, your health, whether you plan to have any future pregnancies and how it affects your quality of life, treatment options include: 

  • Lifestyle changes

  • Pelvic floor rehabilitation/physiotherapy

  • Vaginal pessary

  • Surgery

How can physiotherapy help? 

Physiotherapy can be very successful in reducing symptoms and preventing worsening of the prolapse.  The main aim of physiotherapy is usually to improve the function of your pelvic floor muscles, so that they can provide improved support to your pelvic organs.  You will be given guidance in the appropriate lifestyle changes to make to prevent further worsening of the prolapse.

Even if you require surgery it is important that your pelvic floor muscles are working optimally to help prevent failure of the surgery in the future.