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Everything you need to know about vaginal prolapse

Vaginal prolapse refers to a condition where the structures that support the vagina weaken or stretch, causing the organ to sag or descend from its normal position. This can occur when the pelvic floor muscles and tissues become strained or damaged, often due to factors such as childbirth, aging, obesity, or repetitive heavy lifting. In more severe cases, the bladder, uterus, or rectum may protrude into the vaginal canal, leading to discomfort, pain, and potential complications. 

Vaginal prolapse signs


If you suspect you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consult with a St. Joseph Health provider for a proper diagnosis and to discuss treatment options.

Causes of vaginal prolapse

Vaginal prolapse can result from a combination of factors that weaken the supportive structures of the pelvic region. Common causes include:


Vaginal prolapse treatment options

Treatment options for vaginal prolapse vary based on the severity of the condition and the individual's health. Here are common approaches:

  • Pelvic floor exercises (Kegels): Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through exercises can provide support and alleviate mild symptoms.

  • Lifestyle changes: Maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding heavy lifting, and incorporating dietary changes to prevent constipation can help manage and prevent further prolapse.

  • Pessaries: These are devices inserted into the vagina to provide structural support and alleviate symptoms. They come in various shapes and sizes.

  • Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT): For postmenopausal women, HRT may help improve tissue strength and alleviate some symptoms.

  • Physical therapy: Specialized physical therapy can provide targeted exercises and techniques to strengthen pelvic muscles and improve symptoms.

  • Biofeedback: This therapy involves using sensors to provide feedback on muscle contractions, helping individuals learn to control and strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

  • Surgical interventions:

    • Anterior or posterior repair: Repair of the front (cystocele) or back (rectocele) vaginal wall.

    • Uterine suspension: If the uterus is contributing to prolapse, it may be repositioned or removed.

    • Colporrhaphy: Surgical repair of the vaginal walls.

    • Mesh procedures: In some cases, synthetic mesh may be used to provide additional support.

  • Behavioral therapies: Addressing habits that may worsen prolapse, such as improper toileting techniques.

Each person's situation is unique, and consulting with a St. Joseph Health provider specializing in vaginal prolapse can provide valuable insights and options tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.

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