A prolapse means the “dropping down” of your pelvic organs – your bladder, bowel or uterus. It is NORMAL to have some movement of organs in the vagina, but symptoms associated with this should not be accepted as normal.

A prolapse sounds scary, but it is very common after childbirth and during menopause. In many cases, prolapse can be better managed, its symptoms reduced and its progression prevented.

Signs and symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse

  • A heavy or dragging feeling in the vagina
  • A bulge at the entrance of your vagina
  • Discomfort or heaviness with prolonged standing
  • Difficultly emptying your bladder or bowel
  • A sense of rectal fullness in your perineum or vagina rather than your anus
  • Low back ache
  • Heaviness or ache before your period or with ovulation

Common causes of pelvic organ prolapse

  • Chronic straining in the pelvic floor area due to constipation, heavy lifting or chronic coughing
  • Pelvic floor muscle stretch and weakness
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • High body weight and aging
  • Genetic factors

How can physiotherapy help?

  • Physiotherapy involves assessing all the potential contributing factors for your prolapse and can include:
    • Pelvic floor muscle retraining
    • Advice on healthy bladder & bowel habits
    • A pessary fitting – this is a soft silicone device that is inserted into your vagina to support the pelvic organs
    • Exercise advice