Pelvic Organ Prolapse

pelvic organ prolapse

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) is a medical condition often experienced by women and often caused by weakening pelvic floor muscles and ligaments that support pelvic organs, leading to their descent or bulging into the vaginal canal. Here, we explore its causes, types, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention methods.


Prolapsed pelvic organs typically result from weakening pelvic floor support structures, with contributing factors including:

  • Pregnancy and Childbirth: Pregnancy and childbirth strain may put undue strain on pelvic muscles that could result in permanent damage to these structures.
  • Aging: With age comes a gradual weakening of pelvic tissues and muscles.
  • Hormonal Changes: Menopausal symptoms often involve reduced estrogen levels contributing to tissue laxity and weakening. As estrogen declines in your system, so will its protective abilities – leading to further weakening and fragility within tissues and bones.
  • Chronic Strain: Heavy lifting, chronic constipation, or persistent coughing may strain the pelvic floor over time.
  • Genetic Predisposition: While not common, specific individuals could inherit weaker connective tissues susceptible to prolapse and could increase their chances of prolapse.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse Types:

There are different forms of pelvic organ prolapse depending on which organ(s) is affected, including:

  • Cystocele: Cystocele results when the bladder empties itself into the vaginal canal.
  • Rectocele: Rectum bulges into the back wall of the vagina.
  • Uterine Prolapse: Uterus prolapse occurs when it slips past or outside of the vagina, invading or outside it.
  • Enterocele: This condition occurs when small intestines press against the upper vaginal wall and protrude upward into it.
  • Vaginal Vault Prolapse: Following hysterectomy, the top portion of the vagina starts to drop downward.


The signs and symptoms associated with pelvic organ prolapse vary in intensity and may include:

  • An unpleasant sensation of pressure or fullness in the pelvic area might increase after standing or engaging in physical activity.
  • A bulging sensation: An uncomfortable swelling that appears in the vaginal area and is sometimes described as having “fallen out.”
  • Urinary issues: Urinary incontinence or leakage due to laughing, sneezing, or exercising are the hallmarks of urinary incontinence (leakage).
  • Frustration with Bowel Movements: Constipation or the feeling that part or all of your bowel has not been expelled may occur, leading to incomplete evacuation and discomfort.
  • Pain or Discomfort: Sexual activity may result in pain during or following mating and can create discomfort within the pelvic region


Healthcare providers typically diagnose pelvic organ prolapse through an evaluation that includes medical history review, physical exam, and additional tests like pelvic floor strength assessments or imaging techniques such as ultrasound or MRI scan.

Treatment Options for Pelvic Organ Prolapse:

Depending on its severity and individual preferences, treatments options available for pelvic organ prolapse range from:

  • Pelvic Floor Exercises: Kegel Exercisers can strengthen pelvic floor muscles for greater support.
  • Pessary: An implant placed into the vagina to support organs inside.
  • Lifestyle modifications: Maintain a healthy weight by cutting back on heavy lifting and managing chronic conditions such as constipation or coughing.
  • Surgery: When necessary, surgery may be considered to restore organs to their proper positions and strengthen weak areas.


While not every case of pelvic organ prolapse can be avoided entirely, certain measures can reduce its risks:

  • Pelvic Floor Exercise: these can help maintain muscle strength. By performing pelvic floor exercises regularly, muscle strength will remain intact.
  • Nurturing a Healthy Lifestyle: Adopting lifestyle habits such as maintaining a healthy weight, giving up smoking, and managing chronic conditions are essential in improving pelvic health.
  • Lift With Care: Proper lifting methods are essential in avoiding undue strain on the pelvic floor and relieving any unnecessary tension or stress on its muscles and ligaments.


At its core, pelvic organ prolapse is a condition caused by weakening pelvic support structures, resulting in organs prolapsing into the vaginal canal and being carried down by gravity. Awareness of its causes, types, symptoms, and prevention strategies is vitally important to women’s health; seeking professional diagnosis and appropriate treatment options from healthcare practitioners will enable individuals to better manage symptoms while improving overall well-being.


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