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What is Vaginal Prolapse: Symptoms and Treatment Options

vaginal prolapse causes symptoms and treatment

Vaginal prolapse is a common yet often misunderstood condition that affects many women. It occurs when the structures supporting the vagina weaken, causing the vaginal walls to protrude into or outside of the vaginal opening. This can lead to discomfort, urinary problems, and a range of other symptoms. 

It is essential to comprehend the origins, signs, and available treatments for this ailment to properly manage it.

What is Vaginal Prolapse?

Vaginal prolapse (or vault prolapse) occurs when the top of the vagina descends from its normal position in the body. This weakening is due to pelvic muscle and tissue support deterioration, causing organs to sag or bulge into the vagina. Mild cases may not require surgery, but severe prolapse may necessitate surgical repair to alleviate painful symptoms.

What are the Types of Vaginal Prolapse?

The several types of vaginal prolapse are:

  • Anterior Vaginal Prolapse (cystocele): The front wall of the vagina weakens, causing the bladder to bulge into the vagina. This can lead to urinary symptoms like frequent urination or stress urinary incontinence.
  • Posterior Vaginal Prolapse (rectocele): The back wall of the vagina weakens, allowing the rectum to bulge into the vagina. This can cause difficulty with bowel movements or rectal pressure.
  • Apical Vaginal Prolapse (vault prolapse): Descent of the top of the vagina due to weakened support after a hysterectomy.
  • Uterine Prolapse: Descent of the uterus into the vaginal canal due to weakened pelvic floor support.

You can also read: Common Causes of Frequent Urination in Women

What are the Symptoms of Vaginal Prolapse?

Symptoms of vaginal prolapse may manifest as:

  • Sensations of fullness, heaviness, or discomfort in the pelvic region, which can intensify throughout the day or following activities like standing, lifting, or coughing.
  • Lower back ache.
  • Vaginal bulging.
  • Sensations of something slipping out of the vagina.
  • Urinary leakage (urinary incontinence).
  • Recurrent bladder infections.
  • Difficulty with bowel movements.
  • Challenges during sexual intercourse.
  • Difficulty inserting tampons.

Also read: Bad back Common spine issues that can affect anyone and how to prevent them

What are the Causes of Vaginal Prolapse?

Your vagina is supported within your pelvis by muscles and tissues that can weaken over time, leading to a prolapse where the vagina slips out of place. Common causes of vaginal prolapse include:

  • Childbirth: Vaginal delivery, especially with multiple deliveries or large babies, raises the risk.
  • Menopause: Decline in oestrogen weakens pelvic muscles.
  • Surgery: Hysterectomy increases prolapse risk.
  • Ageing: Natural weakening of support structures.
  • Extreme Physical Activity: Heavy lifting or intense strain can contribute.

What are the Complications of Vaginal Prolapse?

The consequences of vaginal prolapse vary depending on the organs affected and may include:

  • Vaginal sores if the uterus or cervix protrudes.
  • Higher susceptibility to urinary tract infections.
  • Challenges with urination or bowel movements.
  • Difficulty engaging in sexual activity.

How is Vaginal Prolapse Diagnosed?

Diagnosing vaginal prolapse typically involves a pelvic exam, where your doctor may ask you to bear down as if having a bowel movement. Additionally, they might request you tighten and release muscles used to control urine flow to assess pelvic muscle strength. If you experience urination difficulties, urodynamic testing can evaluate bladder function. Specific tests include:

  • Uroflowmetry measures urine stream amount and strength.
  • Cystometrogram gauges bladder fullness triggering urination.
  • Pelvic ultrasound utilizes sound waves for bladder and organ assessment.
  • Pelvic floor MRI uses magnets and radio waves to image pelvic organs.
  • Abdominal and pelvic CT scan provides detailed X-ray images of pelvic structures.

What is the Treatment for Vaginal Prolapse?

Vaginal prolapse treatment options are tailored to the severity of the condition. Healthcare providers may adopt a watchful waiting approach for mild cases. Treatment choices encompass both nonsurgical and surgical interventions, contingent upon various factors, such as:

  • General Health: Existing medical conditions can influence treatment decisions.
  • Age: Age impacts the suitability of different treatments.
  • Prolapse Severity: The extent of prolapse determines the appropriate intervention.
  • Future Plans: Considerations like desire for children or sexual activity affect treatment selection.

Nonsurgical methods are preferred for mild prolapses, like:

  • Exercise: Kegel exercises strengthen pelvic muscles.
  • Vaginal Pessary: A supportive device placed in the vagina assists in prolapse management.

For advanced cases, surgical options are considered, which are:

  • Vaginal Vault Suspension: Attaches the vagina to pelvic ligaments.
  • Sacrocolpopexy: Uses mesh to support and lift the vagina.
  • Colpocleisis: Seals the vagina, eliminating prolapse risk but precluding penetrative sex.

Open dialogue with healthcare providers is crucial for addressing concerns and making informed treatment decisions. 

How can you Prevent Vaginal Prolapse?

While vaginal prolapse cannot always be entirely prevented, adopting healthy lifestyle habits can reduce your risk of developing it. These habits may include:

  1. Engaging in regular exercise, including Kegel exercises.
  2. keeping a healthy weight and eating a well-balanced diet.
  3. Avoiding smoking (since smoking can lead to increased coughing).
  4. Using correct lifting techniques for heavy objects.


Understanding vaginal prolapse is crucial for women’s health. Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can significantly improve quality of life. Raising awareness and priortising women’s pelvic health is important. It is always advisable to seek medical help from an experienced gynaecologist. Timely care and help can ensure an appropriate diagnosis and treatment of your condition. 

At the CK Birla Hospital, we ensure patients get holistic medical support which includes treatment in a compassionate environment. This patient-centric approach not only helps patients heal better but also ensures they are aware of the preventive measures as well. In case you need to consult a gynaecologist, reach out to us, or book a direct appointment with the best gynaecologist aft the CK Birla Hospital.


Can Vaginal Prolapse Occur During Pregnancy?

Vaginal prolapse can occur during pregnancy due to increased pressure on pelvic organs. Hormonal changes and weakened pelvic floor muscles contribute to this condition.

Is Vaginal Prolapse Hereditary?

Vaginal prolapse can have a genetic component, but it’s influenced by multiple factors including childbirth, ageing, and lifestyle. Family history may increase susceptibility but isn’t the sole cause.

Can Vaginal Prolapse be Reversed Without Surgery?

Mild cases of vaginal prolapse may improve with pelvic floor exercises (Kegels), lifestyle changes (like weight loss), and using pessaries. Severe cases often require surgical intervention for complete reversal.

Are there Any Exercises to Avoid with Vaginal Prolapse?

Avoid high-impact exercises like heavy lifting, running, and jumping if you have vaginal prolapse. Instead, focus on low-impact activities such as walking, swimming, or yoga, under medical guidance.

How Long does Recovery take After Vaginal Prolapse Surgery?

Recovery after vaginal prolapse surgery typically takes about 4 to 6 weeks, during which activity levels gradually increase. Follow-up care and restrictions are advised based on individual progress.


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