Vaginal prolapse is a very common condition, particularly in women who have given birth. About half of all mothers will experience some degree of pelvic organ prolapse. Although treatment isn’t always required, it is important to see a gynaecologist if you suspect that you have a vaginal prolapse or you’re experiencing any discomfort.
What Causes Prolapse?
A prolapse happens when the tissue that supports your pelvic organs becomes too weak. The onrgans can then shift out of place and drop down into your vagina. In severe cases, thee bulge created by these organs can be seen outside the body. Prolapse can affect the bladder, uterus, cervix and bowels.
You are more likely to experience a vaginal prolapse if you:
- Are older, especially if you’ve been through the menopause
- Have had children
- Are overweight
- Have fibroids or pelvic cysts
- Have had pelvic surgery such as a hysterectomy or bladder surgery
- Often strain yourself through manual labour, chronic coughing, or long term constipation
- Have a condition that weakens your tissues, such as joint hypermobility
Symptoms of Prolapse
The symptoms of a pelvic organ prolapse can include:
- Feeling as if something is coming down into your vagina
- A bulge coming down into or out of your vagina
- A lump in or around your vagina
- Discomfort when you have sex
- Problems urinating, such as needing to go more often, passing urine more slowly, feeling as if your bladder has not emptied properly, or experiencing leaks of urine
However, it is possible to have a prolapse without noticing any symptoms. The problem may only be noticed when you have a gynaecological exam or a routine cervical smear.
A vaginal prolapse can usually be diagnosed with a simple gynaecological exam. When you visit a gynaecologist with a suspected prolapse, the doctor will:
- Ask about your symptoms
- Perform an internal pelvic exam. You will need to undress and lie down. The doctor will then examine your vagina to check for any lumps or bulges.
Once the diagnosis has been confirmed, the doctor will consider the severity of the prolapse and which parts of your body are affected in order to work out the best treatment plan.
Treatment for Prolapse
You might not need any treatment if you aren’t experiencing symptoms. However, in some cases your gynaecologist may recommend:
- A vaginal pessary, which is a device that can be inserted into your vagina to support the prolapsed organ and hold it in place
- Surgery to provide support for the prolapsed organ
- A hysterectomy to removed a prolapsed uterus
It is also possible to make some lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of prolapse or to prevent your condition from worsening:
- Lose any excess weight
- Eat a high fibre diet to prevent constipation
- Avoid lifting anything heavy
- Do pelvic floor exercises regularly
If you think that you might have a vaginal prolapse, you should make an appointment with a gynaecologist at the Venus Women's Clinic London. Miss Arafa is a leading specialist who can confirm the diagnosis and ensure that you get the treatment you need. You can make an appointment by phone or fill in the simple online form to arrange a consultation at a time that suits you.