Pelvic Organ Prolapse is when one or more of the pelvic organs (uterus, bladder, bowel or rectum) have insufficient ligamentous support and drop into the vaginal wall(s).
This can be caused by pregnancy, childbirth, surgery (such as hysterectomy), ageing, menopause and hormonal changes. Risk factors are constant or repeated stress such as chronic cough or constipation. Prolapse symptoms can be back ache, a sense of heaviness or bulging in the vagina, discomfort with sexual intercourse, bladder or bowel incontinence or dysfunction.
Specialist Women's Health Physiotherapy can help the symptoms of prolapse and can include assessment for and fitting of a vaginal pessary.
Here is an image (credit POGP) of the female pelvis, showing the pelvic organs and the pelvic floor muscles.
A vaginal prolapse can happen when supporting structures are stretched, and / or the muscles are too weak to support the pelvic organs.
Pelvic Floor muscle training is a simple and effective way of strengthening the supporting muscles, and in 40% of women will improve prolapse symptoms.