Living with a Prolapse

It's estimated that 34 million women worldwide are affected by vaginal prolapse; but as many are reluctant to discuss their symptoms, this number could be much higher.

The idea of having a vaginal or rectal prolapse (or both) can be highly embarrassing for women, with many enduring the symptoms for years unknowingly thinking it cannot be rectified. But it can!

How does it happen? Normally, the pelvic organs are held in place by the pelvic floor muscles which act like a sling to hold the bladder, uterus and bowel. However, when the pelvic floor becomes weakened or stretched, they can become too slack to hold these organs effectively. The uterus is the only organ that actually falls into the vagina, whilst when the bladder and bowel fall out of place, they push up against the vagina. Factors contributing to weakened pelvic floor include:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Ageing and the menopause
  • Obesity or large fibroids

How will it affect me? Although prolapse is not life threatening, it can cause a great deal of discomfort and embarrassment; it's not uncommon for women to have a double prolapse which can lead to both urinary incontinence and faecal constipation. Symptoms include severe backache, pain during intercourse and sometimes a 'dragging down' feeling in the pelvis.

If the prolapse is severe, surgery may be the viable option and can be done freely on the NHS. However, some forms of prolapse can be rectified by vaginal pessaries and kegel exercises.

What you can do: The best cure is prevention; kegel exercises to strengthen the muscles can help avoid prolapse, we recommend the Kegel8 Ultra 20 electronic pelvic toner. With its 20 clinically proven programmes, including 2 programmes especially designed to help prolapse sufferers, it works to strengthen your pelvic floor in such a way that it can better support your pelvic organs to prevent your prolapse from getting worse and help you to manage the everyday symptoms of prolapse too.

  • Avoid standing for long periods of time
  • Do frequent and effective pelvic floor exercises
  • Prevent constipation by incorporating enough fibre in your diet
  • Wear a girdle: this can help make you feel a bit more secure
  • Try yoga: great for toning your core muscles

The bottom line here is - prolapse can be avoided, so get working those Kegel8 exercises! If you think you may have a prolapse, or have any of the symptoms described above, we highly recommend you get checked out by your GP.

22 thoughts on “Living with a Prolapse”

  • Kay

    i have just been diagnosed i have a slight bladder prolaps and have just started to use the kegal 8. ian 49 and have always been very active and was surprised when this happened, i had been lifting something heavy in the garden. i have had two heavy babys 9lb and 1 forceps delivery,followed by hystorectomy at 45. i would be interested to hear from other people in my position. ps my partner has just left me alway helps just when you need them they go. hoping this will help me feel more secure down there. kay

  • Andi

    Reply to Kay's comment. I am 42 and have just been diagnosed with moderate bladder prolapse, large rectal prolapse and slight uterine prolapse. I had a very quick delivery with my first 9lb baby and tore quite badly, then 2 years later I had another very quick delivery of very large twins and I've not been the same since. I've been doing my PF exercises every day but due to nerve damage I just can't seem to get them to work properly. Just started using the Kegel8 Ultra plus and it really does seem to get the muscles working properly. I'm scheduled for surgery in 6 weeks and I'm hoping that by using the Kegel8 I can avoid the need for a hysterectomy and also speed up recovery afterward. Keep smiling!

  • Bev

    Hi Andi

    I wanted to put your mind at rest. I had a large prolapse bowel, this too was brought on by the birth of my third child. I had surgery on the 19 October (nearly 2 weeks ago) I am very surprised how i feel. Of course it isn't the most plesent experence but i feel great. The feeling you get being able to go to the toilet again normally is fantastic. I would go through this all over again just for that feeling. Things to think about before you go in.

    1. Try not to read too much on the web (i did this scared myself half to death) It doesn't help and everyone heals differently. I think it's down to positive mental attitude.
    2. Get a round cushion with a whole i, it's very comfy to sit on (believe me it is a must)
    3. Ask for Senna or Lactuse in hospital ASAP after (your body slightly goes into shock and you don't want to go, to begin with) this will pass but the medication will help.
    4. Don't underestimate the surgery your having, do exactly as your told and it does work!
    5. Buy a water boiler that boils a cup at a time. This way you can still have some independence. Believe me this feels good.
    6. Think about things in your cupboards, you don't want to be stretching for a while.
    7. Have supportive friends and family looking after you.

    I also have a 2nd degree prolapse in my bladder and uterus. I am hoping to avoid further surgery too. If you would like an update or have any questions don't hesitate to ask!

    Good Luck Hun!


  • Mags

    Hi just been reading your comments I have a second degree prolapse of the uterus. I have never felt right since the birth of my third child seven years ago I am 44 I am waiting to go to the hospital to see about it. Can any one tell me their symptoms as I have severe back age can hardly get out my bed in the morning I feel like I am 144 it eases of one I have been to the toilet it is making me feel really ill.

  • Ester

    Hi, In Jan i suddenly deveoped bladder urgency and frequency I also felt as though something was there that shouldn't be, I felt that I'd got a prolapse but I spoke to 3 different doctors before I managed to get an examination which diagnosed a minor vaginal back wall prolapse. I just new that everything was connected, I'd had 3 children and an ectopic pregnancy which was removed through a bekini cut op. i then had a hysterectomy at 36yrs, I'm now 52 and going thro menopause which has been horrendous. This has not been helped by having osteoarthritis in my spine and an acident to my ACL right knee, consequently leaving me very weak. I have been sent to the continence nurse and am doing pelvic floor exercises, I saw some improvement but now my bladder problems have got worse again. I haven't been sent to the a gyneocologist yet, I don't want another op but feel more could be done for me. I'll add though that after the birth of my children and all my ops I was fastidious in doing exercises, and was a very active person, but it's the knee acident alongside of the muscular skeletal problems that has caused me to become weak. I'm going to buy a pelvic exerciser to try and help more. All women no matter what age should be taught the importance of exercising the pelvic floor muscles no matter what their age.

  • Kegel8

    <p>Hi Ester - I am sorry you having a bad time at the moment, it seems that all things have converged on your body at once, I hope I can help you a little bit in your quest. Your hysterectomy created a space in your pelvic area, I'm not sure if you have been on HRT? You need to tighten up her pelvic floor so it can support your vital organs, the Kegel8 is great for that. Get all the help you can from your physio because your pelvic floor is inter-linked to your hips, lower abdominals and lower back and all these areas need to be strengthened to help support your kegel exercises. I know you are hindered by your knee, but swimming would do you well, and also our <a href="" title="Kegel8 Hab-it DVD" target="_blank">Kegel8 Hab-it DVD</a> has many exercises that you can perform without putting pressure on your knee. I thoroughly recommend this DVD for all women with prolapse and prolapse symptoms. It mentions posture, walking, exercises and many invaluable tips that you will be able to incorporate in your daily life to make a positive change and strengthen your body.</p>
    <p>You have a back wall prolapse, you need to exercise and strengthen now because very often this can go hand-in-hand with a bladder prolapse (The two sides just 'cave' in). I would steer you away from high impact exercise but I think your knee is doing that anyway! The Kegel8 will be a great addition to your exercises, when the Kegel8 causes the contract, make sure you perform your kegel (or squeeze and lift) exercise against the probe, this will get you the best possible results. On the Kegel8 Ultra you'll find a programme for prolapse specially designed by a clinician. You might also want to consider the <a href="" title="Kegel8 Ultra with anal programme" target="_blank">Kegel8 Ultra with the anal programme</a>. You can use an anal probe to strengthen the back part of your pelvic floor.</p>
    <p>Please don't despair about your prolapse, you'll find some great help on Christine Kent's excellent site here you will find a forum with women from all over the world contributing, helping and supporting other women who like you face the confusion and frustration you currently feel.
    Christine Kent's book Saving the Whole Woman is horrifying (she has read over 1000 books about pelvic floor operations & health) but inspiring - so prepare to be both shocked and enlightened so you can help yourself without resorting to more surgery should you decide to do so. </p>
    <p>I cannot stress how important it is to be maintain a healthy weight, your pelvic floor is weak and you need to strengthen it, but any extra weight will make the pressure worse, it is a catch 22 you find yourself in I know, but have a look at <a href=" " target="_blank" title="Marilyn Glenville's website"></a> so you can understand what your menopausal body is doing. I know, the usual thing is putting on weight even though you are eating the same as you always have, MG explains why this can happen and how you can avoid menopause weight gain which in turn links in both physically and mentally with your pelvic floor weakness.</p>
    <p>I'd recommend <a href=" " target="_blank" title="Marilyn Glenville's website"></a> for advice on how to handle you menopause naturally and maybe for you to do some background reading on your hysterectomy, MG is amazing and if you follow her advice you will notice amazing changes, the menopause can be and should be a gentle passage of change for women - please read what MG has to say and download her free Foundation of Health Book.</p>
    <p>You say that your pelvic floor exercises were going well, then you had a set back and your bladder problems then got worse again. Are you on any medication? Sadly quite often prescription meds actually cause stress incontinence and constipation - we don't always link them in at the time, but that is what happens. You may be on painkillers for your knee? Are you on antidepressants? All of these have a bad effect on your bladder, please do not be deterred, continue with your exercises and use your physios/continence advisor's guidance as much as possible! I also read earlier today that if you stop exercising your pelvic floor muscles can regress back to a weakened state within 4-6 weeks- but start them again and they quickly get strong again - so do keep up with them.</p>
    <p>Clinical evidence shows a 30% improvement in stress incontinence if you knock out caffeine and caffeine drinks.........</p>
    <p>You say you are going to see a Gynaecologist - it is good to get as much information as you possibly can, however I would say that there is no operation to strengthen your pelvic floor only exercise, you can have surgery to correct the problem of the prolapse back wall, but this will still not address the main reason this happened in the first place, your pelvic floor was not strong to support your organs and currently you are in danger of a bladder prolapse. Each pelvic surgery (including catheters) you have will leave your muscles scarred and possibly weakened, so do all you can to explore other avenues to surgery.</p>
    <p>I hope this helps point you in other directions for support, help and guidance. Good Luck, and do keep us posted with your progress it helps other women if we all tell our stories.</p>

  • Carol

    Please please help I cannot stop crying I have been using kegel 8 for about 2 weeks and found that the prolase is huge and seems to be protruding outside. I don't want surgery. If I conntinue with the Kegel8 every day for 20 mins a time how long will it take to see results. I have had 4 children the smallest being 8 lbs and the heaviest 9 lbs I had a baby every 2 years. I am so desperate please please help !!!

  • Kegel8

    Dear Carol - Thanks for your e mail, I can feel how desperate you are.
    I would recommend you use Programme 2 on the Ultra (PO2) twice daily (20 mins each one) if you can alternate and do a PO9 (45 mins overall work out) this will help all areas of your pelvic floor. Use it in the morning if you find that the prolapse works its way down during the day, sometimes you might find that exercising whilst laying down with you bum on a pillow will help keep the probe in place and stop it being dislodged.
    I would also recommend to you look at the hab-it DVD there are clips on You Tube and <a href="" title="" target="_blank">StressNoMore</a> this has brilliant hints and tips on home exercises that will help and aid simple changes to your posture - how you walk, how you sit - they all contribute to make a huge difference and will help with the rehabilitation of your pelvic floor.
    Please keep in touch with your Doctor or Physiotherapist - they will be able to help you. (Physio especially) I know you want to avoid surgery and the Kegel8 and a good Physio can help you make real progress. A Doctor may be able to fit a pessary that can give you some temporary relief - a temporary support. Please do check out all your options so you can make the choice that is right for you and get the support you need.
    Please watch your weigh - if you are overweight this compounds the problem and puts excess weight on a pelvic floor that is very weak and unable to support as it should. Don't strain or do high impact exercise - yoga, Pilates, swimming are all good to help you get your pelvic floor strong again. Do you have constipation? Try to address it naturally - many women do not realise how detrimental constipation is to their pelvic health.
    You'll find helpful info on <a href="" title="" target="_blank">Sherrie Palm</a> Sherrie Palm is great, so too is <a href="" title="" target="_blank">Hold It Sister</a>
    We are here on the helpline if we can help you further, it will take a few weeks for you to notice improvement with your Kegel8 but please carry on using your Kegel 8 twice daily - use PO2 for the prolapse, and PO9 for the overall pelvic floor workout which will help all the muscles, nerves and fibres of your pelvic floor.
    Best wishes and please don't hesitate to contact us if we can help any further.

  • Lucy

    Hi I have just been diagnosed with genitourinary prolapse mainly rectal and have just ordered one of your Kegel8 products with the anal probe. I am only 25 and have the prolapse due to the difficult birth of my son. What settings should I have the machine on? I am not overweight and have a very active life. I want to try for another baby but am worried about carrying and delivery. Please help!!

  • Kegel8

    Hi Lucy
    You need the Kegel8 Ultra, it is the more powerful of the two units and it is ideal for prolapse. You need programme PO2 for prolapse and PO9 for an overall pelvic floor work-out. When you get the Kegel8 make sure you increase the mA's to a level that is comfortable for you, but at least over 30mA, this might not make a lot of sense now, but will when you have the machine.
    Also do take a look at the clip on our sister site <a href="" target=_blank>StressNoMore</a> from Tasha Mulligan - she, like you suffered a prolapse after the birth of her daughter, and she is a runner, so it was vital for her to get her pelvic strength and support back - she shows simple changes to posture, and simple exercises that really will help. Check out her DVD <a href="" target=_blank>Hab-It</a> it is vital that you do several things to help your prolapse, lifestyle (you are OK with your weight, but watch constipation and straining) posture (stand straight - but don't lock your knees) and do your kegels and this will keep you fit for further babies and a surgery-free life.
    You have an anal probe, don't just exercise anally though - make sure you exercise vaginally, because your bowel is weak and has prolapsed your bladder side is weak too (It's called the cave-in effect - both sides fall in towards the vagina) so strengthen as much as possible to help support and strengthen your bladder (and the rest of your pelvic organs).
    Good luck, with some subtle changes and regular exercise you will be able to strengthen your pelvic floor and have more family without it being too detrimental to your wellbeing.
    We're here on the helpline if you have any questions at all.
    Best wishes


    Customer Care Team

  • Helen

    After the birth of my first baby in November I developed a Cystourethrocele and mild rectocele and possible mild uterine prolapse. Unfortunately I have a history of pelvic floor dysfunction in that my muscles spasm and nerves get trapped causing malfunctions in my pelvic floor, although thankfully symptoms aren't always with me and appear and disappear on a daily basis. Critically though I just cannot do pelvic floor exercises as I tighten already shortened muscles and get pain and urinary hesitancy etc. I have purchased the Kegel8 Ultra but haven't yet used it and would be grateful if you could let me know which programs to use please and is there a 'relaxation' program? Thank you.

  • Kegel8

    Hi Helen
    PO2 for the prolapses you have alternating with PO9 pelvic floor workout the next day, this will help to exercise your pelvic floor. See how you go with these, you may want to add the P11 after each programme to help relax your muscles – this is a programme for relaxing tightened muscles and if your muscles go into spasm they will cause you aches and pain in your pelvic area.
    Your pelvic floor also like squats – simple squatting exercises which help to stretch and release the muscles will be really good for you. Also too, have a look at the Hab-it DVD – it is really good for helping with other things such as posture – you’ll find great info here and there are some free film trailers at <a href="" target=_blank>Hab-It</a> (more on You Tube – I urge you to hunt them out because all these simple changes to your posture together with specific pelvic exercises will really help you).
    Have a look too at Mary O’Dwyer – she’s an Aussie Physio (Author of Hold it Sister) and has great information for us all.
    Hope this helps Helen.

  • Effie

    I'm a 55 year old post-menopausal woman -- I had a vaginal hysterectomy and a bladder repair about a year and a half ago -- now I'm finding that my vagina is prolapsing. I saw my doctor and he said I have a vaginal prolapse and I am now going to physical therapy to strengthen my pelvic floor. The prolapse seems to come from the "top" and pushes very far downward when I cough or strain or am on my feet a lot. It goes right back up easily if I lie down on my back. I purchased a Kegel8 Ultra Plus and was wondering if I could get some advice on which pre-program(s) to use, how often I should use it, and also, which probe is best and how should I place the probe (i.e. with the electrodes "side to side" or "front to back" and also should I put it up higher in my vagina or down low? Or should I alternate all of those? Also is there a better time of day (i.e. in the morning or is evening okay?) I would like to get started using it on a regular basis as I've only been using it kind of sporadically so far.
    Thanks for any information you can give me!

  • Kegel8

    Hi Effie
    Thank you for contacting us. I am sorry to hear of how your condition has progressed but you have taken the right step in purchasing the Kegel8 Ultra Plus, now all you need is routine and we can help with this.
    You need to be using programme 2 which is specially designed for prolapse. You need to be using your Kegel8 on this programme every day to get the best results. You can use your Kegel8 anytime of day, ideally at a time when it’s not going to be a chore to build it into part of your routine i.e. in a morning before you start your day, on an evening as you read a book before bed, whatever suits you and your lifestyle.
    There is no harm in using your Kegel8 twice a day and many women do use it morning and evening; just always allow sufficient rest time between sessions (8 hours or more) and if you feel any discomfort then end your session (your pelvic floor muscles can be over-worked just like any other muscle). If you do begin to use your Kegel8 twice a day then I recommend you alternate between programme 2 and programme 9 which is an all over pelvic floor workout.
    The probe should be inserted with the electrodes ‘side to side’, pointing out towards your hips and it should sit in the first 2 inches of your vagina.
    I hope you find this useful and you now have the mind set to give your pelvic floor exercising some real dedication. Please do not hesitate to contact our advisors should you need any further advice or guidance.

  • Jayda

    Hi I have just recently (6 weeks ago) had major surgery to repair my pelvic wall and prolapsed bladder. I have been doing my pelvic wall exercises but it is nowhere near the strength it was prior to surgery. Will the Kegel8 be of any use to me?

  • Kegel8

    Hi Jayda
    Yes it will, it will help you recuperate and stop you prolapsing further. Because you had a bladder prolapse you are also more inclined to have a rectocele (bowel prolapse) so you need to strengthen up to help support the surgery and prevent ‘dropping’ on the other side. The Kegel8 Ultra would be great for you, it has a prolapse programme and works very deep to strengthen and tighten a weak pelvic floor.
    Let me know if we can help further.

  • sharon

    Hi. I was diagnosed with a moderate cystocele and moderate rectocele a few years ago. I only had one child and the birth was not particularly difficult. My main symptoms are a feeling of heaviness and when I need a bowel movement I often need to wait "till the last minute" so it comes freely without straining although I do have regular bowel movements. I don't have the urge feeling often and can hold a full bladder quite well but do get leakage on attempting to jog or jump. I've got your Kegal8 Ultra. What would be the best programme/s for me to use? Many thanksx

  • Kegel8

    Hi Sharon
    I am sorry to hear of your condition, it is really important you get using your Kegel8 to prevent anything getting worse. For your prolapse I recommend you use PO2 – a programme specifically designed for prolapse. The leaks you describe when you attempt to jog or jump are signs of stress incontinence. Because of this I recommend you also use PO3 - you can alternate your programmes or if you would prefer to give your prolapse a little more attention, you can use PO3 every third day. Have you considered using an anal probe with your Kegel8 to help with the rectocele? Using a vaginal probe will help with both the cystocele and rectocele but the majority of the pelvic floor muscles are towards the back so using the Kegel8 anally can be a great help. If this was something you wanted to consider you can give us a call on our helpline and we can talk to you about programming your Kegel8 Ultra with an anal programme. Another tip I would like to give you is the Kegel8 Day Toner – take a look on the Kegel8 site. When worn, the Kegel8 Day Toner triggers your muscles natural reflexes. It can be worn for up to 8 consecutive hours so is a great way for additional muscle strengthening BUT in addition, wearing the Kegel8 Day Toner can stop leaks during exercise as it provides support to the bladder and applies a light pressure to the urethra to prevent urinary leaks when jumping, jogging, and even laughing, coughing and sneezing – which many of us can also experience. I hope you find this helpful Sharon and please do give us a call if we can help any further.

  • Chris

    Hi, Ive had problems for over 12 years since I had a hysterectomy. Poor vaginal muscle tone, leaking when running or coughing. Ive been tooing n frowing to doctors recently as I started leaking during sex and the muscle tone has got weaker. Its had a massive impact on my confidence. Is the kegel 8 available on the nhs? Which one would you recommend for my condition? Thank you

  • sally

    I just want to say to all ladies with any form of prolapse, buying the Kegel8 is this best decision you can make. Why this product is not in chemists and more widely talked about is beyond me! It should be advertised in womens magazines and on tv as it really works when used with commitment.

    It is a shame that most young women do not even know about these conditions or this product, and that medical staff are not telling young mothers how important these exercises are after any type of birth.

    I had a vaginal prolapse which was almost at the entrance of my vagina as soon as I noticed I started with the Kegel8. I have been using it every day for about 10 weeks programmes 02 and 09 and can honestly say I feel almost back to normal - I am amazed at the results.

    It is well worth the investment

  • mary

    hi l was just wondering l just had a vaginal hysterectomy.posterior repair and rectal plication.TVT And l was wondering which would be the best product for me.Thank you.

    Kegel8: Hi Mary, I would certianly recommend the Kegel8 Ultra A. This unit can be used both vaginally and anally. It is important to make sure you are fully recovered from your surgery before you start using Kegel8. Your specialist will advise of this. If you have any questions before or after you purchase don't hesitate to contact us - we are here to help.

  • jo

    i was woundering if u bleed with prolaps wyile on the pill. & how do you know wether youve got prolaps.

    Kegel8 Reply: Hi Jo. If you suspect you may have a prolpse I suggest you speak with your GP. There are many different types and stages of prolapse. You can read more here