Muscles, ligaments, and other structures hold the womb (uterus) in the pelvis. If these muscles and structures are weak, the womb can drop into the vaginal canal. This is called prolapse or uterine prolapse.
Muscles, ligaments and skin in and around the vagina support and hold pelvic organs and tissues in place. This complex network includes the skin and muscles of the vagina walls. Parts of this support system may eventually weaken or break causing a vaginal prolapse. A vaginal prolapse is a condition when organs such as the uterus, rectum, bladder, urethra, small bowel, or the vagina itself may begin to prolapse, or fall out of their normal positions.
There are many types of vaginal prolapse:
Cystocele (bladder prolapse)
The bladder may prolapse into the vagina; the urethra can prolapse as well. A urethral prolapse is also known as an urethrocele. When both the bladder and urethra prolapse together this is a cystourethrocele.
Rectocele (rectal prolapse)
A prolapse of the back wall of the vagina (rectovaginal fascia) the rectal wall pushes...
Rectal Prolapse and Rectocele - What's the difference?
Rectal prolapse is where the walls of the rectum protrude through the anus
Rectocele is where the rectum protrudes into the vagina.
A Rectal prolapse occurs when the connective tissues within the rectal mucosa loosen and stretch, allowing the tissue to protrude through the anus. As the rectum becomes more prolapsed, ligaments and muscles may weaken until the rectum protrudes out of the body through the anus. This stage is called complete prolapse, or full-thickness rectal prolapse. Initially, the rectum may protrude and retract depending on the person's movements and activities; if the condition remains untreated it may protrude permanently.
Did you know? Women, men and children can suffer rectal prolapse.
Since the Mesh Surgery Scandal (the most popular operation for prolapse) more and more women are looking into the management of pelvic organ prolapse and how to fix prolapse without surgery. Many women grow to understand that managing and living with prolapse is not a death sentence, irrespective of how utterly devastating the initial diagnosis is. Women are using the emotional pain and agony of prolapse as a springboard to getting a stronger pelvic floor and more importantly to prevent further prolapse too.
If you think you have a prolapse you need to be diagnosed
We understand how desperate and frightened you feel, but urge you to take positive steps and not ignore and avoid this difficult situation.
When there's something not quite right with your pelvic floor you know. The first thing you must do however is get a proper diagnosis from your GP. No if's no but's - if you don't know what kind of prolapse (i.e. what organ has fallen downwards, it could be your bladder, cervix, or bowel) or what 'grade' it is (how far it’s come down), how can you take care of yourself and make an informed decision of what to do next?
So what are the symptoms of prolapse?
Here are the common symptoms of prolapse you may or may not recognise. However please be aware that some women have no symptoms at...
So you've been diagnosed with prolapse. Chances are you'll be wondering what to do next, maybe you're feeling apprehensive, and certainly anxious. The thing about prolapse is that you can't really compare yours to anyone else's - it's hidden, and it's private - and there is such a taboo around prolapse that many of us bury our heads in the sand! Hopefully we'll be able to show you the choices available to you, and help to empower you to getting a stronger pelvic floor.
Your prolapse diagnosis may have come as a complete surprise - you may not have felt anything untoward and you might even be showing no symptoms of prolapse at all. Or you might have the dragging heaviness, the bulge, and be struggling to properly empty your bladder or bowel. Following the diagnosis by your GP you should know what 'grade' or 'stage' your prolapse is...
Muscles and ligaments that support your small intestine can become weak and can result in the small bowel dropping down in the gap between the rectum and vagina. An enterocele (small bowel prolapse) occurs when the small bowel drops against and moves the upper wall of the vagina. This will create a bulge in the vagina.
A Cystocele, or bladder prolapse can affect you in various ways:
Cystocele / Bladder Prolapse
The front wall of the vagina supports the bladder and it can weaken and loosen with age. If it deteriorates the bladder can prolapse or fall into the vagina. A Cystocele is the most common type of pelvic organ prolapse and is commonly associated with prolapses of other organs.
Urethrocele or Urethra Prolapse
The urethra carries urine from the bladder out of the body. A prolapsed urethra occurs when the tissues surrounding the urethra drop downwards into the vagina.
Often the bladder and urethra will prolapse together this is known as Cystourethrocele.
A vaginal vault prolapse is the name for a condition experienced in women when the top part of the vaginal wall loses its strength, and begins to droop downwards. As the top of the vagina descends, it prolapses (bulges) into the vaginal canal and can even become visible from the outside of the vagina. A vaginal vault prolapse occurs as a result of weak pelvic floor muscles.
A vaginal vault prolapse can occur on its own. However, 72% of women suffer one or more other pelvic organ prolapses at the same time as a vaginal vault prolapse due to the loss of support that the vagina normally gives.
A vaginal vault prolapse is common in women who have undergone hysterectomy surgery to completely remove the uterus. The uterus usually sits above the vagina, linked by a piece of tissue called the cervix. If it is removed there is no longer anything there to anchor the...