What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) occurs when the muscles or ligaments in your pelvic floor are stretched or become too weak to hold your organs in the correct position – it is a hernia of the pelvic organs into the vaginal space.
When this happens, organs such as the bladder, rectum and uterus can bulge (prolapse) into the vagina and sometimes past the vaginal opening.
Types of pelvic organ prolapse
Forms when tissue supporting the bladder weakens and the bladder drops downward pushing vaginal lining ahead of the bladder. When a cystocele becomes advanced, the bulge may become visible outside the vagina. The symptoms caused by cystoceles can include pressure, slowing of the urinary stream, urinary frequency and an inability to fully empty the bladder, which may promote urinary infections.
Vaginal vault prolapse
This occurs when the uterine or vaginal support structures holding the upper part of the vagina are weakened. If the uterus is present, this is called “uterine prolapse.” If the uterus has been removed (hysterectomy) this is known as vaginal vault prolapse. Symptoms include pressure, visible bulge, back pressure or pain.
A rectocele forms when the “roof” of tissues over the rectum weakens allowing the rectum to bulge into the vagina. Rectoceles may cause difficulty with bowel movements — including the need to strain more forcefully, or to push inside or outside the vagina to help bowel movements come out, known as splinting. increased fecal soiling and incontinence of stool or gas may also be associated with rectoceles.
An enterocele typically forms when the small intestine bulges through the top of the vagina after a hysterectomy. The symptoms can be vague, including a bearing down pressure in the pelvis and vagina, and perhaps a lower backache.
Did you know?
 Vaginal Pessary for Pelvic Organ Prolapse. IUGA. www.yourpelvicfloor.org/conditions/vaginal-pessary-for-pelvic-organ-prolapse. Accessed September 2018.
 Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Health, Help, Hope, and Healing. APOPS. pelvicorganprolapsesupport.org/pelvic-organ-prolapse-help-and-hope. Accessed September 2018.
 Pelvic Organ Prolapse. IUGA. www.yourpelvicfloor.org/conditions/pelvic-organ-prolapse. Accessed April 30, 2021.
There are many women out there just like you who experience symptoms from pelvic organ prolapse.
But you don’t have to continue living like this; options are available to you. If you are concerned that you might have prolapse, talk to a specialist today.
Who suffers from pelvic organ prolapse?
Pelvic organ prolapse is more common among women than you might think, but not commonly discussed. The important thing to remember is you’re not alone and numerous treatment options are available.
Potential causes of POP include:
- Chronic cough
- Frequent constipation