Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

What is prolapse?

Pelvic Organ Prolapse occurs when the vaginal walls become weak or slip out of place.  This can occur when the structures that support the vagina and pelvic organs are strained or overloaded.  One or more of the following body parts can move downward into the lower part of the vagina:

  • the bladder (front wall)
  • the bowel (back wall)
  • the cervix (or the top of the vagina if you have had a hysterectomy).

The movement and pressure of theses structures downwards causes women to notice symptoms such as a sense of heaviness, dragging, or a bulge in the vaginal area.  Many women describe having a prolapse as having a feeling of ‘dropping down’.  In some cases women can also present with difficulty emptying their bladder and/or bowel.

 Symptoms and causes

Common symptoms of prolapse may include:

  • a bulging sensation in the vagina
  • a sensation of pressure or a lump in your vagina 
  • needing to “splint”- or use your fingers- to help you empty your bladder or bowel
  • low back ache 

The risk of prolapse increases with advancing age, increasing body weight, type of delivery during childbirth and multiple deliveries.  All of these life events may affect the structures that have a role in supporting your pelvic organs.

How can physio help? 

Because prolapse affects every woman differently, it is important that you have an individual assessment and diagnosis.  For some women, a strengthening program for their pelvic floor muscles is recommended. 

To book an appointment with our experienced pelvic health physiotherapist,  Kathryn Barry, please call 02 9634 7788.