In vaginal prolapse, the uterus protrudes through the vagina — fatigue and overstretching cause the muscles and tissues of the pelvis to deteriorate and give out. Women who have given birth vaginally more than once and also experienced menopause are at increased risk of vaginal vault prolapse.

You can count on Dr. Kompal Gadh and our board-certified gynecologists in Weston, FL, to treat various gynecological issues and perform both routine checkups and complex procedures. That said, if you ever suspect vaginal prolapse symptoms, make sure to contact us at Advanced OBGYN Institute. 

What Is Vaginal Prolapse?

Vaginal vault prolapse is a condition where the top of the uterus shifts from its usual position and causes a protrusion from the vagina. When the muscles at the vaginal vault (top) weaken, the organs they should support can fall into the vagina, giving the impression of a lump or bulge.

The pelvic region houses a number of vital bodily organs, including your vagina. Muscles and other tissues serve to support these organs. Your pelvic floor is the collection of muscles that act as a structural support system. Over time, this foundation may begin to deteriorate. As a result, your organs may sag and slip out of their typical location, leading to pelvic organ prolapse. This can occur for several reasons. And the condition known as vaginal prolapse occurs when the vaginal vault becomes loose and slips down into the vaginal canal.

Incomplete prolapse is the medical term for small prolapse. Even minor prolapses can cause significant problems. If your organ has displaced quite a bit, you may have a bigger prolapse, which is also a more severe problem. You have a complete prolapse when your organs entirely drop through your vagina, which is highly severe. 

Sometimes, vaginal prolapse symptoms can be rather unpleasant. A surgical repair may not be necessary for a small to moderate vaginal vault prolapse. Nevertheless, surgical intervention may be required for more severe situations.

Different Types of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

The pelvis houses your reproductive organs, including your vagina, uterus, bladder, rectum, and urethra. The muscles of your pelvic floor form an umbrella shape that supports these organs. So, this upside-down umbrella supports your pelvic organs, but it is also possible for that umbrella to collapse with age or due to external circumstances like vaginal births.

Depending on which organ has prolapsed, the condition is categorized into one of many different types of prolapse. The various forms of pelvic organ prolapse can include:

  • Apical prolapse, or vaginal prolapse, is when the vaginal vault, the upper part of the vagina, falls into the vaginal canal. Hysterectomy patients are more likely to experience this.
  • When you have uterine prolapse, uterus protrusion from the vagina is rather prominent. In more severe cases, your vaginal tissue will brush against your clothing.
  • In the case of cystocele, the bladder protrudes into the vagina.
  • When you suffer from a urethrocele, the urethra (the canal that delivers urine from the bladder) protrudes into the vagina.
  • Rectocele is a condition in which the rectum muscles protrude into the vagina.
  • Enterocele is a condition in which a portion of the small intestine protrudes through the vaginal wall.

Symptoms and Causes of Vaginal Prolapse

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Many women experience vaginal prolapse. Actually, a third of women will experience a prolapse in the pelvic area at some point. Multiple vaginal births increase your risk of developing vaginal prolapse later in life.

A prolapsed vagina is not always apparent until vaginal wall tissue protrudes through the vaginal opening. Those affected may experience discomfort or a “sitting on a ball” sensation. A prolapsed vagina may go unnoticed by some people unless a doctor performs a pelvic exam.

Common vaginal prolapse symptoms include:

  • Having a full, heavy, or painful sensation in the pelvic region. This sensation typically worsens later in the day or after exertion (such as prolonged standing, heavy lifting, or coughing).
  • Discomfort and pain in the lower back
  • The unsettling sensation that something is coming out of your vagina
  • Dripping urine (urinary incontinence)
  • Vaginal bulging and swelling
  • Recurring urinary tract infections
  • Abnormal bowel movements
  • Discomfort in one’s sexual relationships
  • Difficulty putting in tampons

Vaginal prolapse has several possible root causes, such as:

  • Childbirth: the likelihood of prolapse is greater after a vaginal birth than after a C-section. Multiple vaginal births, prolonged labor, or the delivery of a large baby (9+ pounds) may all increase your chance of prolapse.
  • Menopause: ovaries stop generating the hormones that control the monthly menstrual cycle when a woman reaches menopause (period). As it helps maintain healthy pelvic muscle function, estrogen is a crucial hormone. If your body stops producing enough estrogen, you may notice a weakening of your pelvic muscles and the onset of prolapse.
  • Surgery: having your uterus surgically removed (a hysterectomy) increases your risk of developing vaginal prolapse.
  • Age: the chance of developing prolapse increases with age.
  • Strain from physical activity: physical exertion has been shown to reduce pelvic muscular strength, which, in turn, can cause organs to shift out of place. 
  • Hereditary/genetic factors: there’s a chance that your pelvic floor muscles are weaker than average.

Additional strain on the abdomen area, from either physical exertion or medical issues, can potentially lead to a prolapse:

  • Failing to keep one’s weight at a healthy level
  • Forceful exertion, heavy lifting
  • Having a hard time passing stool
  • Suffering from a persistent hacking cough

The Treatment Options for Vaginal Prolapse


Pregnant Woman Have Consultation With Obstetrician Indoors.

The treatment of vaginal prolapse will depend on how severe the protrusion from the vagina is. Doctors sometimes choose to wait and see if the condition worsens before deciding on a course of treatment. Vaginal prolapse can be treated both surgically and non-surgically.

In mild to moderate prolapse cases, nonsurgical therapies are often tried initially. Options for specific treatments include:

  • Kegel exercises: a form of exercise designed to strengthen the muscles in your pelvic floor. You should perform these exercises by contracting your pelvic floor muscles as if you were trying to suppress urination. For a few seconds, squeeze the muscles hard and then let go. Do ten repeats up to four times a day. 
  • Vaginal pessary: a device that is placed in the vagina and is commonly shaped like a little rubber doughnut. It provides stability and aids in holding everything in place. A medical professional inserts a pessary after determining the best size for you. You should clean it regularly and take it out before every sexual encounter.

Surgical repair of vaginal prolapse may be a possibility in extreme situations. Some of the available choices are:

  • Vaginal vault suspension: the procedure that suspends the uterus from the pelvic ligaments is called vaginal vault suspension.
  • Sacrocolpopexy: as part of sacrocolpopexy, a mesh is sewn around the vagina and secured to the patient’s tailbone to raise the vagina. This minimally invasive procedure is performed through the patient’s stomach and involves tiny incisions and laparoscopy.
  • Colpocleisis: a surgical procedure in which the cervix is sewn shut. There’s a low chance of experiencing another prolapse due to this operation, which is a definite plus. One drawback to this surgery is that it prevents you from engaging in sexual activity that involves penetration.

Schedule Your Appointment Today

Vaginal prolapse symptoms shouldn’t prevent you from living your life to the fullest. Even though prolapse isn’t life-threatening, it might become problematic if it’s not addressed or progresses. Don’t hesitate to contact us at Advanced OBGYN Institute if you notice anything worrying or unusual or simply wish to inform yourself better about your health.