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What is Vaginal Prolapse?

Vaginal prolapse is a condition where the pelvic organs such as bladder, rectum, uterus, urethra, and small bowel protrude into the vaginal wall. Several types of vaginal prolapse conditions have been identified and they include:

  • Cystocele – Bladder protrudes into the vagina
  • Rectocele – Rectum protrudes into the vagina
  • Vaginal vault prolapse – Top portion of vagina herniates into the vaginal canal
  • Uterine prolapse – Uterus prolapse into the vagina
  • Enterocele – Small bowel herniates into the vagina

The main cause of vaginal prolapse is weakness and tears of the muscles, tissues, and ligaments that support the vagina, surrounding tissues and organs. The factors that can cause vaginal prolapse include frequent lifting of heavy objects, chronic cough, severe constipation, menopause, and childbirth, previous surgeries in the pelvic area, advanced age, hysterectomy, and obesity. Genetic factors (i.e. mother had prolapse) are also present in many women with vaginal prolapse.

Women with prolapse may have different symptoms based on the type of prolapse. The signs and symptoms include difficulty in urinating and emptying bowel, enlarged and wide vaginal opening, vaginal bulge or lump, and the protrusion of tissues at the front and back wall of the vagina.