Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) can happen when the tissues and muscles inside the pelvis become weak, damaged and/or stretched, resulting in the uterus, bladder and/or rectum coming down from their original positons. All of the prolapses will put pressure on the vagina. The main symptom of POP is a bulge that is felt between the legs that you can see or feel but some women may also experience low back or lower abdominal heaviness. The position of the prolapse can vary throughout the day, depending on whether you are standing, lying or sitting. Activities that make symptoms worse include: heavy lifting, coughing, straining with bowel movements and being your feet for long periods of time.
Symptoms of a bladder prolapse (also known as anterior vaginal wall prolapse or cystocele) may include:
Symptoms of a uterine prolapse may include:
Symptoms of a bowel prolapse (also known as a posterior vaginal wall prolapse or rectocele) may include:
Some women find that their prolapse can make sex uncomfortable. You and/or your partner may be worried that penetration may make your prolapse worse, but this is not true. If you are not experiencing discomfort then intercourse is safe, even in the presence of a prolapse. If intercourse is uncomfortable, trying altering your position. Discomfort could also be related to other factors, such as vaginal dryness related to menopause.