“I was relieved when I found out that this was real and I wasn’t alone.”
Experiencing pelvic organ prolapse can be challenging — it can interfere with your activities, intrude on your personal life, and be just plain uncomfortable.29
Pelvic organ prolapse (or POP) is a condition in which one or more organs in the pelvis descend due to a loss of support from the pelvic floor.30 The pelvic floor is a group of muscles, often described as being shaped like a hammock, that support the bladder, uterus, vagina, intestines, and rectum.31
Typically, these muscles and surrounding tissues keep the pelvic organs in place.30 Sometimes they become too weak or stretched to continue supporting your pelvic organs.32 Organ shifting that happens because of these weak muscles can result in one or more types of prolapse. Experiencing heaviness in the pelvic area is a common symptom of these changes. Read about Liz’s experience with this symptom after childbirth and how she found relief here.
To better understand the different types of prolapse, it is important to understand which organs have shifted as well as where the pelvic floor became weak, which results in different types of prolapse.
Rectocele Prolapse: Occurs when the rectum protrudes into the vagina due to the weakening of the support tissue.
Enterocele Prolapse: Occurs when the intestines protrudes into the vagina due to the weakening of the support tissue.
Cystocele Prolapse: Occurs when the bladder protrudes into the vagina due to the anterior (front) vaginal wall becoming weak.
Vaginal Vault Prolapse: Occurs when the top part of the vaginal wall loses support and drops into the vagina.
Uterine Prolapse: Occurs when the top part of the vaginal wall loses support and the uterus drops into the vagina.
Approximately 3.3 million women in the U.S. suffer from pelvic organ prolapse.34
There are certain risk factors that may increase your likelihood of experiencing prolapse, including:
Women experiencing prolapse won’t always experience obvious symptoms. As prolapse progresses, the symptoms may become more apparent and painful. If you are experiencing prolapse, you may experience:
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you may have prolapse and should consult with your doctor. Remember, although these signs and symptoms can alert you to a problem, they are not unique to prolapse, so it is important to consult a doctor for the correct diagnosis.