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What causes prolapse?

Pelvic organ prolapse is common. Up to 50% of women will experience pelvic organ prolapse.1

Some of the causes of prolapse are more obvious than others, and some are more common. Understanding the cause of your prolapse may help you better understand next steps for treating it effectively.

Common causes of pelvic organ prolapse

Let’s dive into some of the most common causes of prolapse.

Pregnancy2 and childbirth3

Pregnancy and childbirth are main causes of POP.2 Childbirth can cause injury to the muscles of the pelvic floor and increased pressure on the internal organs in the abdomen, which can lead to POP.3

Difficult labor, delivery or trauma during childbirth can increase the chance of prolapse.3


POP runs in families. Our genes influence the strength of our bones, muscles and connective tissue. Some women are born with weaker tissues and are at a higher risk for prolapse.3


Smoking increases your risk of developing POP.

Pelvic Floor Injury3

Injury to the pelvic floor can occur during vaginal delivery, surgery, pelvic radiation, or fractures to the back and pelvis caused by falls or accidents.

Chronic constipation3

Straining to fully eliminate your bowels puts a lot of stress on the body. Repetitive pressure caused by contracting forcefully and regularly over years can lead pelvic floor muscles to weaken or become overworked, causing them to function less reliably.

Chronic coughing3

Coughing can cause a consistent, repetitive motion that tightens and releases muscles in the pelvic floor. Muscles can weaken or stretch out if this type of movement occurs over a long period of time.


Obese women have an increased risk of POP.


As you enter menopause, your body begins to produce less estrogen. This can cause the support structure of the pelvic floor muscles to thin, and organs to fall out of place.

Nerve and muscle diseases3

Nerve and muscle diseases can contribute to the deterioration of pelvic floor strength and increase the risk for POP.

Understanding the different types of prolapse

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.

Let’s explore

OK, where next?

Finding the
right doctor

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Surgical options
for prolapse treatment

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  1. Barber, M. D., & Maher, C. (2013). Epidemiology and outcome assessment of pelvic organ prolapse. International urogynecology journal, 24(11), 1783–1790.
  2. Pelvic Support Problems. ACOG. 2021.
  3. (n.d.) Pelvic Organ Prolapse. Voices for PFD.