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Vaginal Prolapse

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Vaginal Prolapse

(Pelvic Floor Relaxation)


Vaginal prolapse is the inward and downward bulging of the vaginal walls.


This problem is caused by weakened support structures in the pelvis. This causes the walls of the vagina to weaken, sag, and collapse.

Pelvic Floor Muscles and Organs.

Pelvic floor muscelshttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=73827382si55551575.jpgsi55551575.jpgNULLjpgsi55551575.jpgNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si55551575.jpgNULL29NULL2008-11-072543907382_193065Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in older women after menopause. Other things that may raise the risk are:


Problems may be:

  • Pelvic pressure, heaviness, or pain
  • Pain during sex
  • Tissue that slips or extends past the vagina
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Problems passing stool (poop)
  • Problems passing urine (pee), such as urgency and frequency
  • Low backache that is relieved with lying down


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. A pelvic exam will also be done. This is often enough to make the diagnosis.


Some women may not need to be treated. The goal is to ease symptoms in those who do need to be treated. This can be done with:

  • Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles
  • Estrogen therapy to prevent further weakness of the pelvic floor
  • A device placed in the vagina to prop up the uterus and bladder

Women with severe symptoms may need surgery. It can help repair the pelvic floor structures.


The risk of this problem may be lowered by:

  • Reaching or maintaining a healthy weight
  • Limiting heavy lifting
  • Avoiding constipation
  • Doing exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor




  • American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and American Urogynecologic Society (AUGS). ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 185: Pelvic Organ Prolapse. Obstet Gynecol. 2017 Nov;130(5):e234-e250.
  • Pelvic organ prolapse. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/pelvic-organ-prolapse.
  • Vaginal pessary. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: https://familydoctor.org/vaginal-pessary.


  • Elizabeth Margaret Prusak, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.