Vaginal prolapse is the dropping of the vagina from its original location on the body.The vagina is held in place by a number of muscles and other tissues that are seated on the pelvis. Over time, these muscles can weaken and cause the vagina to sag, or prolapse. Also known as rectocele, vaginal prolapse is a fairly common occurrence.
What Causes Vaginal Prolapse?
There are a number of causes that can contribute to a vaginal prolapse, including:
- Child birth, particularly vaginal deliveries
- Menopause, due to the body producing less estrogen
- Medical procedures such as a hysterectomy or radiation treatment
- Intense physical activity or heavy lifting
What are the Symptoms of Vaginal Prolapse?
It’s not uncommon for a female to experience a vaginal prolapse without feeling any symptoms. A physical examination can often reveal if a vaginal prolapse has occurred.
However, if symptoms are present, they may include:
- Bulging in the vagina
- Uncontrollable leakage of urine
- Bladder infections
- Difficulty inserting tampons
Diagnosing a Vaginal Prolapse
If you are experiencing symptoms commonly associated with a vaginal prolapse, the condition can be diagnosed during a physical examination. In other cases where symptoms may not be present, a vaginal prolapse can be detected during a routine examination.
Treatments for Vaginal Prolapse
Tampa General Hospital provides a number of treatment options for females experiencing a vaginal prolapse based on each patient’s unique set of circumstances. During an initial examination, our experts will take several factors into account, including the patient’s:
- The overall state of health
- Desire to have children in the future
- Desire to have penetrative sex in the future
- Severity of vaginal prolapse
Less severe cases of prolapse can be treated using non-surgical methods, including:
- Kegel exercises, which involve strengthening the muscles in the pelvis
- A vaginal pessary, a doughnut-shaped device that is inserted into the vagina for added structural support
In more extreme cases of vaginal prolapse, the following surgical procedures can be performed:
- Colpocleisis, which involves stitching the vagina closed
- Sacrocolpopexy, in which one end of a piece of mesh is attached to the vagina with the other end fastened to the tailbone, thereby giving a prolapsed vagina a lift