Prolapse happens when there is weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, damage to the ligaments supporting the pelvic structures, nerve damage or a combination of these things. Although we may use terms such as “dropped bladder” or “dropped bowel,” prolapse is actually a droppage of the vaginal wall that holds the organs up. This usually causes you to see or feel a bulge coming out of the vagina.
Prolapse is easily diagnosed on pelvic examination. Your physician may ask you to bear down or cough while she takes measurements of the fallen pelvic organs. In rare cases, special pelvic floor imaging studies may be performed.
Not all women who have prolapse require treatment. Decisions about treatment depend on whether and how much the prolapse is affecting the function of your pelvic organs as well as your quality of life. There are surgical procedures for prolapse that are safe, minimally invasive and highly effective. For patients who prefer a nonsurgical treatment, a vaginal pessary is available. This is a device that fits inside the vagina and holds up the pelvic organs. You and your physician will work together to identify the treatment that is right for you.