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Vaginal Prolapse

Vaginal prolapse occurs when the muscles, ligaments, and other structures surrounding the vagina are weakened or damaged, causing an organ in the pelvis or the top portion of the vagina to drop down into the vaginal vault.

Vaginal prolapse is more common in women who have given birth, experienced menopause, and/or have had a hysterectomy.

Types of Prolapse

  • Cystoceles occur when the front of the vaginal wall weakens, allowing the bladder to herniate into the vagina.
  • Enteroceles occur when the front and back vaginal walls separate, allowing the small bowel to press against or herniate into the vagina.
  • Rectocele occurs when the back of the vaginal wall weakens and the rectum presses against or prolapses into the vagina.
  • Uterine prolapse occurs when the ligaments that support the top of the vagina weaken, which may cause the front and back of the vaginal walls to weaken, resulting in the prolapse of the uterus.
  • Vaginal vault prolapse occurs when the upper portion of the vagina drops toward the vaginal opening after the uterus is removed.

Symptoms of Prolapse

The symptoms of vaginal prolapse vary depending on which type has occurred. The most common symptoms are:

  • Feeling that the organs are “out of place”
  • Pressure in the vagina or pelvis
  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections

Risk Factors for Prolapse

  • Strain during childbirth
  • Having a hysterectomy
  • Obesity
  • Long lasting cough
  • Conditions that put pressure on your abdomen

Diagnosing Vaginal Prolapse

A thorough medical history and physical exam are performed to determine the cause of the prolapse. An ultrasound of the pelvis or a CT scan may be ordered as well.

Treatment for Vaginal Prolapse

Treatment for vaginal prolapse depends on the cause of the condition and the severity of the symptoms. The most common treatment options are:

  • Kegel Exercise / Pelvic Floor Therapy: Exercises that employ tightening and relaxing of the sphincter muscle to promote strengthening of the pelvic floor
  • Vaginal Pessaries: Silicone or latex devices that are inserted into the vagina to compress the urethra and support the bladder neck
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy: Hormones that help improve the support structure of the pelvic area
  • Surgery: A mesh-like material or sling is used to correct the position of the organ and to secure it in place

Miami urologist Dr. Marvin Bondhus sees and treats women with vaginal prolapse from throughout Miami-Dade County. For a consultation, call (305) 661-9692 or use our secure online appointment request form.