Signs and Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)

Women with POP symptoms may be embarrassed by their bodies and feel that they can’t talk to anyone about it — even their doctor.

One study found that women with prolapse endure their symptoms for years.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms and to tell your doctor. While there is no medication for POP, there are treatment options that may help correct the condition.

Symptoms common to POP include:

  • A bulge or lump in the vagina
  • The vagina protruding from the body
  • A pulling or stretching feeling in the groin area
  • Difficult or painful sexual intercourse
  • Vaginal pain, pressure, irritation, bleeding, or spotting
  • Urinary and fecal incontinence
  • Difficulty with bowel movements
  • Delayed or slow urinary stream

Women may experience stress and a decreased quality of life as a result of POP. Symptoms may limit daily activities and the day-to-day decisions about which activities they feel they can do. In addition, stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and POP can affect work performance and can have an impact on sexual activity.

Approximately 45% to 75% may experience some degree of prolapse in their lifetime1

It’s not uncommon for women to have more than one type of prolapse at the same time. One study found that women with prolapse endure their symptoms for years.

Your body before and after prolapse

Before prolapse
Cystocele
Enterocele

Enterocele occurs when the intestine bulges into the vagina. Enteroceles can occur from the front, back, or top. This illustration shows an enterocele from the back.

Rectocele

Rectocele occurs when the rectum bulges into the vagina.

Uterine prolapse

Uterine prolapse occurs when the uterus falls into the vagina.

Vaginal vault prolapse

For women who have had a hysterectomy, the normal support from the uterus is no longer in place, and prolapse can occur when the top portion of the vagina descends down into the lower vagina.

Living with POP is not the only option

Living day-to-day with symptoms can also affect a woman’s personal relationships, as she may be too embarrassed to have intimate activity with her partner. These disturbances can lead to feelings of isolation and hopelessness.

The good news is that you do not have to live like this. There are a variety of treatment options that may help. Don't ignore your symptoms — talk with a specialist today.

Reference:

  1. Jelovsek JE, Maher C, Barber MD. Pelvic organ prolapse. Lancet. 2007;369(9566):1027-1038.

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Suffering from embarrassing lack of bladder control?

If you are coping with POP, you could be suffering from incontinence too. Many of the symptoms of urinary incontinence in women, particularly “stress urinary incontinence” (SUI), may be connected to POP. Click here to learn more about stress urinary incontinence.

Try a quiz

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, click here to take a simple quiz and find out if it is time to make an appointment.

Track your symptoms

You can help your physician correctly diagnose your condition by recording what you observe and experience. Click here for a simple tool you can use.

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