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What is Vaginal Prolapse?

Vaginal prolapse is a condition where the pelvic organs such as bladder, rectum, uterus, urethra and small bowel protrude into the vaginal wall.

Several types of vaginal prolapse conditions have been identified and they include:

  • Cystocele: Bladder protrudes into the vagina
  • Rectocele: Rectum protrudes into the vagina
  • Vaginal vault prolapse: Top portion of the vagina herniates into the vaginal canal
  • Uterine prolapse: Uterus prolapse into the vagina
  • Enterocele: Small bowel herniates into the vagina

Causes of Vaginal Prolapse

The main cause of vaginal prolapse is the weak muscles, tissues, and ligaments that support the vagina, surrounding tissues and organs. The factors that can cause vaginal prolapse include frequent lifting of heavy objects, chronic cough, severe constipation, menopause, childbirth, previous surgeries in the pelvic area, advanced age, hysterectomy, and obesity.

Signs and Symptoms of Vaginal Prolapse

The signs and symptoms of vaginal prolapse may include difficulty in urinating and emptying the bowel, enlarged and wide vaginal opening, vaginal lump, and the protrusion of tissues at the front and back wall of the vagina.

Treatment for Vaginal Prolapse

Surgery is performed to restore the vagina and the pelvic organs back into their respective positions and provide symptomatic relief. It helps to strengthen the muscles around the vagina and prevent further damage to pelvic floor muscles. Vaginal prolapse surgery may be performed through laparoscopy or open surgery. Various surgical procedures are performed to correct the prolapse of different pelvic floor organs.

  • Vaginal Pessary: This is a plastic or rubber ring inserted into your vagina to support the bladder. Your doctor or nurse fits you for the device and shows you how to clean and reinsert it on your own.
  • Colporrhaphy: Colporrhaphy is the surgical procedure to correct cystocele and rectocele. In this procedure, your surgeon makes an incision in the vaginal wall. The bladder and rectum are pushed back to their normal positions, the excess tissue is removed and the incisions are closed.
  • Sacrocolpopexy: This corrects uterine prolapse and can be performed with keyhole surgery. A synthetic mesh is used where one end of the mesh is attached to the cervix and top of the vagina, and the other end is attached to the sacrum, at the base of the spine. The mesh provides support to the weakened vaginal wall.
The University of Western AustraliaST John of God Health CareGlengarry Private Hospital