Browse our other factsheets in Japanese

What is a vaginal (or pelvic organ) prolapse?

Your pelvic organs are your bladder, uterus (womb), large bowel and rectum (back passage). These organs are held in place by support tissues called ‘fascia’ and ‘ligaments’. These support tissues help to join your pelvic organs to the bony side walls of the pelvis. They hold the organs up inside your pelvis. These support tissues can be torn or stretched. Your pelvic floor muscles support your pelvic organs from below. If your pelvic floor muscles are also weak, they may not give your pelvic organs proper support. Without strong support, pelvic organs may bulge down into the vagina (birth canal).



What are the signs of prolapse?

There are a few signs that you may have a prolapse. These depend on the type of prolapse and how much pelvic organ support has been lost. Early on, you may not know you have a prolapse. Your doctor or nurse might see your prolapse when you have your routine Pap test.

When a prolapse sags down, you may notice things such as:

  • a heavy feeling or dragging in the vagina.
  • something ‘coming down’ or a lump in the vagina.
  • a lump bulging out of your vagina. You see or feel it when you are in the shower or bath.
  • sexual problems such as pain or less feeling.
  • your bladder might not empty as it should.
  • your urine stream might be weak.
  • urinary tract infections might keep coming back.
  • it might be hard for you to empty your bowel.

These signs may be worse at the end of the day and you may feel better after lying down. If the prolapse bulges right outside your body, you may feel sore and bleed as it rubs on your underwear.




  • 膣内が重い、または何かが下がっているように感じる。
  • 何かが膣内に降りてきている感じがする、またはしこりがある。
  • 膣からこぶが突き出している感じがする。シャワーまたは入浴中にこぶが見たり、感じたりする。
  • 性交時に痛みを感じる、あるいは普段より感じ方が少ない。
  • 膀胱が完全に空にならない。
  • 尿が少しずつしか出ない。
  • 何度も繰り返して尿道炎になる。
  • 排便時に便を出し切ることが難しい。


What causes prolapse?

The pelvic organs are held up inside the pelvis by strong healthy support tissues. The pelvic floor muscles also provide support from below providing a firm muscle sling. Working together they keep the bladder, uterus and bowel in place within the pelvis. Prolapse can happen if the support tissues or the pelvic floor muscles are damaged or weak.

Childbirth is the main cause of prolapse. The baby can stretch or tear the support tissues on its way down the birth canal. The baby can also stretch and tear the pelvic floor muscles at birth. The more vaginal births you have, the more likely you are to have a prolapse.




Prolaspe Prolapse

There are other things that press down onto the pelvic organs and the pelvic floor muscles that can lead to prolapse:

  • have a cough that goes on for a long time such as with asthma, bronchitis or a chronic cough.
  • heavy lifting.
  • constipation with straining to empty the bowel.


  • 喘息、気管支炎、または慢性咳など、長期にわたる咳をしている。
  • 重いものを持ち上げる。
  • 便秘のため、排便時にいきむ必要がある。

Types of prolapse

Pelvic organs may bulge into the vagina:

  • through the front wall of the vagina which is called a cystocele.
  • through the back wall of the vagina which is called a rectocele.
  • from the top of the vagina which is called an enterocele.
  • the uterus may drop down into the vagina (uterine prolapse).
  • more than one organ may bulge into the vagina.



  • 膣の前壁から(膀胱脱という)。
  • 膣の後壁から(直腸ヘルニアという)。
  • 膣の上部から(腸ヘルニアという)。
  • 子宮が膣の中に下がる(子宮脱)。
  • 複数の器官が膣内に突出する。

Who is likely to have a prolapse?

Prolapse is common and tends to run in families. It is more likely after menopause. Being overweight puts extra load on the pelvic organ supports.

Prolapse can happen in young women right after having a baby. Half of all women who have had a child have some level of pelvic organ prolapse. But across the lifespan only 1 in 5 women have symptoms that cause them to seek help.

Prolapse can also happen in women who have not had a baby if they cough, strain on the toilet, or lift heavy loads. Even after surgery to mend prolapse, 1 in 3 women will prolapse again.

Prolapse can also happen in women who have had their womb removed. This is called a hysterectomy. In a case like this, the top of the vagina (the vault) can prolapse.






What can be done to help prevent prolapse?

It is much better to prevent prolapse than try to fix it. You are more at risk if any women in your close family have had a prolapse. It is important for you to follow the advice given here.

Prolapse is due to weak pelvic tissues and pelvic floor muscles. You need to keep your pelvic floor muscles strong no matter what your age.

Pelvic floor muscles can be made stronger with proper training. See the brochure ‘Pelvic Floor Muscle Training for Women’. It is important to have your pelvic floor muscles checked by an expert. This might be a continence physiotherapist or a continence nurse advisor. These experts can help plan a pelvic floor muscle training program just for you. This can prevent prolapse. Pelvic floor muscle training can also help if you already have a prolapse.





What can be done to treat prolapse once it has happened?

Prolapse can be dealt with simply or with surgery. This depends on the level of prolapse.

The simple approach

Prolapse can often be treated without surgery, mainly in the early stages when the prolapse is mild. The simple approach can mean:

  • pelvic floor muscle training planned to your special needs. You can get advice from a continence physiotherapist or continence nurse advisor.
  • learning the possible causes of your prolapse and making needed lifestyle changes.
  • keeping good bowel and bladder habits to avoid straining. See the brochure ‘Good Bladder Habits for Everyone’.
  • having a pessary measured and placed into the vagina. A pessary is a silicone or rubber device which is fitted to go into your vagina. A pessary gives inside support for your pelvic organs. They can be used instead of surgery for some women.

The surgery approach

Surgery can be done to repair the torn or stretched support tissues and ligaments. Surgery can be done through the tummy or vagina. Sometimes special mesh is placed into the front or the back vaginal wall. This is to make the vaginal wall stronger where it is weak or torn. The mesh helps form stronger tissues as the body heals and gives support where it is needed.

After surgery

To prevent the prolapse coming back again, make sure you:

  • seek expert advice to make sure your pelvic floor muscles are working to support your pelvic organs.
  • don’t strain when using your bowels. See the brochure ‘Good Bladder Habits for Everyone’.
  • keep your weight within the right range for your height and age.
  • learn safe ways of lifting and always share the lifting of heavy loads.
  • see your doctor if you have a cough that won’t go away.





  • みなさんの特別なニーズに合った骨盤底筋トレーニングを行う。失禁物理療法士、または失禁看護アドバイザーからアドバイスを得ることができます。
  • 骨盤臓器脱の潜在的な原因を学び、必要に応じて生活様式を変える。
  • いきみを回避するために、適切な排便および排尿習慣をつける。パンフレット「すべての人のための優れた排尿習慣」を参照してください。
  • サイズの合ったペッサリー膣の中に入れる。ペッサリーは、膣の中に入れるシリコン製またはゴム製のデバイスです。ペッサリーは、骨盤器官に内部からのサポートを提供します。一部の女性では手術の代わりにペッサリーを使用できます。





  • 骨盤底筋が骨盤器官を支えていることを確認するために、専門家からのアドバイスを求める。
  • 排便時には、いきまない。パンフレット「すべての人のための優れた排尿習慣」を参照する。
  • 身長と年齢に合った体重を保つ。
  • 重いものを持ち上げるための安全な方法を学び、重いものは数人で運ぶ。
  • 咳が止まらない場合には医師に相談する。

Seek help

You are not alone. Poor bladder and bowel control can be cured or better managed with the right treatment. If you do nothing, it might get worse.

Phone expert advisors on the National Continence Helpline for free:

  • advice;
  • resources; and
  • information about local services

1800 33 00 66 *

(8am - 8pm Monday to Friday AEST)

* Calls from mobile telephones are charged at applicable rates.

To arrange for an interpreter through the Telephone Interpreter Service (TIS), phone 13 14 50 Monday to Friday and ask for the National Continence Helpline. Information in other languages is also available from

For more information:


* Calls from mobiles are charged at applicable rates.



National Continence Help Line(全国失禁ヘルプライン)に電話すれば、無料で専門家による以下のアドバイスが受けられます。

  • アドバイス
  • 資料、および
  • 地元のサービスに関する情報

1800 33 00 66 *

(8am - 8pm 月曜〜金曜、東部標準時間)

電話通訳サービス(TIS)を通じて通訳を手配するには、月曜日から金曜日の間に13 14 50にお電話し、National Continence Help Lineに電話してもらってください。その他の言語での情報は、から入手できます。



* 携帯電話からの電話には、通常の携帯料金が課されます。


Last Updated: Wed 15, Jul 2020
Last Reviewed: Tue 17, Mar 2020