Prolapse and Sex – Facts & Tips Women Want to Know

 Prolapse and Sex Physiotherapy Help for Women

Prolapse and sex often causes women to feel embarrassed and needlessly self conscious. Prolapse can be especially challenging for a woman’s confidence with intimacy, especially when entering a new relationship. This professional information is designed to help women with pelvic prolapse understand the facts associated with prolapse and sex, along with tips to improve prolapse support and intimacy with a prolapse.

Read on now to learn these real facts about prolapse and sex concerns: Prolapsesex

  • Will your partner notice your prolapse?
  • How to improve sex and prolapse?
  • Will sex make your prolapse worse?
  • Will prolapse affect your sex life?

Will Your Partner Notice?

Your partner is highly unlikely to notice your prolapse if it is mild to moderately severe. Men are mostly unaware of the presence of a vaginal prolapse during sex. In fact it takes many months if not years to be able to diagnose a prolapse with careful examination when you are actually looking for one. So unless your partner is a gynaecologist, you can rest assured that he will usually not feel or see your prolapse.

How to Improve Sex With a Prolapse

Use good quality lubricant

Prolapse is associated with thinning of the vaginal walls. Use the best lubricant ingredients for safety and ensure that that you are well lubricated will help to protect your internal tissues during intercourse.

Perform regular pelvic floor exercises

Regular pelvic floor exercises can help a woman’s sexual arousal and ability to achieve orgasm. Pelvic floor exercises (kegel exercises) will also help to improve the pelvic floor muscle support for prolapsed tissues and can help to reduce prolapse symptoms and encourage the prolapse to sit higher within the pelvis

Pelvic floor exercises for men can also improve sex by increasing their ability to maintain an erection by preventing blood escaping from the erect penis. In fact pelvic floor exercises have been shown to be an effective method for treating erectile dysfunction in men (Dorey, 2005). So both women and men can benefit from regular pelvic floor exercises when it comes to sexual satisfaction.

Relax with prolapse and sex

If you have a vaginal prolapse try to remain confident in the knowledge that many women lead happy sex lives without giving their prolapse and sex a second thought. Remember that your partner is most unlikely to notice your prolapse during sex. If your prolapse is mild to moderate it  should not affect either yours or your partner’s sexual satisfaction. If you can remind yourself of these things you may be able to relax with intercourseso that you and your partner can better enjoy the moment.

Can Sex Make a Prolapse Worse? Prolapse sex

No, penetrative vaginal intercourse is most unlikely to worsen a vaginal prolapse. Having a prolapse means the walls of your vagina are bulging down or your cervix has dropped down within your vagina. Sexual intercourse does not pull or draw a vaginal prolapse down any further, in fact quite the opposite. Many women can carry on with their sex lives most happily despite having a mild or moderate vaginal prolapse. Sex will not make a prolapse worse. Discuss this issue with your doctor should you have any specific safety concerns with prolapse and sex.

Will Prolapse Affect Your Sex Life?

Your prolapse should not affect your partner’s level of physical stimulation. Men and women are aroused by stimuli which may be mental or physical. The actual physical stimulation from touching body parts causes sensitive nerves to release chemicals that are pleasurable. A vaginal prolapse rarely affects the sensation a man receives during intercourse. For the women, a prolapse does not affect her pleasure sensitive clitoral nerve endings either. Your partner is most likely to be unaware of a mild to moderate prolapse during intercourse.

Some women may find their prolapse causes some discomfort with intercourse, and this can vary according to the type of prolapse and the prolapse severity. Sometimes discomfort with intercourse can be improved with pelvic floor relaxation and trying an alternative position such as sidelying with the woman’s back facing her partner to reduce the depth of penetration.

Prolapse and sex has been written to help women understand the effect of prolapse on sex by providing accurate facts. These tips are designed to assist women with mild to moderate vaginal prolapse enjoy and improve their sex lives.

prolapse exercisesABOUT THE AUTHOR, Michelle Kenway

Michelle Kenway is a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist and author of Prolapse Exercises Inside Out. Prolapse Exercises is a complete exercise guide for women with prolapse and after prolapse surgery seeking to exercise safely and protect their pelvic floor.

Comments

  1. Rachel says:

    Is it safe to use an internal vibrator with a prolapse issue? As far as I know there are the two main types: the rabbit type that rotates and the more traditional type of stationary vibrator. Are both safe for use with prolapse? Are there any toys that need to be avoided?

    • Pelvic Exercises says:

      Hi Rachel
      This is an interesting question and one only your specialist could answer in relation to your particular case. With mild to moderate prolapse penetrative intercourse is not usually problematic so it is difficult to see how a stationary vibrator would differ from penetrative intercourse. There is no current research available on this issue to my knowledge.

  2. While inserting a nuva ring for the first time i notice something didnt seem quite right. I have no health insurance so turned to the internet! I am quite sure I have a mild prolapse. I have had 3 children..my youngest being 10lbs delivered vaginal and I am a CNA..a job requiring MUCh heavy lifting. I was very embarrassed and depressed…but reading this article helped me greatly, i was worried what my husband would think/feel…but now I can relax a little bit. Thank you.

  3. CATHERINE says:

    I can feel my rectal prolapse when i introduce my finger, in fact i can move it upwards,can you consider this as a moderate prolapse?

    • Hi Catherine

      Thanks for your question on Prolapse Severity

      Vaginal proplapse severity is graded as mild, moderate or severe according to how far the lowest edge of the prolapse descends within (and out of) the vagina. Just being able to feel the prolapse with your finger does not necessarily mean it is classified as moderate in size. When the prolapsed tissue becomes close to and/or starts to protrude beyond the hymen, the prolapse classification changes from mild to moderate. It is worth remembering that a prolapse examined lying down can appear to be quite different to when standing up as gravity will have an effect on the prolapse.

      Cheers
      Michelle

  4. I have just been diagnosed with mild vaginal, rectal and bladder prolapse. I don't see any mention of exercises to address all of these areas. Are there any?

    • Hi Kathy

      When it comes to pelvic prolapse, the terminology can be tricky, for example bladder prolapse or cystocoele as it was also previously called, is now referred to as anterior vaginal wall prolapse. The principles for managing your prolapse in general will apply to all three areas, it is not different management for different prolapse if this makes sense.

      In very simple terms prolapse management involves improving your pelvic floor support with pelvic floor / kegel exercises and reducing those factors that place pressure on your prolapse and pelvic floor by reducing the amount of downward pressure with: good bowel management, safe lifting, appropriate general exercise, using your pelvic floor muscles when you cough/sneeze/lift etc.

      All exercise for prolapse regardless of the type of prolapse involves pelvic floor exercises or Kegel exercises. You will find extensive information and instrucional videos at our pelvic floor exercises library.

      The best place to start looking for our prolapse information is at our Pelvic Prolapse library. You will see a long list of articles and videos on the right hand side facing you on your screen.

      A good general article for you to start with is this one on bladder prolapse Remember that all those factors that place pressure on your bladder prolapse will be the same as those impacting upon the other areas of prolapse you have also.

      I hope this gives you a good starting point Kathy

      Regards
      Michelle

  5. I have been diagnosed with a severe cystocele and a mild to moserate uterine prolapse. I bought a Kegel 8 machine and do pelcic floor exercises manually – as instructed by my gynae-physio. I think it helps to avoid immediate surgery.
    Hope this helps

  6. Natural Birth Mother of 2 says:

    I have moderate diastasis abdominus recti and bladder prolapse/rectocele. Do you know if possibly one is causing the other?
    Thank you 

    • Rectus diastasis and bladder prolapse/rectoceole

      Hi

      Thanks so much for this question on rectus diastasis and prolapse.

      In short, no a rectus diastasis does not cause a pelvic prolapse however a woman may be predisposed to both if she has flexible connective tissue…

      For the benefit of other readers a rectus diastasis is a split split/separation in the abdominal muscle sheath that joins the upper abdominal or “six pack” muscles in the midline between the sternum and the navel. A separationof the abdominal muscles usually results from pregnancy including large babies and multiple pregnancy weakening and stretching this tissue. It is not possible for a rectus diastasis to cause a pelvic prolapse or vice versa. What we do know however that some women have connective tissue that is quite flexible. These women often have hypermobile (very flexible) joints and can be prone to problems resulting from ligament laxity. These women are also predisposed to pelvic prolapse owing to the flexibility of their tissues, and I would think that this would also apply to rectus diastasis – the more flexible the connective tissue, the greater the likelihood of stretch perhaps beyond the limits of extensibility.

      Hope this helps
      Michelle

  7. Recently i went for my appointment after having my hysterectomy a year ago. they did some surgery on my pelvic too.

    when my urogynae checked my vagina, she said mine is loose, and she was not happy.

    when i am together with my hubby, i am not comfortable and feel weak after that. both of us cant enjoy at all.

    pls advice how should i overcome. need your advice.

     

  8. hey i have been with my boyfriend for 6 months now and im only 17 but had really bad constipation ages ago and feel i have a prolapse. my vagina feels so tight where the muscles are buldging downwards and i think my cervix has moved down as i can touch it with my fingers, im unsure if the cervix will move upwards still during sex to fit the penis in? and im soo worried my boyfriend will notice something is wrong as it will be totally embarrising , but i really want to sleep with him as i believe i am in love with him, the prolapse is not coming outside of my vagina , but i feel the canal is only around 2 inches deep and i wonder how this will effect our intercorse? i am planning on trying sex on sunday and seeing how it goes, and i do not want to go to the doctors because i am too embarrist. i have constipation and find it hard to empy my bowls but urinating for me is normal and easy and i am still able to produce my own lubricant, i can feel buldges when i insert my finger so scarred to let my partner up there incase he feels it too? PLEASE HELP

    • Hi Emily
      I understand your embarrassment and your worry about this problem however with this kind of issue you do need to go to the doctor to get it diagnosed correctly. Try to see a doctor who you think you can speak with openly. If you don’t know one and you can’t speak with your parents about this, then ask a trusted friend- perhaps a mature woman who she sees for her women’s health issues. Most doctors speak to women about women’s health problems such as yours on a very regular basis so they are accustomed to dealing with these types of issues. Then once you know what you are dealing with you can take action towards management. It does sound as though it would be a good idea to speak to your doctor about your constipation issue as well as the two may very well be related.
      Best wishes
      Michelle

  9. Thanks Michelle i think i will do eventully it is just plucking up the currage to do it , do u know if my boyfriend will notice ? and will sexual intercorse be possible , i am very worried /: i know he loves me but i dont want him to think i am disgusting :( 

    • Hi Emily
      Even with a moderate prolapse women can have intercourse and in most cases the male partner cannot feel the prolapse. If you can insert a tampon readily then this gives some indication of the likelihood of successful penetration . I will also add that one would never think any less of any woman with a prolapse even if they did know about it. Feel proud about your body Emily, a prolapse is nothing to feel ashamed about at all and it often takes years of training to be able to even diagnose a prolapse let alone notice one during intercourse.
      Best of luck MIchelle

      • Thankyou so much, me and my partner had sex the other night and it was great! ( bit painful at first but got better!) do you know if kegal exersizes can completly reverse prolapse? i am doing them very regularly and hoping for the best because i am only 17 and do want children in the future , im so glad i found this website michelle and you have been a great help to me ! :) x

        • Hi Emily
          No a prolapse can’t be reversed however the symptoms can be alleviated in cases of mild to moderate prolapse with Kegel exercises. The other option for women who wish to have children is to be fitted with a pessary ring for prolapse support. This needs to be discussed with your doctor and fitted by a gynaecologist. There are also pessary rings that a woman can insert as she need to in order to support her prolapse. There is no reason why having a prolapse would prevent any future pregnancy. It would be advisable to seek some pelvic floor rehabilitation and guidance from a trained physiotherapist well prior to this to ensure your pelvic floor support. The other potential issue is constipation that often accompanies pregnancy and this needs to well managed also to avoid straining during and after pregnancy.
          I am glad to assist you Emily, stay in touch.
          Michelle

  10. ahhh so im stuck with it for the rest of my life because i dont want surgery :'( thats soo upsetting for me :( since its getting better slowly i hoped it would all go back to normal :(, and can you still give birth vaginaly with prolapse? because i really dont want a cizerian and me and my boyfriend were thinking of having a child soon, but i dont want him or nobody to find out i have a prolapse , i have soo much stress in my life caused by it ! i just want to be a normal healthy woman!

    • geraldine says:

      I inserted something really large in my vagina when I was 16 and half because I was curious about the vagina stretching in child birth. I had to yank it out and caused some dgree of prolapse. for years I thought I couldnt have sex or get prgnant which was not true. it has affected how i feel about my body long term but i do have a partner and have given birth vaginally to 3 children. i have never felt relaxed about talking about it and have never had any help. i do pelvic floor exercises but only basic ones. i now have a rectocele and cystocele but as yet no surgery. iam 61. i do have some bladder incontinence. the worst thing is that i stopped having orgasms and have only had slight ones a couple of times since although i have no problem with arousal.

      • Michelle Kenway says:

        Hi Geraldine

        Thank you for your honest comment – in addition to your honesty it really highlights how prolapse can, for many women affect our feelings about our bodies. There is not nearly enough written about the psychological impact of prolapse and for that matter emotional support for women with prolapse problems.

        Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles can help to improve a woman’s sexual sensation and orgasm response so this is a very good place to start, along with sufficient lubrication and arousal. You may be interested in speaking with your doctor about vaginal oestrogen (pessary) to help improve the condition of your vaginal tissues if you suspect this is an issue too. Do you have access to a Pelvic Floor Physio who might be able to assist you with your pelvic floor strengthening routine? Do you have an understanding doctor that you can speak openly with?

        Kindest regards
        Michelle

  11. Hi Emily  I don't mean to sound mean, but if you can't talk to your boyfriend about these things, do you think you should bring a new life into the world with him?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi,
    I don’t think anyone’s asked this question and quite frankly I’m embarrassed to ask my doctor. I have a mild rectocele, and was wondering if a) anal sex could have been one of the causes (I have about a million other risk factors). And b) if I should be avoiding anal sex because of the pressure it can put on the pelvic floor muscles. It seems like no one is talking about this anywhere.

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi
      Thank you for your question about anal sex and prolapse, and yes agreed it is not openly discussed.

      There are two parts to answering this question. First I need to highlight the difference between rectocoele and rectal prolapse as they are often confused but not the same.

      Rectoele refers to a prolapse of the rectum into the back wall of the vagina, the prolapse is located within/bulging from the vagina – in which case sexual intercourse will not be a factor, this occurs because of the weakening of vaginal walls/supports. In contrast a rectal prolapse is a prolapse of tissue within/out of the retum and anus (not the vagina). In this case anal sex can be a cause owing to the weakening/stretching of the anal sphincter.

      Hope this clarifies things for you – if not let me know
      Cheers
      Michelle

  13. I found this forum very helpful and reassuring and I just wanted to comment on the great level of communication from the admins.
    I do have a query though – I’m only 17 and yet I have a uterine prolapse. It’s hard to say how severe it is, but I can feel it when I insert a finger. I’ve never given birth so I think it may have been caused by constant constipation and a sudden weight gain. Will it gradually get worse if I don’t do anything about it? If I lose weight, will it significantly improve? Also, how effective are Kegel exercises?
    I’ve never been to a doctor about it because I wasn’t sure it’d be much good, I don’t feel like I need surgery and I certainly don’t want it.

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Bro
      Thanks for your comment. I think the first thing you need to do is to see a doctor to get this confirmed as a prolapse. You are correct in that constipation with long-term straining as well as weight gain can contribute to uterine prolapse. I can tell you that for women with prolapse, weight management and weight loss is advisable since obesity is a known risk factor for prolapse. Kegels are known to be effective for women with mild to moderate prolapse in reducing symptoms and elevating the resting position of the pelvic floor. Some women choose to use support pessaries and there are some great pessaries available for women to insert themselves on a daily basis that may suit younger women. Hope this helps you out!
      Best wishes
      Michelle

  14. Dee Miller says:

    Thank you for not only answering my question but referring me to the postings by other women. They were amazing in filling me in on other questions I had but, had not asked. You are helping so many women, what would we do without you? Actually I got far more information from your site than I ever did from my GYN.

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      My pleasure Dee – when women share their combined knowledge and experience it helps everyone especially when it comes to pelvic floor issues, I think it can help us all feel a lot less isolated, more ‘normal’ and hopeful.
      Take care and enjoy yourself!
      Michelle

  15. I had surgery to correct a bowel, bladder and uterine prolapse after the birth of my last child. I was unable to have intercourse as it was severe. That was 11 years ago and have enjoyed a full sex life since then if any women out there are worried. However, I now notice and can feel a prolapse again and although my past knowledge and questions above have been very helpful, I am concerned about oral sex. With the prolapse being just inside (can be seen when using a mirror for personal hygiene) should oral sex be avoided? also it doesn’t look very nice and am concerned that my partner may be put off if he sees it during oral sex.

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi
      Thank you for your question about oral sex and prolapse. First of all there is no medical reason to avoid oral sex with a mild-moderate prolapse – if you think about the visible part of the prolapse it is basically the inside vaginal wall that has moved downwards. Some ladies find that when their prolapse is moderate to severe this tissue can become red and irritated as it wears against the underwear during the course of everyday living. When you lay down flat with your head down, your prolapse will move upwards and protrude far less that when trying to sit up and view with a hand mirror – the sit up action or standing makes the prolapse protrude much more. Sometimes prolapse can be missed altogether during examination for this reason. So this may be reassuring for you too. In working with women and their partners after prolapse surgery, I have never heard any man complain about their partner’s prolapse with oral sex and for the most part they are unaware of the prolapse unless the woman draws attention to it or feels self conscious (needlessly). The estimates are in fact 1 in 2 woman having some degree of prolapse after vaginal delivery.

      So the short answer is oral sex should not be an issue with a mild-moderate prolapse and your partner is highly unlikely to be aware of its existence.

      All the best
      Michelle

      • Thank you very much Michelle, as you also answered another problem I had.
        I have noticed that I get very sore and it feels quite dry during the day, but the feeling goes during the night. I thought maybe the pant liners I wear had changed, but thanks to you, I now realise it is the prolapse.
        I came across this site by chance and am so very glad I did. Your help and reassurance for women is refreshing.
        Thank you very very much.

  16. Frustrated@home says:

    Hi there, I’m 30 yoa and recovering from recent (5 weeks ago) anterior and posterior vaginal repair plus sling. My issues were caused by heavy lifting in the gym. As I am usually quite sexually active I’m finding the lack of sex with my husband extremely difficult. Is it possible/safe to practice oral sex/outercourse without damaging my repairs?
    Thanks for your help!

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi
      Thank you for your question – this really needs to be determined by your surgeon at your 6 week post op appointment. Women differ in terms of the type of repair performed and whether prolapse surgery includes surgery on the perineum to reduce the size of the vagina and decrease the risk of future prolapse. Women are usually advised to avoid placing anything inside the vagina for the first 6-8 weeks post op. I wouldn’t think that clitoral stimulation would be an issue prior to this however ensuring cleanliness and hygiene.

      Hope this helps out.

      Michelle

  17. Hi. I had a baby 2 months ago and had my check uo with my doctor. She says everything is fine and that I don’t have a prolapse, but I can feel something. I feel a bit of a bulge below at the opening of my vagina. If I use a mirror, I can see a round small bulge. It’s not smooth… if I bear down, I can see this bulge and also one below. I have read many articles and watch some videos. As you mentioned it can be difficult to diagnose a prolapse. What do you suggest? I was thinking of buying vagibal weights? My husband says that the opening of my vagina is tight, but inside is just moderatre and he says he can feel hard spots on his penis. Is this the prolapse or could it be scaring from my stitches? Please advise. Need advise. Thanks!

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Bella
      Thanks for your question. Was your checkup performed by your obstetrician? Have you mentioned these symptoms to your regular doctor? The symptoms you describe are suggestive or prolapse but these needs to be assessed by a health practioner. I would suggest against vaginal weights – first and foremost the correct diagnosis is required. Regular daily pelvic floor exercises should help you recover your pelvic floor strength after childbirth, do you have access to a Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist to assist you?
      KInd regards
      Michelle

  18. Hi Michelle. Thanks for replying. Yes she is an obstetrician. We had a two month check up with her today. I brought up the possibility of a prolapse… explained that in a squating position there is basically a wall at my vaginal opening. She said this is due to weak vaginal walls from giving birth to a large baby. She has said that regular kegek exercise should help this. If not, she has given me a referal to physio. I’m confused how my week vaginal wall is any different than a prolapse.

  19. Hi Michelle
    I am so pleased to have found your website and related videos they have been such a valuable source of information, thankyou so much.
    My question is , is it better to avoid some sexual positions such as being on top? Does the effect of gravity and using abdominal muscles make this position a bad idea?
    Many Thanks

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Donna

      This is an interesting question – If you think about the act of penetrative intercourse it is going to have the effect of pushing the prolapse back within the vagina regardless of the position so that position would not really be a factor to be concerned about in terms of prolapse worsening.

      Some women do have discomfort with penetrative intercourse owing to more severe prolapse, post operative discomfort or pelvic pain problems in which case side lying with your back to your partner position would help allow you to control the depth of penetration. Lying underneath the partner does not allow the woman very much control of the depth of penetration. Ideal position will really depend upon what the pelvic floor issue is.

      Hope this helps
      Michelle

  20. I haven’t been to the doctors but I can definitely say I have viginal prolapse im wondering what could have caused this as I’m only twenty years old and I’ve never had any children and if it could have been from being on contraception at a young age (14-16) also I’ve been with my partner for a year now and sex is definitely uncomfortable at first but it gets better would there be any chance of prolapse stopping me from getting pregnant ? We’ve been having unprotected sex for about six months now and nothing :( thanks for reading

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Stace

      First and foremost a prolapse will not stop pregnancy or reduce fertility in any way.

      Stace painful intercourse can also known as dyspareunia. It can be caused by overly tight or tense pelvic floor muscles that are unable to relax. Unfortunately this is a poorly diagnosed condition and it can take women years to have this diagnosed. If your doctors have ruled out other possible causes of your painful intercourse it may be worth your while reading a little on this to update your knowledge. I am not saying that you have this however you do have one of the main symptoms. I am not sure which country you are living in – can access treatment with a pelvic floor physio?

      This article about pelvic floor muscle tension is worth reading

      Please feel welcome to reply for further assistance, I hope this helps you out
      Michelle

  21. i have a diagnosed rectocele and often need to insert my finger into the vagina to help empty my bowels.. i think i have a loss if sensation because sometimes i dont even know i need to have a bowel movement until i go pee and notice the bulge which i then have to push up to then complete the bm… this makes me very self conscious when it comes to being intimate with my husband… i read in comments above that laying down the it is often less noticeable but im always so worried he will feel or see the bulge… and with the loss of sensation is that something to be more concerned about??

    • Michelle Kenway says:

      Hi Laura
      Thank you for your question – women with rectocoele often need to use their hand to support the perineum or finger within the vagina to empty their bowels. To be very honest men usually don’t notice this – when you are lying down the weight of your abdomen is taken off your pelvic floor and the prolapse will be much less noticeable if at all.

      The decreased sensation happens due to the stretching of your tissues and again this is quite normal with a rectocoele. The risk is that because the tissues are overstretched and you have decreased sensation, then they could stretch further if you aren’t in a really good routine of emptying your bowels. It’s important to keep your stool consistency manageable with appropriate diet, avoid straining where possible and be sure to empty your bowels regularly to minimize the risk of further stretching. Does all this make sense and help you a little?

      Let me know
      Michelle

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