Are you worried about your prolapse symptoms? Prolapse symptoms can vary from one woman to the next, often depending on the type and severity of the prolapse.
This Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist guide teaches you the main prolapse symptoms experienced by women.
Read on now to check prolapse symptoms:
- 4 main types of prolapse symptoms:
1. Vaginal symptoms
2. Bladder symptoms
3. Bowel symptoms
4. Sexual symptoms
- What is a pelvic prolapse?
- How severe is your prolapse?
Download this prolapse symptoms article as a user friendly PDF by scrolling down this page.
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Prolapse Symptoms for Women
There are four main groups of symptoms:
- Vaginal and pelvic symptoms
- Bladder symptoms
- Bowel symptoms
- Sexual symptoms
There are also other possible medical causes of these symptoms so having one or a number of these symptoms does not conclusively indicate the presence of a prolapse which needs to be medically diagnosed with physical internal examination.
The following general symptoms of pelvic prolapse can exist either in isolation or some women may find that they have a number of the following prolapse symptoms.
Vaginal and Pelvic Symptoms of Prolapse
These particular symptoms often become worse with prolonged standing, over the course of the day and with straining to use the bowels.
- Bulging sensation in the vagina
- Heaviness or pressure within the vagina
- Sensation of a bulge protruding from the vaginal entrance (this may be visible sitting at the entrance of the vagina)
- Low back ache and/or pain
- Abdominal pressure and/or pain
- Visible bulge at the entrance to the vagina
- Difficulty inserting a tampon or tampon moving down the vagina once inserted.
Bladder Symptoms of Prolapse
- Increased bladder frequency (bladder emptying)
- Bladder urgency and associated bladder leakage (strong urge to empty the bladder)
- Problems with the flow of urine which may be slow to flow, prolonged duration to empty, hesitant or stop/start urine flow
- Incomplete bladder emptying (which can contribute to chronic bladder infections and associated symptoms)
- Needing to manually reposition the vaginal prolapse to allow the bladder to empty
- Bladder flow changed according to the position of the body.
Bowel Symptoms of Prolapse
- Difficulty emptying the bowel including problems commencing emptying, needing to strain throughout and a sensation of incomplete bowel emptying
- Constipation requiring straining or manual assisting using the fingers to provide pressure against or within the vagina to manually assist
- Incontinence of stool (including liquid stool and staining of underwear especially with rectal prolapse)
- Sensation of constantly needing to pass stool or rectal pressure
- Poor wind (flatus) control
- Bowel urgency
- Discomfort during and/or after emptying the bowel.
Sexual Symptoms of Prolapse
- Vaginal pain or vaginal discomfort during or after penetrative sexual intercourse
- Difficulty with penetration with more severe prolapse
- Bladder leakage with intercourse
- Decreased sexual satisfaction
- Decreased sexual arousal
- Sexual disinterest
What is a Pelvic Prolapse?
A pelvic prolapse is a bulge of one or more of the pelvic organs into the vagina. The pelvic organs include the bladder, uterus, and rectum. A prolapse occurs when the walls of the vagina and the supports for the pelvic organs become weakened and stretched. The different types of pelvic organ prolapse are:
- Cystocele is a bladder prolapse into the front wall of the vagina;
- Rectocoele is a prolapse of the large bowel (colon and/or rectum) into the back wall of the vagina;
- Prolapsed uterus or uterine prolapse is the downward movement of the uterus and cervix down into the vagina (shown above);
- Urethrocele is a urethral prolapse/bladder beck into the front wall of the vagina; and
- Rectal prolapse is a prolapse of the rectum through the anus.
These different types of prolapse may have unique symptoms that are particular to that specific prolapse for example a rectocoele is typically associated with bowel symptoms.
How Severe is your Prolapse?
Prolapse symptoms do not necessarily indicate prolapse severity however there are some general trends that help you check.
Women with mild prolapse usually (but not always) experience minimal symptoms.
Women can be completely symptom free despite their prolapse and are often surprised to learn of its existence after routine gynecological exam.
Those women having a severe prolapse usually describe more noticeable prolapse symptoms.