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What you need to know about prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse is a scary word for any new mum. But as always, information is power, so here's what you really need to know about pelvic organ prolapse.

A pelvic organ prolapse is when one or more of the organs in the pelvis drops from its normal position and pushes into the vaginal wall. It happens when the pelvic floor - which supports your pelvic organs and keeps them in the right place - weakens. This tends to happen during pregnancy and childbirth as a result of changing hormones, the physical pressure of the baby in the womb, and the type of birth you've had.

There are four main types of prolapse:

  1. A bladder prolapse (cystocele) is the most common kind of prolapse. This is where the bladder sags and leans on the wall of the vagina.

  2. A rectum prolapse (rectocele) is when the rectum loses some of its support and bulges against the wall of the vagina.

  3. A uterine prolapse is, you guessed it, when the uterus slips down a little and leans against the wall of the vagina.

  4. A vaginal prolapse is where the top of the vagina itself starts to drop down.

You might have a pelvic organ prolapse if you feel a sense of heaviness or dragging discomfort in your vagina. You may be able to feel a bulge or lump in your vaginal wall as well.

Also look out for any feelings of discomfort or numbness during sex and difficulty with excessive peeing, struggling to empty your bladder or bowel, and incontinence.

Although prolapse is extremely common, you do not have to just get on with these symptoms. They can and should be treated by a doctor or physiotherapist. Prolapse can be very mild or very severe, so it’s important to have a healthcare professional check what’s going on.