Any type of prolapse brings with it specific symptoms.
Bladder prolapse can create issues with urination, while bowel prolapse can cause pain during sex.
But can a prolapse make you feel ill? Since there are different ways to “feel ill,” the answer is yes. Here’s how.
Types of Prolapse
Pelvic Organ Prolapse, or POP, refers to when a woman’s pelvic floor muscles weaken to the point that one or more pelvic organs drop lower in the pelvis.1 The pelvic floor muscles and ligaments act like a hammock, holding the bladder, vagina, and other pelvic organs in place.
Sometimes those muscles weaken, such as after childbirth, after a hysterectomy or after menopause.1 That weakening can lead to a bulge or prolapse in the vagina.
There are different types of prolapse, depending on the organ that’s impacted:
There are some variations in the symptoms, but generally, if you feel pressure in your pelvic area, it’s worth visiting your doctor for diagnosis.1
Can a Prolapse Make You Feel Ill?
There are various ways to consider the term “ill,” from feeling sick to your stomach to being critically ill, or suffering from a terminal condition. Oxford Languages defines ill as: “Not in full health, or sick.”
Having a prolapse can indeed make you feel “not in full health, or sick.” Here are some examples:
- Issues with incontinence or constipation: If your prolapse causes incontinence (leaking urine or feces), you may feel embarrassed and worried about going out. You may limit your social and work life, and your mental health may even be impacted. Similarly, prolapse sometimes causes constipation, which is not good for your health in the long-term.2
- An uncomfortable feeling of fullness or pressure in your pelvis and vagina: This is a common symptom among the different types of prolapse, and that pressure can cause discomfort in the pelvis and sometimes lower back.2
- Pain during sex: Also known as Dyspareunia, pain has a negative impact on what should be a joyous encounter and an important part of our well-being. Here’s why: Prolapse can cause irritation along the inside of the vulva, or the pulling from the prolapse can lead to pelvic muscle strain and soreness with intercourse.3
- Impact on sexual health: Our mental health is just as important as physical health, and women with prolapse may feel uncomfortable having sex knowing about the prolapse or bulge, even if it isn’t dangerous.3
- Vaginal bleeding: In moderate to severe stages of organ prolapse, you may also notice some bleeding, such as when the organ that’s protruding through your vagina gets irritated. This may not necessarily be a sign that you’re ill, but it can be alarming and worrisome.4
- Pain and leg fatigue: When pelvic pressure is greater, the prolapse may compress adjacent nerves, causing leg pain, low backache, and easy leg fatigue.5
- General fatigue and depression: Pelvic floor dysfunction and depression are connected—so much so that having issues with your pelvic floor, such as a prolapse, can lead to overall fatigue and depression.6
See a Doctor
Being ill doesn’t just refer to those with life-threatening conditions. If you just don’t feel right—whether it’s mentally or physically—see a doctor. It’s important to seek medical diagnosis and treatment if you suspect you have pelvic organ prolapse. The sooner you receive a proper diagnosis and receive a treatment plan, the sooner you can get on the path to feeling like yourself again.
Use our Physician Finder to find a doctor near you with expertise in women’s health to help with your prolapse concerns.