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Can Pelvic Organ Prolapse Cause Fatigue?

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a very common condition. In fact, research suggests that 20% of women will receive surgery for POP or stress incontinence by the time they reach 80. 1 

Pelvic organ prolapse has several symptoms, including leg fatigue. Women who have POP and are experiencing overall fatigue may want to seek out treatment for their mental health as well as their physical health. In fact, given the connection between depression and POP, this may be a good idea for any woman with the condition. Indeed, self care is important for everyone

What Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?

POP is a treatable condition in which the uterus, bladder, rectum, or other pelvic tissues or organs drop out of their normal position, and into or out of the vagina (and sometimes the anus). It results when the pelvic floor muscles become too weak to support these organs. 

This condition is often linked with pregnancy and childbirth. Factors like age, genetics, obesity, and frequent constipation can also weaken the pelvic floor muscles, potentially leading to prolapse. 

Can pelvic organ prolapse cause fatigue?

Along with lower back and pelvic pain and pressure, POP can cause leg fatigue. 2

This typically happens when the mass created by the prolapse compresses nearby nerves. 3

If you have a prolapse and are also experiencing general fatigue, you may need to check in with your mental health. We know that pelvic floor dysfunction and depression are connected—so much so that depression can sometimes make it difficult for them to adequately take care of their condition. 4

The reality is that while POP is not life threatening, it can dramatically impact your quality of life. Many women suffer in silence, dealing with pain, discomfort, and shame all by themselves. So it’s not surprising that women may feel depressed and tired when they have a prolapse, especially if they are not being proactive about treatment. 

Further complicating this reality, note that POP symptoms are usually more mild in the morning, getting worse as the day goes on. 5 This too could certainly contribute to feelings of depression and fatigue as the day wears on. 

Thankfully, there are a wide variety of options for treating POP, including lifestyle changes and nonsurgical options. That’s why it’s critically important that women see their doctor if they suspect they may have POP, and/or if they are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • A bulge at the opening of the vagina that you can see and/or feel
  • Incontinence, constipation or difficulty urinating
  • Pelvic or low back pain, abnormal sensations or pressure, or difficult inserting tampons 

It’s critically important that women understand that POP is not a given, just because you’ve had a baby or gone through menopause (see more pelvic health myths here). There’s no reason you can’t live your best life, just because you’re having pelvic issues. 

So speak to your doctor if you feel you might be experiencing POP. You can also use our Physician Finder to find a pelvic health specialist in your area. Our Pelvic Floor Health Quiz can also help you get a better picture of the health of your pelvic floor.

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