Having pelvic organ prolapse is different for every woman.
While it isn’t defined as a “lethal condition,” it certainly impacts quality of life for many women.1
There are also different symptoms for different women. That can depend on the type of pelvic organ prolapse, which is when the supporting muscles of the pelvic floor become weakened and relaxed, and one or more of the pelvic organs drop and press into the vaginal wall.
Prolapse can occur to the bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina, small bowel and rectum. One example is called vaginal vault prolapse and happens when the upper portion of the vagina prolapses into the lower vaginal canal, or outside of the vagina, particularly in women who have had their uterus removed 2
What Are The Symptoms Of Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Here are the most common symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse:
- A bulge at the opening of the vagina, which you can feel or see.
- Symptoms related to your bladder and bowel, such as incontinence, constipation, or difficulty urinating.
- Pressure or heaviness in your pelvis or lower abdomen.
- Difficulty inserting a tampon.
- Painful intercourse.1
Can Pelvic Organ Prolapse Cause Leg Pain?
It’s not just these more common side effects that women can feel. Prolapse can also cause leg fatigue, lower back pain, and pelvic pain.1
In fact, the most common symptoms arise from the internal pressure created when pelvic organ tissue pushes against the muscles in the pelvis. This pushing creates that pressure feeling in the pelvis, which can lead to lower back pain, make the muscles ache, and causes the feeling that something is “falling out.”
Pain in the lower back, lower belly and groin, along with leg fatigue, are very common signals of prolapse.3
What Can You Do About Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
If you have any of these symptoms, including leg fatigue or leg pain, the first step is to see a doctor for correct diagnosis. You can use our physician finder to seek a doctor experienced in women’s health concerns.
Diagnosis typically begins with a review of your medical history and a physical exam of your pelvic organs. This can help your physician determine the type of prolapse, such as bladder, rectum or uterine, and develop a treatment plan.4
Possible treatments include:
- Physical therapy with pelvic floor exercises.
- A pessary, a device that is placed vaginally to hold the pelvic organs in place.
- In some cases surgery.4
There are also steps you can take to stop weakening those tissues or preventing your condition from worsening. That includes maintaining a healthy weight, quitting smoking, avoiding heavy lifting and straining during bowel movements, and strengthening your core and your pelvic floor.4
It’s important to know you’re not alone, as prolapse is actually quite common. You need to look after yourself, as there is a connection between depression and women with pelvic floor dysfunction, including prolapse.5