A prolapse occurs when the uterus, which is normally supported in its position in the abdomen by ligaments, muscles and fat pads, takes up a new, lower position. This can be because of weak muscles, stretched ligaments or loss of fat but the result is that the uterus presses down on the vagina.
This can create quite a few problems. You may feel as though something is about to come out of your vagina, or it may just feel very full. The physical pressure of the uterus can make sex difficult and it can affect the bladder and urethra. Many women who have a vaginal prolapse also experience quite severe stress incontinence.
In its early stages, a prolapse will result in some of the lower part of the uterus coming into the vagina but if this is not treated, the uterus can emerge from the vaginal opening, something that is very distressing for the woman concerned.
As soon as you experience prolapse symptoms, you need to see your doctor for medical advice.
Who is likely to have a prolapse?
Studies show that women who have never been pregnant are much less likely to experience a vaginal prolapse. The problem is much more common in women who have had multiple pregnancies or big babies.
A big prolapse risk is also being overweight, although some women only experience symptoms if they lose a lot of weight.