Prolapse is a common condition where the bladder, uterus and/or bowel protrudes into the vagina.


What causes prolapse?

Prolapse is caused by stretching of the ligaments and muscles that support the pelvic organs.

Common risk factors include:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Chronic coughing.
  • Heavy or repetitive lifting.
  • Constipation and regularly straining on the toilet.
  • Excess weight.


Symptoms of prolapse

Signs of a prolapse can include:

  • an inability to completely empty the bladder or the bowel when going to the toilet
  • straining to get urine flow started, or to empty the bowel
  • a slow flow of urine that tends to stop and start
  • a sensation of fullness or pressure inside the vagina
  • a sensation of vaginal heaviness or dragging pain
  • a bulge or swelling felt in the vagina
  • bladder or bowel urgency or incontinence
  • lower back ache.



A prolapse is diagnosed by a medical history check and a physical examination.


Management and treatment

Prolapse won’t go away without intervention, but there is a lot you can do to improve the symptoms.

Treatment depends on the severity of the prolapse and how much it interferes with your lifestyle. It can include:

  • Lifestyle changes.
  • Strengthening pelvic floor muscles.
  • Inserting a ring pessary to support the prolapse.


FPT prolapse services

Family Planning Tasmania offers the following prolapse services:

  • Assessment – medical history and examination to diagnose prolapse
  • Management plan which may include:
    • Lifestyle measures
    • Medication
    • Pessary fitting – insertion of a ring pessary to support the prolapse
    • Ongoing pessary care
    • Recommendation/referral to pelvic floor physiotherapist
    • Referral for surgery

Contact us for an appointment.


Useful information

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