Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a condition in which there is a lowering or drop of one of the vaginal compartments. This is like a hernia or a weakness in the tissues that support the vagina.
The bulge that you can see is the wall of the vagina. Other structures that are behind the wall of the vagina can push it down. They can also push it out.
There are many terms that we use to talk about prolapse. The terms we use will depend on what body part has dropped.
- Anterior prolapse: This is also known as a cystocele. It is when the bladder has dropped.
- Posterior prolapse: This is also known as a rectocele. It is when there is a bulge of the rectum into the back side of the vagina. This is not the same as a rectal prolapse. That is when the rectum is dropping out of the anus.
- Apical prolapse: This is when the uterus or cervix has dropped. If a hysterectomy has been done, this is known as an enterocele or a small bowel prolapse.
- Perineal hernia: This is a bulge in the space between the vagina and the anus. This is often seen with a posterior prolapse.
Some amount of prolapse is very common. If a person is not having issues caused by the prolapse, it may not need to be treated. It may need to be treated if a person is having:
• Pain in the pelvis or in the vagina
• Pain with sex
• Trouble peeing
• Trouble with bowel movements
Treatment options can be a pessary or surgery. Only you and your care team can decide what is the best choice for you.