Alaska Urological Institute

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse is a medical condition that occurs when the normal support of the vagina is lost, resulting in “sagging” or dropping of the bladder, urethra, cervix and rectum. As the prolapse of the vagina and uterus progresses, women can feel bulging tissue protruding through the opening of the vagina.

What are the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse?
Some loss of support is a very common finding upon physical exam in women, many of whom do not have bothersome symptoms. Those women who are uncomfortable often describe the very first signs as subtle—such as an inability to keep a tampon inside the vagina, dampness in underwear or discomfort due to dryness during intercourse.

As the prolapse gets worse, some women complain of:

  • A bulging, pressure or heavy sensation in the vagina that worsens by the end of the day or during bowel movements
  • The feeling that they are “sitting on a ball”
  • Needing to push stool out of the rectum by placing their fingers into the vagina during bowel movement
  • Difficulty starting to urinate, a weak or spraying stream of urine
  • Urinary frequency or the sensation that they are not emptying their bladder well
  • The need to lift up the bulging vagina or uterus to start urination
  • Urine leakage with intercourse

What treatment options are available for pelvic organ prolapse?
Our physicians can provide the broadest range of treatments for these conditions. Some conservative options include watchful waiting and physical therapy. Supportive devices are also available. For more definitive management, surgery is also an option. Our specialists are highly trained in all surgical approaches, including no-incision vaginal techniques to state-of-the-art, robotic-assisted reconstructive procedures. Your physician will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan carefully tailored to your specific needs.