Vaginal Vault Prolapse: Care Instructions

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Female pelvic anatomy after hysterectomy showing uterus removed, and anatomy with vaginal vault prolapse showing sagging uterovaginal canal.

Overview

When the top of the vagina drops into the lower vagina or through the opening of the vagina, it is called vaginal vault prolapse.

This may happen after surgery to remove the uterus. This is because the uterus no longer supports the vagina.

This problem may cause you to leak urine or stool. Or you may have trouble passing urine or stool. You may feel pain during sex. Or you may feel pressure on your genitals.

Medicine may help you feel better. You can also talk to your doctor about a device you put in your vagina (vaginal pessary). It may help with symptoms. Surgery may also be an option.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Do not do activities that put pressure on your pelvic muscles. This includes heavy lifting and straining.
  • Try exercises to tighten and strengthen your pelvic muscles. These are called Kegel exercises. (If doing these exercises causes pain, stop doing them and talk with your doctor.) To do them:
    • Squeeze your muscles as if you were trying not to pass gas. Or squeeze your muscles as if you were stopping the flow of urine. Your belly, legs, and buttocks shouldn't move.
    • Hold the squeeze for 3 seconds, then relax for 5 to 10 seconds.
    • Start with 3 seconds, then add 1 second each week until you are able to squeeze for 10 seconds.
    • Repeat the exercise 10 times a session. Do 3 to 8 sessions a day.
  • Talk with your doctor about a vaginal pessary. This is a device that you put in your vagina to support it. Your doctor can teach you how and when to remove it. You will also learn how to clean it and put it back in.
  • If your doctor prescribes estrogen cream for your vagina, use it exactly as prescribed.
  • To relieve pressure on your vagina, lie down and put a pillow under your knees. Or you can lie on your side and bring your knees up to your chest.
  • If you are overweight, talk to your doctor about safe ways to lose weight.

When should you call for help?

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You have new urinary symptoms. These may include leaking urine, having pain when urinating, or feeling like you need to urinate often.
  • You have trouble passing stool.
  • You have pain or a feeling of fullness in your vagina.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

Enter F795 in the search box to learn more about "Vaginal Vault Prolapse: Care Instructions".

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.