When the uterus moves down in the pelvis and starts to press into the vagina, it is called uterine prolapse.
It can happen when the muscles and tissues that hold the uterus in place get weak or damaged. This can be caused by pregnancy and childbirth, being overweight, or frequent constipation. Or the muscles and tissues may get weaker as you age.
This problem may cause you to leak urine. Or you may have trouble passing urine or stool. You may feel pain during sex. But in most cases, prolapse doesn't cause more serious health problems.
You may feel better if you change how you do some of your daily activities. And you can try exercises to make your pelvic muscles strong. Or your doctor may suggest a pessary. 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 the uterus. 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 X924 in the search box to learn more about "Uterine Prolapse: Care Instructions".
Current as of: August 2, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine