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Vaginal Problems and Female Genital Prolapse

A feeling of pelvic organs bulging (prolapse) into your vagina or increased pelvic pressure with movement is a symptom of female genital prolapse, which is experienced almost entirely by adult women. Although many women who have pelvic organ prolapse do not have symptoms, the most common and bothersome symptom is bulging of the uterus into the vagina or outside of the body. Other common symptoms include:

  • A feeling of pelvic pressure, or feeling as if something is actually falling out of the vagina.
  • A pulling or stretching in the groin area or a low backache.
  • Painful intercourse (dyspareunia), for you or your partner.
  • Spotting or bleeding from the vagina.
  • Urinary problems, such as incontinence or a frequent or urgent need to urinate, especially at night.
  • Trouble with bowel movements. A woman may have to support the back (posterior) of her vaginal wall to have a bowel movement. Constipation is frequently a problem for women who have certain types of pelvic organ prolapse.

Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse are made worse by standing, jumping, and lifting and usually are relieved by lying down.

Female genital prolapse is caused most commonly by pregnancy, labor, and childbirth. It also can be related to diseases that cause increased pressure in the abdomen, such as obesity, respiratory problems with a long-lasting (chronic) cough, constipation, and pelvic organ cancers. Pelvic organ prolapse can occur after hysterectomy.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised September 6, 2011

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