A vaginal prolapse is a bulge or lump felt within the vagina. It occurs when the tissues supporting the bladder, womb or bowel become overstretched and the pelvic floor muscles become weak.
This may be as a result of pregnancy, childbirth, pelvic surgery, chronic constipation, obesity, heavy lifting or genetics.
A more severe prolapse may require surgery. But even if you have to have surgery, a strong pelvic floor will help to prevent reoccurrence of the prolapse and other bowel or bladder problems in the future.
We also know that the symptoms of prolapse are affected by lifestyle factors. Anything that raises the pressure inside your abdomen will put extra pressure down on your prolapse.
If you are overweight it could make a great difference to lose some weight. You can discuss this with your physiotherapist, your GP or practise nurse.
Straining to open your bowels will make your prolapse worse. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fibre and drink two litres of fluids a day. Ask your physiotherapist about the best position to open your bowels to reduce the strain.
- Heavy lifting
Try to avoid heavy lifting, pushing or pulling whenever possible. Divide a heavy load into two lighter ones if possible. If you do have to lift tighten your pelvic floor muscles first and hold tight throughout the lift to give support.
- Coughing and sneezing
Take any prescribed medication for respiratory conditions. If you smoke you should try to stop smoking. When you do cough or sneeze tighten your pelvic floor muscles first for support, as with heavy lifting.
Running, jogging, jumping and other high impact exercise should be avoided. Try swimming, Pilates, yoga, walking or cycling instead.
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust would like your feedback. If you wish to share your experience about your care and treatment or on behalf of a patient, please contact The Patient Experience Department who will advise you on how best to do this.
This service is based at The James Cook University Hospital but also covers the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton, our community hospitals and community health services.