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Prolapse: Meaning, Causes, And Commonly Affected Organs

Prolapse: Meaning, Causes, And Commonly Affected Organs


4 minute read

Do you have a bulging sensation, pressure or discomfort around your pelvis? You may be feeling stressed while peeing or have trouble with your bowel movements.

These symptoms could be associated with a common condition called prolapse—but don't worry, you're not alone. 1 in 3 people experience prolapse at some point [1]. The good news is it’s easily treatable.

Today, we’ll look at what prolapse is, what causes it, and which organs are commonly affected by it. By the end of this, you'll:

  • Have a better understanding of prolapse and its causes.
  • Be more confident in managing it.
  • Be able to identify its symptoms.
  • Make informed decisions about your treatment options.

So, What Exactly Is Prolapse?

To put it simply, prolapse is when an organ moves from its normal position in your body. This happens because the tissues or muscles that normally hold the organ in place are weakened or loosened.

BUT it's important to remember there are different types of prolapse, which we'll explore below. Don't worry—understanding the different types will help you better understand your own condition and how to treat it. So let's get a bit technical!

Type of Prolapse

Definition

Uterine Prolapse

Uterine prolapse occurs when your pelvic floor weakens and sags, which means it can no longer support your uterus. This causes your uterus to slip into your vaginal canal.

Bowel Prolapse (Rectocele)

This one’s also called rectocele, and it occurs when the muscles between your rectum and vagina are weakened—causing your rectum to press against the walls of your vagina.

Small Intestine Prolapse (Enterocele)

Enterocele happens when your small intestines bulge into your vaginal walls.

Bladder Prolapse (Cystocele)

Similarly, cystocele is when your bladder bulges into the walls of your vagina.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)

POP is the most common type of prolapse, and it’s when any organ in your pelvis bulges into your vagina.

Rectal Prolapse

Rectal prolapse occurs when your rectum pushes outside your body through your anus

Vaginal Vault Prolapse

This last one refers to any type of prolapse that involves your vagina.

 

Remember: All kinds of prolapse require medical treatment. However, the specific treatment will depend on the severity of the condition and symptoms.

But the good news is that with the proper care and treatment, most cases of prolapse can be successfully managed or treated. So if you're experiencing prolapse symptoms, don't hesitate to seek medical attention!

What Are the Most Common Causes of Prolapse?

Understanding the most common causes of prolapse is the first step to preventing or treating it. So, let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of prolapse:

  • Aging
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Menopause
  • Heavy lifting
  • Genetics/hereditary
  • Chronic coughing
  • Hysterectomy
  • Chronic constipation

To help you better comprehend the causes of prolapse, we’ve broken them down for you in the table below. 🙂

Cause

Description

Aging

As we age, the muscles supporting our pelvic floor weaken. This can lead to sagging and excess space in our pelvis and cause our pelvic organs to slip toward our vagina. 

Pregnancy and Childbirth

During pregnancy, your body produces more progesterone and cortisol, which causes your uterine walls to relax. This relaxation may cause prolapse.

And if you’ve had a challenging delivery or have given birth to more than one baby, your pelvic floor muscles may have been stretched, strained, or weakened—which can also lead to prolapse.

Menopause

Menopause can increase the risk of prolapse as estrogen levels decrease and your pelvic muscles and ligaments weaken. This can lead to pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

Heavy lifting

If you're a weightlifter, repeated heavy lifting can affect the strength of your pelvic floor muscles and ligaments, resulting in prolapse.

Remember, giving your body adequate rest and recovery time is important, as is practicing safe lifting techniques« Back to Blog

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