Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)

POP refers to the bulging or herniation of one of more pelvic organs into or out of the vagina. The pelvic organs consist of the uterus, vagina, bowel, and bladder.

What are the Signs & Symptoms of POP?

  • Heavy dragging feeling in the vagina or lower back
  • Feeling of a lump in the vagina or outside the vagina
  • Urinary symptoms: slow stream, incomplete emptying, frequency, urgency, incontinence
  • Bowel symptoms: constipation, incomplete emptying
  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse

What Causes POP?

The main cause is damage to nerves, ligaments, and muscles that support the pelvic organs. Risk factors for POP include:

  • Pregnancy and vaginal childbirth
  • Aging/menopause
  • Obesity, chronic cough, chronic constipation
  • Connective tissue disorders

Where can POP occur?

Normal Anatomy

The normal female anatomy consists of the bladder, vagina, and rectum supported by pelvic muscles. 

Anterior Compartment Prolapse

This is the most common type, involving the bladder and/or urethra bulging into the vagina.

Posterior Compartment Prolapse 

The rectum bulges into the back wall of the vagina.

Apical Compartment Prolapse 

The uterus pushes out the vagina. This is the 2nd most common form of prolapse. 

How is POP Treated? 

  • Non-surgical therapy 
    • Observation 
    • Pessary
    • Pelvic floor/Kegel exercises
  • Surgical Therapy 

(1) Sacrocolpopexy

  • Restore your pelvic organs to their natural position while retaining sexual function 
  • Can be done vaginally, open abdominal incision, or robotically 

(2) Vaginal closure (colpocliesis)

  • If you have severe prolapse and are not sexually active 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it necessary to use a graft material during the surgery? 
Not all repairs require a graft. If used, the graft may be absorbable or permanent. 

How successful is surgery? 
Almost 75% (vaginal surgery) and 90-95% (abdominal/robotic surgery) will have long-term cure of their prolapse symptoms.