Uterine prolapse occurs when pelvic floor muscles and ligaments stretch and weaken, providing inadequate support for the uterus. The uterus then slips down into or protrudes out of the vagina.
Uterine prolapse can happen to women of any age, but it often affects postmenopausal women who’ve had one or more vaginal deliveries. Weakening of the pelvic muscles that leads to uterine prolapse can be caused by:
- Damage to supportive tissues during pregnancy and childbirth
- Effects of gravity
- Loss of estrogen
- Repeated straining over the years
If you have mild uterine prolapse, treatment usually isn’t needed. But if uterine prolapse makes you uncomfortable or disrupts your normal life, you might benefit from treatment.
Weakening of pelvic muscles and supportive tissues contribute to uterine prolapse. This may happen as a result of:
- Trauma during childbirth
- Delivery of a large baby
- Difficult labor and delivery
- Loss of muscle tone
- Less circulating estrogen after menopause
Uterine prolapse varies in severity. You may have mild uterine prolapse and experience no signs or symptoms. If you have moderate to severe uterine prolapse, you may experience:
- Sensation of heaviness or pulling in your pelvis
- Tissue protruding from your vagina
- Urinary problems, such as urine leakage or urine retention
- Trouble having a bowel movement
- Low back pain
- Feeling as if you’re sitting on a small ball or as if something is falling out of your vagina
- Sexual concerns, such as a sensation of looseness in the tone of your vaginal tissue
- Symptoms that are less bothersome in the morning and worsen as the day goes on
When to see a doctor
Uterine prolapse doesn’t require treatment unless it’s severe. If your signs and symptoms become bothersome and disrupt your normal activities, make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your options.