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Let’s talk about prolapse
Nurse Continence Specialist Christine Murray answers common questions about prolapse, and where to go for help and further information.
What are the SIGNS and Symptoms of Prolapse?
Early on, you may not notice the signs of prolapse, but your doctor or nurse may be able to see it when you have your routine pap smear test.
When a prolapse is further down, you may notice things such as:
- a lump bulging out of your vagina that you can see or feel
- a heavy sensation or dragging in the vagina
- something ‘coming down' or a lump in the vagina
- difficulty emptying your bladder or bowel.
- lower back pain
- sexual problems (pain or less sensation)
- weak urine stream
- recurring urinary tract infections
These signs and symptoms can be worse at the end of the day and may improve after lying down. If the prolapse bulges right outside your body, you may feel sore and bleed as the prolapse rubs on your underwear.
Childbirth is the main cause of a prolapse. On the way through the vagina, the baby can stretch and tear the supporting tissues and pelvic floor muscles. The more vaginal births you have, the more likely you are to have a prolapse.
Other causes of prolapse can include:
- persistent coughing with a chronic lung condition, such as smoker's cough, bronchitis or asthma
- lifting very heavy weights
- chronic constipation with persistent straining to empty the bowel
The National Continence Helpline is staffed by Nurse Continence Specialists who offer free and confidential information, advice and support. They also provide a wide range of continence-related resources and referrals to local services.