Chronic straining or pushing to have a bowel movement.
Symptoms and diagnosis
Understanding pelvic organ prolapse
A woman’s pelvis contains her bladder, uterus, rectum and vagina. A group of muscles, tissue and ligaments — called the pelvic floor — supports these organs. Pelvic organ prolapse happens if pelvic floor muscles and ligaments stretch or become weak or shift out of place resulting in pressure or a bulge from the vagina.
Pelvic organ prolapse is not life-threatening but can be painful and cause symptoms that affect your quality of life.
Doctors can diagnose pelvic organ prolapse by doing a physical exam. Sometimes other tests are needed. At UW Health, we offer the most advanced tests to diagnose pelvic health problems.
Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse can include:
A lump in the vagina or a lump coming out of the vaginal opening.
Pressure or heaviness in the pelvic area.
Difficulty when starting to urinate or a weak or spraying stream of urine.
Meet our team
Experts in women’s health
Our team has the highest level of training and all have special experience in women’s pelvic conditions.
Our team includes experts in:
Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (Fellowship-trained in gynecology and urology)
Colorectal surgery (Fellowship-trained)
Physical Therapists specially trained in the Pelvic Floor
Advanced Practice Providers with advanced training in the Pelvic Floor
Treatments and research
Treatment so you can feel your best
Many women with pelvic prolapse or discomfort are unsure where to seek treatment. Others assume it’s a normal part of aging. But pelvic organ prolapse is common, treatable and not something you have to live with.
Each woman is different. The team at UW Health will work with you to develop a treatment plan that’s just right for you. In most cases, we’ll start with exercises and lifestyle changes. If surgery is needed, we offer minimally invasive surgical options.
Your doctor may recommend eating more fiber. They may also suggest you avoid straining or heavy lifting.
Your doctor may recommend pelvic floor strengthening exercises that can be done at home. In many cases, they will recommend working with our Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist to learn the best methods of improving your pelvic floor.
Your doctor may recommend a pessary device. This device is inserted into the vagina and supports your pelvic organs.
Repair of the vaginal wall to decrease vaginal bulge or pressure
Hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) with repair of vaginal walls to resupport the vagina
Repair of the rectum or bowel for prolapse or accidental bowel leakage
Vaginal closure (colpocleisis)
Unique care close to home
UW Health’s Women’s Pelvic Wellness Clinic in Madison is the only program of its kind in Wisconsin to include Colorectal Surgery as well as Gastroenterology. Our doctors all specialize in women’s health and work together under one roof. At our clinic, we offer testing and treatment in one place.
Patient and support services