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Understanding Incontinence

What is Prolapse, its Causes & Prevention?

Prolapse is when pelvic organs push into the vaginal cavity, such as the bladder, uterus or rectum. Discover what is prolapse, its causes and prevention methods in detail.
    Published by Karson Stimson
    What is Prolapse, its Causes & Prevention?

    The word ‘prolapse’ literally means ‘to fall out of place’ and in the contribution to incontinence, can be the vagina, bladder, uterus or bowel. Caused by the stretching and damage of ligaments, one or more of these organs may drop, putting everything out of alignment and impacting function.



    What are the causes of Prolapse?

     When the support structures for the pelvic organs and the pelvic floor muscles can no longer adequately support the pelvic organs, it causes prolapse. It generally occurs due to extreme or ongoing strain and downward pressure including:

    • Pregnancy and childbirth
    • Persistent constipation
    • Chronic coughing from smoking or lung disease
    • Repetitive lifting of heavy weight (for example young children or gym)
    • Obesity


    How to prevent prolapse?

     Prolapse can cause stress incontinence as well as blockages and difficulty establishing and maintaining urine flow when voiding. It can also prevent the bladder from being completely emptied, a condition called Urinary Retention, which contributes to continence issues.

    Preventative of prolapse include steps such as:


    • Pelvic floor exercises
    • Improving bowel regularity
    • Quitting smoking
    • Improving core strength (with Pilates for example)
    • Reducing weight

    These steps will all help to avoid or prevent a prolapse and may even assist in improving mild cases. However, in more extreme examples, surgery may be required to rectify the issue so if a prolapse is suspected, it’s best to see a doctor.