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Managing pelvic organ prolapse

What is a Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)?

A prolapse is a bulge coming into the vagina.  It can occur when there is a weakness in the walls of the vagina causing the bladder, bowel or uterus (womb) to protrude. A prolapse can occur when the muscles, ligaments or tissues cannot support everything in the pelvis.

If you have a prolapse you may experience a heaviness, dragging or a sensation of ‘something coming down.’ A prolapse can also cause bladder or bowel problems, such as incomplete emptying.  It can also interfere in sexual activity.   

Risk factors include childbirth, aging, a family history or repetitive straining on the pelvis such chronic coughing, a history of constipation, being over weight and repetitive heavy lifting.   

Pelvis with ring pessary

Using a pessary

A pessary can help reduce the symptoms of a pelvic organ prolapse. You can choose

  • for a doctor to manage your pessary
  • to manage your pessary yourself. 

If you choose to self-manage, a women’s health physiotherapist can teach you how to change your pessary.  These pages are here to help you manage at home.

The POP-Home project  has been funded by the Health Foundation to teach women to manage their vaginal pessary.