Vaginal Prolapse

Do you have pressure in your vagina or pelvis, or an enlarged/wide/gaping vaginal opening? Do you have a lump of tissue at the opening of your vagina, or recurrent urinary tract infections? Do you have difficulty emptying your bladder/bowel, or constant constipation? Is sexual intercourse painful? If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you may be experiencing symptoms indicative of a female urology problem known as vaginal prolapse and it may be time to seek medical care from Academic Urology & Urogynecology of Arizona. Vaginal prolapse occurs when pelvic structures, like the bladder or rectum, bulge or protrude into the vaginal wall. There are many types of vaginal prolapse, each with a specific set of symptoms, and as many as 14 million women in the United States alone suffer from female vaginal and urological problems as a result of this condition. Academic Urology & Urogynecology of Arizona offers patients a variety of vaginal prolapse treatment options to help restore pelvic health.

Causes of a Prolapsed Vaginal Wall

There are a number of possible causes for a prolapsed vaginal wall or weakened vaginal supports, including: vaginal childbirth – particularly vaginal delivery of a large baby or multiple vaginal deliveries; menopause; weight gain; chronic cough; abnormalities of the connective tissue; prior pelvic surgery; advanced age; and chronic constipation. Women who have undergone a hysterectomy have a greater risk of experiencing vaginal prolapse problems as this procedure involves removing the uterus, an important part of the support structure at the top of the vagina. Women who have a family history of prolapse and women who lift heavy weight chronically are also at risk.

Vaginal Prolapse

There are five main types of vaginal prolapse:

  • Cystocele – when the front wall of the vagina weakens, the bladder prolapses into the vagina. Urethrocele is when the urethra prolapses. Cystourethrocele is when both the bladder and urethra prolapse.
  • Rectocele – when the back wall of the vagina weakens, the rectal wall pushes against the vaginal wall, creating a bulge that can be particularly noticeable during bowel movements.
  • Enterocele - when the front and back walls of the vagina separate, allowing the intestines to push against the vaginal skin. Enterocele vaginal prolapse often occurs after (or post) hysterectomy.


  • Prolapsed Uterus – when the group of ligaments at the top of the vagina (called the uterosacral ligaments) weaken and cause the uterus to fall into and through the vagina.
  • Vaginal Vault Prolapse - when the walls of the vagina weaken, the top of the vagina gradually falls toward the vaginal opening.

Vaginal Prolapse Treatment Options

The urologists at Academic Urology & Urogynecology of Arizona specialize in the field of urogynecology and are dedicated to the treatment of women with vaginal and urological problems. Non-surgical treatment of vaginal prolapse involves placing an object (pessary) into the vagina to support surrounding structures. Pessaries range from a basic ring structure or a collapsible ring device to a ring attached to a semi-rigid stalk or a ring that is inflated on insertion. For women who cannot use a pessary, repair of vaginal prolapse through surgery may be a better approach. If the urologists at Academic Urology & Urogynecology of Arizona recommend that you have vaginal prolapse surgery, they will work with you to determine the least invasive procedure for the most effective results. Female patients with severe vaginal vault or uterine prolapse may be considered good candidates for robotic laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy, a state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgical procedure performed at Academic Urology & Urogynecology of Arizona that is designed to result in significantly less pain, less risk of infection, less scarring, and shorter recovery than traditional open surgery approaches. For more information on robotic laparoscopic sacrocolpopexy and other procedures to repair vaginal prolapse, contact Academic Urology & Urogynecology of Arizona.


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pelvic health today.