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Prolapse is a common condition where the bladder, uterus and/or bowel protrudes into the vagina.

Prolapse is caused by stretching of the ligaments and muscles that support the pelvic organs.

Common risk factors include:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Chronic coughing
  • Heavy or repetitive lifting
  • Constipation and regularly straining on the toilet
  • Excess weight


Signs of a prolapse can include:

  • an inability to completely empty the bladder or the bowel when going to the toilet
  • straining to get urine flow started, or to empty the bowel
  • a slow flow of urine that tends to stop and start
  • a sensation of fullness or pressure inside the vagina
  • a sensation of vaginal heaviness or dragging pain
  • a bulge or swelling felt in the vagina
  • bladder or bowel urgency or incontinence
  • lower back ache

Diagnosis and treatment

A prolapse is diagnosed by a medical history check and a physical examination.

Prolapse won’t go away without intervention, but there is a lot you can do to improve the symptoms.

Treatment depends on the severity of the prolapse and how much it interferes with your lifestyle. It can include:

  • Lifestyle changes.
  • Strengthening pelvic floor muscles.
  • Inserting a ring pessary to support the prolapse.

Family Planning Tasmania services

Family Planning offers the following services for prolapse:

  • Assessment – medical history and examination to diagnose prolapse
  • Management plan which may include:
    • Lifestyle measures
    • Medication
    • Pessary fitting – insertion of a ring pessary to support the prolapse
    • Ongoing pessary care
    • Recommendation/referral to pelvic floor physiotherapist
    • Referral for surgery

Contact us for an appointment.

Prolapse Summaries

These documents are great summaries of our new pessary fitting service and information about prolapse.

Prolapse Factsheet
Vaginal Pessary Factsheet

If you need assistance, advice or treatment for prolapse or any other sexual or reproductive health issue, please make an appointment with one of our friendly doctors.

This content is provided for general information and education purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances. It is not to be relied on in substitution for specific advice from a medical professional and Family Planning Tasmania does not accept responsibility for such use. Family Planning Tasmania has taken every effort to ensure that the information is up to date and accurate, however information and knowledge is subject to change. Family Planning Tasmania advises that you always consult a medical professional for individual advice.

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