Overview of Vaginal Prolapse

Vaginal prolapse, also called pelvic organ prolapse, occurs when an organ in the pelvis (e.g., uterus, urethra, bladder) or the top portion of the vagina (called the vaginal vault) drops down into or protrudes through (herniates) the vagina. Muscles, ligaments, and other structures around the vagina help support the pelvic organs, keeping them in place. Vaginal prolapse can occur when this support system weakens or is damaged.

Incidence and Prevalence of Vaginal Prolapse

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), approximately 3 percent of women in the United States experience pelvic organ prolapse each year. The condition occurs most often in women over the age of 40, women who have given birth several times, women who have experienced menopause, and women who have had a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus).

Publication Review By: Amy Stein Wood, MPT, BCIA-PMDB, Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 28 Apr 2006

Last Modified: 01 May 2014