What is a prolapse?

A prolapse is when one or more of the pelvic organs (bladder, urethra, uterus or bowel) sit lower in the pelvis than they are meant to. As with many conditions, the prolapse may be mild, moderate or severe. Many women with a mild prolapse will be unaware that they have one, and may not experience any problems from it. Other women will be aware of a bulging sensation in the vagina, particularly at the end of the day, after doing a lot of lifting, or with repeated coughing.

Symptoms may include:

  • A sense of ‘something coming down’ or a ‘dragging feeling’
  • Seeing or feeling a lump in the vagina
  • Bladder problems including urinary incontinence
  • Difficulty emptying the bladder or bowels
  • Lower back or pelvic pain
  • Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse

Why does prolapse happen?

The pelvic organs are supported from above by ligaments, and below by the pelvic floor muscles. If either of these structures are weakened, then one or more of these organs can sit lower in your pelvis.

Factors that may increase the likelihood of having a prolapse include weak pelvic floor muscles, repeated heavy lifting, chronic constipation, obesity, pregnancy and childbirth (especially if you had a long pushing phase of labour, baby over 4kg, an instrumental delivery or a large tear).

What can I expect from a physiotherapy treatment program?


At Winmalee Women’s Health Physiotherapy, we have clinical expertise in the assessment and treatment of pelvic organ prolapse. Our treatment programs are individually tailored to your condition and are based on current research.

Physiotherapy is always carried out in a private treatment room; always with the same physiotherapist, providing sensitive, professional treatment. Your initial appointment will involve a thorough assessment, including questioning about your pelvic floor function and habits. This may be followed by an internal vaginal examination to assess the strength of your pelvic floor muscles, and the type and severity of the prolapse.

The goals of Physiotherapy are to reduce the symptoms caused by the prolapse and to improve your pelvic floor support. Stronger pelvic muscles give the pelvic organs more support from below, decreasing uncomfortable symptoms and preventing further slippage.

Treatment will involve educating you about your condition, and teaching you simple measures which can have a big impact on your comfort and control. Treatment techniques may include biofeedback to teach pelvic floor muscle control, strengthening exercises, bladder retraining and posture re-education. A home exercise program will always be an important part of your treatment.