What is prolapse?

Dear Annie, I was diagnosed with bladder prolapse. The doctor recommends surgery. I’d like to avoid surgery. Is there anything natural I can do?

Thank you, this is a great question. There are several natural solutions that can help reduce symptoms and support the abdominal region and pelvic floor.

About Prolapse

The Oxford Dictionary defines “prolapse” as “a slipping forward or down of one of the parts or organs of the body.” Bladder prolapse is usually grouped with other common prolapse types in the abdominal region. Organs most commonly affected include the bladder, uterus, and colon.  But other organs and tubes in the abdominal region can also prolapse including the small intestine, vagina and the urethra.

Normally the uterus, bladder and colon are held in position just above the inside end of the vagina by a “hammock” made up of supportive muscles and ligaments, called the “Pelvic Floor.” Wear and tear on the muscles of the pelvic floor can allow the bottom of the uterus, the floor of the bladder, the rectum, or any combination to sag through the muscle and ligament layers.

The illustrations below show some what’s going on with common types of abdominal prolapse.

Abdominal organ prolapse is more frequent in women, although it sometimes happens to men. Recent data shows up to 50% of all women who have delivered children vaginally will at some point in their lives experience some type of prolapse. Most women are diagnosed between 50 and 60 years of age, when estrogen levels decline as a result of menopause. However, a prolapse can happen any time, especially after birthing children.

Symptoms of Abdominal Organ Prolapse

Symptoms vary depending upon which organ or organs are prolapsed. With a bladder prolapse you may experience a full feeling in the abdomen. You may feel like you’re sitting on a ball or have a wedgie.  There may be urinary incontinence or leakage. Some people experience a chronic urge to urinate or a feeling of incomplete evacuation when finished. There may also be an increased occurrence of bladder infection. You may feel a bit of skin in the vaginal area or even see a part of the vagina coming out.  Here is a general list of symptoms for most abdominal organ prolapse situations.

  • A feeling of pressure or fullness in the pelvic area
  • A backache low in the back
  • Painful intercourse
  • A feeling that something is falling out of the vagina
  • Urinary problems such as leaking of urine or a chronic urge to urinate
  • Constipation
  • Spotting or bleeding from the vagina

In Part 2, we’ll look at Natural Solutions for prolapse.

Our Guest Blogger, Annie Jones, is a Master Herbalist and Certified Yoga Therapist. You can find her at WondermentGardens.com