Preventing Pelvic Organ Prolapse

NewsGuard 100/100 Score

Pelvic organ prolapse is a distressing health condition in women related to the descent of the uterus or neighboring organs from their original location in the pelvis through the pelvic floor. This is due to a loss of pelvic support, and can decrease the quality of life by producing symptoms related to the urethra, bladder, and vagina. It can also produce psychological and emotional distress.

It is more common in women who have had more than one delivery, difficult births, or large babies. Other factors which push down the pelvic organs against the pelvic supports are also operative in many cases. The failure of the levator ani muscles, which make up the primary component of the pelvic diaphragm, is key to mediating the effect of these factors on pelvic organ support.

The prevalence of pelvic organ prolapse is between 30% and 40%.

Prevention of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Many studies have focused on identifying the risk factors and mechanism of pelvic organ prolapse. Without finding these factors, prevention is difficult.

Giving birth vaginally is the most important predisposing factor in pelvic organ prolapse, but can obviously not be avoided in all women. However, women with a high risk of prolapse may be offered an elective Caesarean section. This risk may be measured in terms of risk factors such as:

  • Fetal weight over 4 kg
  • Maternal height less than 160 cm
  • Urinary incontinence predating pregnancy
  • Racial origin
  • Younger age at first vaginal delivery
  • Body mass index
  • Family history of pelvic floor dysfunction

Reducing Pressure on the Pelvic Floor

There are several methods that can help to reduce pressure on the pelvic floor and thus decrease the risk of pelvic organ prolapse.

For example, regular pelvic floor exercises (Kegel’s exercises, with or without biofeedback) have been supposed to prevent prolapse by strengthening the muscular supports of the pelvis. However, objective evidence is lacking on the long-term success of this approach.

Other recommendation to reduce the pressure of the pelvic floor include:

  • Losing weight if required, or keeping to a healthy weight
  • Preventing straining at stools by including adequate fiber in your diet, through plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains.
  • Using the right lifting techniques to avoid putting strain on your pelvic muscles while lifting heavy things
  • Quitting smoking which weakens the muscles, and induces chronic cough

Preventing Recurrence Following Surgery

Another important factor contributing to pelvic organ prolapse is a history of certain types of surgery on the reproductive tract.

A vaginal hysterectomy with a McCall culdoplasty to buttress the vault of the vagina is one procedure which can reduce the incidence of this condition. Using a vaginal vault support procedure when repairing a prolapse vaginally could prevent its recurrence to some extent.

A total or subtotal abdominal hysterectomy is not found to prevent pelvic organ prolapse.

Preventing Recurrence with Estrogens

The role of estrogens has been tested in preventing pelvic floor weakening as a result of urogenital atrophy following the onset of peri- and post-menopausal hormonal reductions.

Topical estrogen treatment may be more useful than systemic administration, because of the reduction in side effects and the lower dosage necessary. Estrogen improves the strength of the muscular, ligamentous, and mucosal components of the pelvic supports.


Further Reading

Last Updated: Feb 27, 2019

Dr. Liji Thomas

Written by

Dr. Liji Thomas

Dr. Liji Thomas is an OB-GYN, who graduated from the Government Medical College, University of Calicut, Kerala, in 2001. Liji practiced as a full-time consultant in obstetrics/gynecology in a private hospital for a few years following her graduation. She has counseled hundreds of patients facing issues from pregnancy-related problems and infertility, and has been in charge of over 2,000 deliveries, striving always to achieve a normal delivery rather than operative.


Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Thomas, Liji. (2019, February 27). Preventing Pelvic Organ Prolapse. News-Medical. Retrieved on April 22, 2024 from

  • MLA

    Thomas, Liji. "Preventing Pelvic Organ Prolapse". News-Medical. 22 April 2024. <>.

  • Chicago

    Thomas, Liji. "Preventing Pelvic Organ Prolapse". News-Medical. (accessed April 22, 2024).

  • Harvard

    Thomas, Liji. 2019. Preventing Pelvic Organ Prolapse. News-Medical, viewed 22 April 2024,


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
Post a new comment

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.