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Vaginal Prolapse (cont.)

How to Treat Vaginal Prolapse

Most vaginal prolapses will gradually worsen over time and can only be fully corrected with surgery. However, the type of treatment that is appropriate to treat a vaginal prolapse depends on factors such as the cause and severity of the prolapse, whether the woman is sexually active, her age and overall medical status, her desire for future childbearing, and her personal preference.

  • Nonsurgical options may be most appropriate for women who are not sexually active, cannot undergo surgery because of medical reasons, or experience few or no symptoms associated with the condition.
  • Surgical repair is the treatment option that most sexually active women who develop a vaginal prolapse choose because the procedure is usually effective and durable.

Vaginal Prolapse Self-Care at Home

Treatments at home for vaginal prolapse include one or a combination of the following:

  • Activity modification: For a vaginal prolapse that causes minor or no symptoms, the doctor may recommend activity modification such as avoiding heavy lifting or straining.
  • Pessary: A pessary is a small device, usually made of soft plastic or rubber, that is placed within the vagina for support. Pessaries come in many different varieties. This nonsurgical treatment option may be the most appropriate for women who are not sexually active, cannot have surgery for medical reasons or because of advanced age, or plan to have surgery but need a temporary nonsurgical option until surgery can be performed (for example, women who are pregnant or in poor health). Pessaries must be removed and cleaned at regular intervals to prevent infection or erosion into the vaginal walls. Some pessaries are designed to allow the woman to do this herself. A doctor must remove and clean other types. Estrogen cream is commonly used along with a pessary to help prevent infection and vaginal wall erosion. Some women find that pessaries are uncomfortable or that they easily fall out or that they cannot be retained (i.e., they fall out).
  • Kegel exercises: These are exercises used to tighten the muscles of the pelvic floor. Kegel exercises can be tried to treat mild-to-moderate cases of vaginal prolapse or to supplement other treatments for prolapses that are more serious.

Vaginal Prolapse Medical Treatment

Many women with a vaginal prolapse may benefit from estrogen replacement therapy. Estrogen helps strengthen and maintain muscles in the vagina. As with hormone therapy for other indications, the benefits and risks of estrogen therapy must be weighed for each individual patient.

Last Reviewed 11/17/2017
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