If you experience a complete uterine prolapse, part or all of your uterus may protrude from your vagina. In this case, diagnosis may result from a simple visual exam. Your doctor may also use a pelvic exam to feel your reproductive organs and check for abnormalities.
During a pelvic exam to check for uterine prolapse, your doctor may ask you to bear down as if you are stopping a stream of urine or having a bowel movement. This can help determine how far your uterus has descended into the vaginal canal.
If the prolapse is incomplete, it can be identified with an ultrasound or other imaging. If you have symptoms such as constipation or a urinary tract infection, your doctor may also use tests such as urinalysis to complete your diagnosis.
Treatment and prevention options depend on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and medical history.
If your prolapsed uterus is mild and not causing uncomfortable symptoms, you may not need medical treatment.
Strengthening the pelvic muscles through Kegel exercises can prevent the uterus from descending any further.
Avoiding constipation, weight gain, and heavy lifting or straining may also prevent your uterine prolapse from worsening.
If the uterus has descended into the vagina, you may require more treatment to relieve discomfort and other symptoms, such as potential damage to the uterus, problems with your urinary tract, and infection.
In these cases, uterine prolapse can be treated by repairing damaged ligaments, supporting the pelvic floor, or removing the uterus entirely.
Treatment options for prolapsed uterus include:
- Vaginal pessary, a small rubber or plastic device that is inserted into your vagina to support your uterus.
- Prolapse surgery, where surgeons repair the structures that support the uterus.
- Removal of the uterus (hysterectomy).
Your doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment option for your unique situation. At Dignity Health, we offer preventive care, diagnosis, and expert, comprehensive treatment for uterine prolapse.
How to perform Kegel exercises
Kegel exercises, when performed regularly, strengthen your pelvic floor and prevent your uterus from slipping any lower. They can be performed anywhere and are especially helpful in strengthening the pelvic muscles after labor and delivery.
To perform a Kegel exercise, tighten your pelvic floor as though you were holding in a stream of urine or trying to avoid passing gas. Hold the muscle contraction for five seconds, or for as many seconds as you can, and then relax for five seconds. Repeat this contraction/relaxation cycle 10 times.
Try to perform sets of 10 repetitions, at least three times a day. As you get stronger, you can increase the amount of time you hold a contraction.
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.