Uterine prolapse is a common condition that can happen as a person ages. Over time, and with multiple vaginal childbirths, the muscles and ligaments around your uterus weaken. When this support structure starts to fail, your uterus can sag out of position. Treatment for uterine prolapse involves surgical and nonsurgical options based on the severity of the prolapse.
Uterine prolapse is a condition where the muscles and tissues around your uterus become weak. This causes your uterus to sag or drop down into your vagina. It can happen to anyone assigned female at birth (AFAB), but is most common after menopause and in people who’ve had more than one vaginal delivery.
The muscles, ligaments and tissues in your pelvis are called your pelvic floor muscles. These muscles support your uterus, rectum, vagina, bladder and other pelvic organs. A prolapse occurs when your pelvic floor muscles are damaged or weakened to the point where they can no longer provide support. This causes your pelvic organs to drop into or out of your vagina.
Uterine prolapse can be mild or severe depending on how weak the supporting muscles of your uterus have become. In an incomplete prolapse, your uterus may have slipped enough to be partway in your vagina. This creates a lump or bulge. In a more severe case, your uterus can slip far enough that it comes out of your vagina. This is called a complete prolapse.
Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy
Your healthcare provider may use a system to classify uterine prolapse. The stages of uterine prolapse are:
Uterine prolapse is most likely to happen in people who:
Menopause occurs when your ovaries stop producing the hormones that regulate your monthly menstrual period. One of these hormones is estrogen. This particular hormone helps keep your pelvic muscles strong. Without it, you’re at a higher risk of developing a prolapse.
Uterine prolapse is a fairly common condition. Your risk of developing the condition increases with age. You’re also at a higher risk of uterine prolapses if you’ve had multiple vaginal deliveries.
Uterine prolapse can disrupt normal activities and be uncomfortable. Very mild cases may not require treatment or cause any discomfort. However, severe cases may make it difficult to pee or have a normal bowel movement. Uterine prolapse is typically a quality of life issue, and healthcare providers treat it when symptoms of the condition begin to interfere with your daily life.
If you have a mild case of uterine prolapse, you may not have any obvious symptoms. But as your uterus slips farther out of position, it can put pressure on other pelvic organs — such as your bladder or bowel — and cause symptoms like:
Symptoms can get worse when you stand or walk for long periods of time or when you cough and sneeze. In these positions, gravity puts extra pressure on your pelvic muscles.
Your uterus is held in place within your pelvis by a group of muscles and ligaments (pelvic floor muscles). When these structures weaken, they become unable to hold your uterus in position and it begins to sag. Several factors can contribute to the weakening of the pelvic muscles, including:
Other organs in your pelvic region can fall out of position when the muscles around it become too weak. Some of the other types of pelvic organ prolapse are:
Your healthcare provider will perform a pelvic examination to determine if your uterus has lowered from its normal position. During a pelvic exam, your healthcare provider inserts a speculum (an instrument that lets them see inside your vagina) and examines your vagina and uterus. Your provider will feel for any bulges caused by your uterus dropping down into your vaginal canal. They may also ask you to cough, strain or act like you’re holding in your pee. This can help them see how weak your muscles are.
There are surgical and nonsurgical options for treating uterine prolapse. Your healthcare provider will pick your treatment path based on the severity of your prolapse, your general health, age and whether or not you want children in the future. Treatment is generally effective for most people. Treatment options can include:
It depends on the severity of the prolapse. In mild cases where your quality of life isn’t affected, your healthcare provider may not recommend treatment. Uterine prolapse can affect other organs in the pelvic area of your body (like your bladder and rectum). Healthcare providers typically recommend treatment when uterine prolapse becomes bothersome.
No, you can’t push your uterus back up. Only your healthcare provider can treat a prolapsed uterus.
Some factors like having multiple vaginal births or experiencing menopause can’t be avoided.
There are ways to reduce your risk of developing a prolapse. A few lifestyle tips that can reduce your risk of prolapse include:
There are several tips for lifting heavy objects that can help you avoid injury, including:
Most of the time, treatment for uterine prolapse is effective. But sometimes, a prolapse can come back. This is more common if you:
In most cases, the outlook for uterine prolapse is very good. Seeking treatment and making lifestyle changes (maintaining a healthy weight and exercising) can help prevent a prolapse from happening again. Talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns you may have about prolapses. Your provider can help develop a treatment plan and build good lifestyle habits to prevent any future prolapses.
Contact your healthcare provider if you have any of the following signs of uterine prolapse:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Uterine prolapse is a condition common in people who’ve had several vaginal deliveries or have gone through menopause. Symptoms vary depending on how far your uterus has slipped out of place, but it can be quite uncomfortable. Talk to your provider if you have symptoms of a prolapsed uterus like bulging from your vagina or pressure in your pelvic area. There are treatments to help you feel better before other organs are affected.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 09/07/2022.
Learn more about our editorial process.