Causes of a pelvic organ prolapse 

There is rarely a single cause of pelvic organ prolapse. It is usually the result of a combination of things.

The risk of developing pelvic organ prolapse can be increased by:

  • your age – prolapse is more common as you get older
  • childbirth, particularly if you had a long or difficult labour or gave birth to multiple babies or a large baby
  • changes caused by the menopause, such as weakening of tissue and low levels of the hormone oestrogen
  • being overweight or obese, which creates extra pressure in the pelvic area
  • previous pelvic surgery, such as a hysterectomy or bladder repair
  • repeated heavy lifting and manual work
  • long-term coughing – for example, if you smoke or have a lung condition
  • excessive straining when going to the toilet because of long-term constipation 

Other medical conditions

There are some conditions that cause weakening of the tissues in your body and can make a prolapse more likely, including:

Page last reviewed: 26/02/2013

Next review due: 26/02/2015