Treatment options for pelvic organ prolapse 

Self care

Maintaining a healthy weight, stopping smoking, avoiding heavy lifting and eating a healthy, high-fibre diet

  • Can help prevent prolapses
  • May help reduce the risk of a mild prolapse getting worse
  • Can also improve your general health
  • Does not improve a prolapse
  • Unlikely to be effective for more severe prolapses 
Pelvic floor exercises

Exercising the muscles that surround the bladder

  • Recent evidence suggests pelvic floor exercises can help improve a prolapse
  • Can be done at home
  • Can also improve urinary incontinence
  • No side effects or complications
  • Only effective if used in the long term
  • Unlikely to be effective for moderate or severe prolapses
Hormone treatment

Treatment with a hormone called oestrogen. Available as a tablet, patch, cream or implant

  • Some studies have shown it can improve the outcome of prolapse surgery
  • Can help relieve some of the symptoms associated with prolapse, such as vaginal dryness or discomfort during sex
  • Can be combined with self care measures, pelvic floor exercises, vaginal pessaries and surgery
  • Not a treatment for prolapse on its own
  • Only used in women who have been through the menopause
  • More research needed into its effectiveness
Vaginal pessaries

Rubber or silicone devices inserted into the vagina

  • Can be used to treat a moderate or severe prolapse
  • An alternative to surgery
  • Fitting needs to be done by a health professional
  • Needs to be removed and replaced every few months
  • Possible side effects can include urinary tract infections, problems having sex and urinary incontinence


Pelvic repair surgery

Surgery to improve positioning and support of pelvic organs, sometimes involving a synthetic mesh to support the prolapsed organ or prevent future prolapse

  • Can be used if you want to have children in the future
  • A successful treatment for prolapse in most cases
  • Strain of future pregnancy may cause prolapse to recur
  • About 1 in every 5 operations are unsuccessful and require further surgery
  • There is little evidence of the effectiveness of using a mesh to support the pelvic organs or vagina
  • Possible complications include mesh erosion, infection and bleeding
  • Recovery can take 6 to 8 weeks

Surgery to remove the womb

  • Can be used as part of the treatment plan for a prolapse
  • Not a treatment for prolapse on its own
  • No longer able to get pregnant
  • Can trigger the menopause
  • Possible complications include bleeding, infection and pain during sex
  • Recovery can take 6 to 8 weeks