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Pelvic organ prolapse

Published: 22/03/2013

Since December 2017, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that mesh should only be used for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse under research circumstances. If you join a research study, NICE recommends that you are regularly monitored for any complications.

If you have had vaginal mesh inserted and think you are experiencing complications, or you want to find out about the risks involved, speak to your GP. You can also report a problem with a medicine or medical device on GOV.UK.

The organs within a woman’s pelvis (uterus, bladder and rectum) are normally held in place by ligaments and muscles known as the pelvic floor. If these support structures are weakened by overstretching, the pelvic organs can bulge (prolapse) from their natural position into the vagina. When this happens it is known as pelvic organ prolapse. Sometimes a prolapse may be large enough to protrude outside the vagina.

This information is for you if you have been told that you have or if you think you may have
a prolapse into the vagina. It explains:

  • Why pelvic organ prolapse happens
  • The different types of prolapse
  • Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse
  • How prolapse is diagnosed
  • Treatment options, including the different types of surgery

This patient information leaflet is based on the RCOG clinical guideline Management of Post-hysterectomy Vaginal Vault Prolapse, which contains a full list of the sources of evidence used to produce this guidance.

Other resources

For further patient information on mesh and tape procedures for incontinence or prolapse, please refer to the British Society of Urogynaecology website.

Our mesh page brings together a range of resources to support informed decision-making about mesh procedures.

Our information hub about menopause and women's health in later life brings together a range of resources that will help you find out more, including a section on pelvic organ prolapse.

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