Vaginal prolapse is a common condition where the bladder, uterus and/or bowel protrudes into the vagina. This can cause symptoms such as a sensation of a vaginal lump, constipation, difficulty emptying the bowel or bladder, or problems with sexual intercourse. Treatment is only indicated when the prolapse is symptomatic. The majority of women will have improvement of symptoms following prolapse surgery.
For some women it will be suitable to try a vaginal pessary instead of prolapse surgery. Vaginal pessaries are a device which supports the vagina and needs to be changed every 3 to 6 months. They have been proven to be as successful as surgery in relieving prolapse symptoms in some women.
Women undergoing vaginal prolapse surgery can have the operation with local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic. There will be incisions made inside the vagina and the tissue supporting the vagina will be strengthened with stitches. This may be at the front or the back walls of the vagina or both, depending on the type of prolapse you have. The incision inside the vagina is then closed with stitches that will dissolve in 1-2 weeks. An additional stitch may be required at the top of the vagina or into the cervix to support the vagina. This stitch may cause some temporary discomfort which may persist for up to three months. At the end of the operation a catheter will be inserted into the bladder to drain urine and a material pack will be placed in the vagina to prevent bleeding. These will remain in place for one to two days. They will be easily removed by a nurse in the ward.
Most women stay in hospital for three to five days. You can go home once you are feeling well and once you are able to pass urine with no problem. It is important to rest after the operation and allow the area to heal.