Pelvic Organ Prolapse: Nonsurgical Treatment

If your pelvic organ prolapse is mild or doesn’t bother you much, or if you have medical conditions that make surgery too risky, nonsurgical treatment may be a good choice. A device (pessary) to wear in your vagina can help ease your symptoms. You may also be given certain exercises (Kegels) to do. And you may need to make some lifestyle changes.

Wearing a pessary

A pessary helps support the prolapsed organ or organs. It is specifically fitted by your healthcare provider. A pessary may ease your symptoms, but it can’t repair prolapse. The pessary must be removed for cleaning. If you can’t do this, you will need to see your healthcare provider regularly. He or she will remove and clean your pessary. If you have questions or concerns about the pessary, be sure to talk with your provider.

Doing Kegels

Kegels are simple exercises that you can do to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. They may ease your symptoms and prevent further prolapse. To do a Kegel, contract your pelvic floor muscles as if to stop the urine stream. (Do this when you’re not urinating.) Ask your healthcare provider how many Kegels to do and how long to hold each one. During your treatment visits, your provider may place a device in your vagina to measure your Kegel contractions. That way, you can find out if you are doing Kegel exercises correctly.

Side view cross section of female pelvis and abdomen showing pelvic floor muscles. Arrows show muscles contracting for Kegel exercise.

Improving your health may ease your symptoms or keep your problem from worsening. You may be asked to:

  • Quit smoking to prevent excessive coughing

  • Adjust medicines that may cause urine leakage

  • Limit fluid intake, if incontinence is a problem. This includes limiting drinks that contain caffeine (a diuretic). Emptying your bladder at scheduled times (bladder training) also may be useful if you have incontinence.

  • Not do any lifting, which puts pressure on pelvic muscles

  • Exercise and eat well to stay at a healthy weight

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Heather Trevino
Online Medical Reviewer: Irina Burd MD PhD
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2020
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