Hysterectomy for uterine prolapse

Uterine prolapse may be treated with Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles, estrogen creams, and/or a device used to support the uterus (pessary). However, many women who have uterine prolapse choose to have a hysterectomy. Unless another health problem is present that would require an abdominal incision, vaginal hysterectomy is generally the best approach for treating uterine prolapse.

Pelvic organ prolapse is usually not limited to the uterus, so be sure to discuss with your health professional any other symptoms you may be having. If your health professional finds a cystocele, rectocele, or enterocele during your routine pelvic exam, the problem can be repaired during the hysterectomy.

How effective is it?

Hysterectomy may relieve some but not all of the problems caused by uterine prolapse. Pelvic pain, low back pain, or pain with intercourse (dyspareunia) may persist after surgery. In some cases your symptoms may return following surgery. The success rate is lower if you have had prior pelvic surgery or radiation therapy to the pelvis.

Following a hysterectomy, you may be more likely to develop certain other physical problems, such as weak pelvic muscles and ligaments, which in turn may cause a cystocele, vaginal vault prolapse, or rectocele.

What else should I know?

Hysterectomy is not an appropriate treatment option for uterine prolapse if you are not finished with childbearing.

You can control many of the activities that caused your uterine prolapse or made it worse. After surgery, it is important to avoid smoking, maintain a healthy weight for your height, avoid constipation, and avoid activities that put strain on the lower pelvic muscles, such as heavy lifting or long periods of standing.

Last Updated: August 12, 2008

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