Bloating is one possible symptom of a pelvic organ prolapse, but it’s not usually the main one. There are several other prolapse symptoms.
A pelvic organ prolapse occurs when one or more pelvic region organs move out of place and push into the vaginal area. These may include your uterus, bowels, or bladder.
Pelvic organ prolapse is related to a weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. Risk factors may include pregnancy, heavy lifting, and underlying health conditions that put strain on the area.
The prolapse itself can create a bulging effect in the vaginal area, as well as sensations of bloating and other symptoms.
Learn more about abdominal bloating caused by pelvic organ prolapse, including treatment options, possible complications, and other important information you need to know about this condition.
While not all cases of pelvic organ prolapse cause symptoms, some people may experience discomfort as a result of a prolapse. One possible symptom is bloating in the lower abdominal area.
However, rather than fluid buildup, this sensation may be caused by the bulging of pelvic organs related to the prolapse. In fact, a bulge in the vaginal opening is considered the most common symptom of pelvic organ prolapse.
Bloating may also be related to other problems caused by the type of prolapse you have. For example, if you have a rectal prolapse, you might experience constipation and other issues related to bowel movements. Gas can accumulate with constipation, which may then lead to abdominal bloating.
Aside from bloating, you may experience other symptoms and complications based on the type of prolapse. It’s also possible to experience more than one type of prolapse at the same time.
Consider the following, which you may discuss further with a doctor.
Complications of uterine prolapse
A uterine prolapse occurs when your uterus either bulges out or moves downward into the vagina. This can cause:
- the top portion of the vagina to sag down
- feeling or sensation of a bulge in the vagina
- discomfort during sex
Complications of bladder prolapse
Also called an anterior prolapse, this type of prolapse occurs when your bladder pushes up against the front wall of the vaginal area. This can cause:
- frequent urination
- urinary incontinence
- stress incontinence
- a feeling that your bladder doesn’t completely empty after urinating
- urinary tract infection (UTI)
Complications of rectal prolapse
Also known as a bowel or posterior wall prolapse, a rectal prolapse occurs when your bowel pushes forward toward the anus. This may cause:
- soft tissue that pokes out of the anus after bowel movement
- painful bowel movements
- bowel (fecal) incontinence
- bloody or mucus-containing stools
Bloating related to a pelvic organ prolapse may be remedied by treating the underlying condition. Treatment for a prolapse depends on the severity, with mild cases addressed with lifestyle changes, such as:
- pelvic floor exercises
- eating a high fiber diet to prevent constipation
- avoiding lifting heavy objects
- losing weight if a doctor recommends it
Hormone therapy, vaginal pessaries, and surgery may be needed for severe cases of pelvic organ prolapse.
See a doctor if you’re experiencing possible symptoms of a pelvic organ prolapse, including unexplained lumps or bloating. Also, since bloating itself has many causes, you might consider speaking with a doctor if you have chronic bloating.
Get medical help right away if you have severe bloating in addition to one or more of the following:
- unusual vaginal bleeding
- blood in stools
- nausea or vomiting
- unintentional weight loss
Signs and symptoms of a pelvic organ prolapse are individual, and they can also vary between types of prolapse. Below are some common questions about prolapse side effects to consider.
Can a prolapse make you feel ill?
Not everyone with a prolapse experiences symptoms. However, aside from direct symptoms like bulging, it’s also possible to feel ill from other symptoms, such as urinary or bowel movement difficulties.
Frequent UTIs are also possible.
Can a prolapse cause weight gain?
Bloating can make you feel like you’ve gained weight and even change how your clothes fit. However, a prolapse itself involves displacement of one or more pelvic organs and doesn’t usually cause weight gain.
On the flip side, weight gain and obesity are risk factors for pelvic organ prolapse and may also lead to worse symptoms due to excess pressure within the pelvis.
Can a prolapse make you feel tired?
Anecdotally, some people report feeling tired from a pelvic organ prolapse. It’s not clear whether fatigue is a common symptom of this condition or if it may be related to one of the underlying causes of prolapse, such as menopause or a recent surgery.
Can a prolapsed uterus make you look pregnant?
A prolapsed uterus may cause a bulge in your vagina, and it may feel like a small ball is stuck in the area. Bloating can also make your stomach look larger, but a prolapsed uterus itself doesn’t typically make you look like you’re pregnant.
Will walking make a prolapse worse?
Heavy lifting can cause or worsen a prolapse. It’s not clear whether more moderate activities like walking can make a prolapse worse.
You may consider speaking with a doctor about whether you need to avoid more strenuous activities like heavy weightlifting.
Does a prolapse smell?
A pelvic organ prolapse doesn’t smell. Sometimes, a prolapsed organ may increase the risk of a UTI. Aside from frequent urination, a UTI can also cause cloudy-looking and foul-smelling urine.
Since bloating is a common complaint that has a number of underlying causes, it’s not necessarily a sign of a prolapse.
However, if you have other symptoms of prolapse, such as bulging, or have already been diagnosed with a prolapse and are experiencing severe bloating, consider seeing a doctor for next steps.