Does a hysterectomy increase my risk for pelvic organ prolapse?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Having a hysterectomy can increase your risk for pelvic organ prolapse. A hysterectomy is the surgical removal of the uterus. This procedure can have a profound effect on the structures that surround the uterus, including other organs, muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments.

A woman who has had a hysterectomy is at particular risk for a prolapsed vagina or small intestine. A prolapsed vagina involves the upper part of the vagina, which is known as the vaginal vault, dropping down into the lower part of the vagina due to a lack of adequate support by muscles and connective tissue. This can only happen if you have had a hysterectomy. An enterocele involves the intestine and abdominal cavity's lining bulging down into the bottom of the pelvic area between the rectum and the vagina.

Dr. Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

Yes, a hysterectomy can increase the risk of pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Often times patients are having a hysterectomy due to uterine prolapse and their uterine prolapse is caused by weakness in the connective tissue holding the cervix and uterus in place. During the hysterectomy it is important for your doctor to resuspend the apex of the vagina to good connective tissue. If this is done correctly, then it should remedy any future problems with pelvic organ prolapse (POP). If this is not done correctly, the hysterectomy can cause a weakness in the apex of the vagina and this weakness in the apex of the vagina can increase the risk of an enterocele in which intestines are bulging through a hernia at the apex of the vagina.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.