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Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2004 Jan;190(1):27-32.

Progression and remission of pelvic organ prolapse: a longitudinal study of menopausal women.

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Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.



The purpose of this study was to describe the natural history of pelvic organ prolapse after menopause.


Over 2 to 8 years, participants in the estrogen plus progestin trial of the Women's Health Initiative at the University of California Davis had annual pelvic examinations, with an assessment of uterine prolapse, cystocele, and rectocele. The findings from these examinations were used to describe the incidence of pelvic organ prolapse, the probability of progression or regression, and the associated risk factors.


At baseline, 31.8% of women had pelvic organ prolapse (n=412 women). The annual incidences of cystocele, rectocele, and uterine prolapse were 9.3, 5.7, and 1.5 cases per 100 women-years, respectively. Incident prolapse was associated with increasing parity and waist circumference. The progression rates for grade 1 pelvic organ prolapse (per 100 women-years) were 9.5 for cystocele, 13.5 for rectocele, and 1.9 for uterine prolapse. The annual rates of regression (per 100 women-years) was 23.5, 22, and 48, respectively.


Our data suggest that pelvic organ prolapse is not always chronic and progressive as traditionally thought. Spontaneous regression is common, especially for grade 1 prolapse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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