Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Urol. 2004 Mar;171(3):1021-8.

Incontinence and voiding difficulties associated with prolapse.

Author information

Urogynecology Unity, St George's Hospital, London, United Kingdom.



Prolapse is the protrusion of a pelvic organ beyond its normal anatomical confines. It represents the failure of fibromuscular supports.


A MEDLINE search was done using the keywords cystocele, uterine prolapse, vault prolapse, enterocele or rectocele in combination with urinary incontinence. We reviewed 97 articles. From this material the definition, classification, incidence, symptoms and evaluation are described.


Prolapse and urinary incontinence often occur concomitantly and cystocele, rectocele, enterocele, uterine descent or vaginal vault prolapse may also be present. The pathophysiology of prolapse encompasses direct and indirect injury, metabolic abnormalities and chronic high intra-abdominal pressure. Anterior vaginal wall prolapse may present as stress incontinence. A large cystocele may cause urethral kinking and overflow incontinence. Uterine descent can cause lower back and sacral pain. Enterocele may cause only vague symptoms of vaginal discomfort. A rectocele can lead to incomplete evacuation of stool. A thorough history and physical examination are the most important means of assessment. A voiding diary helps determine functional bladder capacity. Uroflow examination determines the average and maximum flow rates, and the shape of the curve can help identify Valsalva augmented voiding. Multichannel urodynamics or video-urodynamics with prolapse reduced can be important. The advantages of dynamic magnetic resonance imaging include excellent depiction of the soft tissues and pelvic organs, and their fluid content during various degrees of pelvic strain. To our knowledge whether it is cost-effective in this manner has not been determined.


Correction of prolapse must aim to restore vaginal function and any concomitant urinary incontinence.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center