Small bowel prolapse (enterocele)

Small bowel prolapse, also called enterocele (EN-tur-o-seel), occurs when the small intestine (small bowel) descends into the lower pelvic cavity and pushes at the top part of the vagina, creating a bulge. The word "prolapse" means to slip or fall out of place.

Childbirth, aging and other processes that put pressure on your pelvic floor may weaken the muscles and ligaments that support pelvic organs, making small bowel prolapse more likely to occur.

To manage small bowel prolapse, self-care measures and other nonsurgical options are often effective. In severe cases, you may need surgical repair.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Prevention

Mild small bowel prolapse may produce no signs or symptoms. However, if you have significant prolapse, you might experience:

  • A pulling sensation in your pelvis that eases when you lie down
  • A feeling of pelvic fullness, pressure or pain
  • Low back pain that eases when you lie down
  • A soft bulge of tissue in your vagina
  • Vaginal discomfort and painful intercourse (dyspareunia)

Many women with small bowel prolapse also experience prolapse of other pelvic organs, such as the bladder, uterus or rectum.

When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you develop signs or symptoms of prolapse that bother you.

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