Should asymptomatic anterior pelvic organ prolapse be corrected to treat irritative urinary symptoms?

Curr Urol Rep. 2010 Sep;11(5):338-42. doi: 10.1007/s11934-010-0125-5.


In clinical practice, women seen with pelvic organ prolapse (POP) often present with a variety of pelvic floor symptoms: urinary incontinence, irritative or overactive bladder symptoms, fecal urgency or incontinence, obstructive voiding, sexual disorders, pelvic and perineal pain, and vaginal bulging. Among these, the only symptom reliably associated with clinically relevant POP that will resolve following vaginal reconstructive surgery is the visualization and/or sensation of a vaginal bulge. Most other symptoms often attributed to POP at best have only weak correlations with worsening pelvic anatomical support. Specifically, with respect to the anterior and/or apical vaginal compartment, there does not appear to be a correlation between irritative overactive bladder symptoms and the presence or degree of anterior vaginal wall prolapse. Furthermore, no other symptoms, urinary or otherwise, are reliably influenced by correction of anatomical defects of pelvic support, especially in the otherwise asymptomatic patient with POP without vaginal bulge. A review of the recent literature underscores the realization that the relationship between pelvic floor symptoms and anatomy is incompletely and poorly understood. With this in mind, there does not seem to be any absolute justification for the surgical correction of otherwise asymptomatic pelvic support defects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / complications*
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / epidemiology*
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / etiology
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / surgery*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Urination Disorders / complications*
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects