Vaginal laxity: what does this symptom mean?

Int Urogynecol J. 2018 May;29(5):723-728. doi: 10.1007/s00192-017-3426-0. Epub 2017 Jul 31.


Introduction and hypothesis: Vaginal laxity is a poorly understood symptom of pelvic floor dysfunction. The purpose of this study was to investigate associations between the symptom of vaginal laxity and its bother on the one hand, and demographic data, other symptoms, and findings on examination on the other hand.

Methods: This was a retrospective observational study at a tertiary urogynecological unit. A total of 337 patients were seen for a standardized interview, clinical examination (ICS POP-Q) and 4D translabial ultrasonography. Stored imaging data were analyzed offline to evaluate functional pelvic floor anatomy and investigate associations with symptoms and other findings.

Results: Of the 337 women seen during the study period, 13 were excluded due to missing data, leaving 324. Vaginal laxity was reported by 24% with a mean bother of 5.7. In a univariate analysis, this symptom was associated with younger age, vaginal parity, POP symptoms and bother, clinically and sonographically determined POP and hiatal area on Valsalva maneuver.

Conclusions: Vaginal laxity or 'looseness' is common in our urogynecology service at a prevalence of 24%. The associated bother is almost as high as the bother associated with conventional prolapse symptoms. It is associated with younger age, vaginal parity, symptoms of prolapse, prolapse bother and objective prolapse on POP-Q examination and imaging, suggesting that vaginal laxity may be considered a symptom of prolapse. The strongest associations were found with gh + pb and hiatal area on Valsalva maneuver, suggesting that vaginal laxity is a manifestation of levator ani hyperdistensibility.

Keywords: 3D ultrasonography; Pelvic floor ultrasonography; Pelvic organ prolapse; Vaginal laxity; Vaginal looseness.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Austria
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pelvic Floor / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography / methods*
  • Vagina / diagnostic imaging*