Urogynaecological conditions: prolapse, bladder and pelvic floor problems


In this resource, you can find out about the experience of people with urogynaecological conditions, such as pelvic organ prolapse, urinary incontinence, bladder function problems, bladder pain, and problems with urinary tract infections.


Urogynaecological conditions and pelvic floor problems

Urogynaecological conditions and pelvic floor problems


Jessy: So yeah because it changed me from being kind of like invincible to be more vulnerable, like a, like I’m feeling, feeling invincible, like yeah I can drink and I can do whatever I want and a sense of freedom and like ah, I can do everything, to now I feel I’m feeling vulnerable like "Oh God".
Mehar: Again it’s isolating, I have to miss out on going out with friends and then I feel quite lonely because my friends go and do things and I can’t do it and then when I am out with my friends I feel like, a, a little bit of a burden because, you know, I don’t want to keep complaining that, ‘Oh I’m in pain and I need to sit down or I need to go find a toilet,’ when I went five minutes ago.

Kerry: He said, “Oh yes, come down to the surgery and we’ll get you booked in,” and they had booked me in with the female GP. And she did a, an internal examination and she said, “yes” and she said, what sort of prolapse it was because at that point I had no idea and what stage it was so I think both of those things were helpful. But once you’ve got some information then you can go away and you can read things and you can look at things.

Sue Y: But I don’t know I just felt almost as though I was being a little bit dismissed. Oh, y'know, it doesn’t look too bad, y'know, you’ll be alright was the sort of attitude. So, I sort of came away thinking, oh well I, I probably will be alright, y'know. But though, of course, it wasn’t until the symptoms carried on that I thought well, actually, no, I’m not alright. 
Jan: I felt that my views were valued and that we were working together to try and seek the best solution we could so that that for me works really well. I don’t want to be just told what to do. I want somebody who’ll talk me through what the options are and what the implications are of the various things that, that we might try.
Jane (spoken by an actor): It’s about humanisation. That’s what we need from healthcare professionals, you know, recognise that this is an intimate, dark, shaming space and that’s not our fault, you know it’s society’s fault, cultures fault, and therefore cross that boundary, come in with us, you know be in that space where, where women want to be talking about difficult stuff, you know.
Jeannie: No-one had said, ‘You know like there’s a problem here, and especially after menopause it might get a lot worse, so in a, be careful what you’re doing in your job, be careful about lifting, be careful, you know what you’re doing in your general life. You know go now to a physiotherapist and get the exercises, and, and get regular check-ups.’ Nobody says it, nobody said a word.
Sharon: You know, I’m, I’m not gonna be fixed in the sense that I thought I was for when I was first diagnosed I was thinking, ‘I need to be fixed’ and now I’m thinking, ‘I’m not fixed but I feel healed and I feel whole again but that’s’ that’s thanks to finding a more holistic approach. 
Elly: It’s like a taboo and maybe the message to the public needs to be that actually, as a society, we need to be much more open to talking about women’s health and things that may feel uncomfortable and embarrassing, but we don’t want it to be uncomfortable and embarrassing for the next generation.  


Our researchers talked to 74 women and non-binary people from across the UK. Find out what people said about issues such as: symptoms; the impacts on emotional wellbeing, quality of life, and relationships; having tests and examinations; managing through lifestyle changes and different treatments; and using healthcare services. These interviews were a snapshot in time of people's experiences.

This resource covers topics that you may find distressing, including emotional challenges and mental health, descriptions of surgery, and experiences of insensitive comments or actions from others.

This project is funded by National Institute for Health and Care Research, (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (Grant Reference Number NIHR202450). The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

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