Progression and remission of pelvic organ prolapse: A longitudinal study of menopausal women

Victoria L. Handa, Elizabeth Garrett, Susan Hendrix, Ellen B Gold, John A Robbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

229 Scopus citations


Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe the natural history of pelvic organ prolapse after menopause. Study design: Over 2 to 8 years, participants in the estrogen plus progestin trial of the Women's Health Initiative at the University of California Davis had annual pelvic examinations, with an assessment of uterine prolapse, cystocele, and rectocele. The findings from these examinations were used to describe the incidence of pelvic organ prolapse, the probability of progression or regression, and the associated risk factors. Results: At baseline, 31.8% of women had pelvic organ prolapse (n = 412 women). The annual incidences of cystocele. rectocele, and uterine prolapse were 9.3, 5.7, and 1.5 cases per 100 women-years, respectively. Incident prolapse was associated with increasing parity and waist circumference. The progression rates for grade 1 pelvic organ prolapse (per 100 women-years) were 9.5 for cystocele, 13.5 for rectocele, and 1.9 for uterine prolapse. The annual rates of regression (per 100 women-years) was 23.5, 22, and 48, respectively. Conclusion: Our data suggest that pelvic organ prolapse is not always chronic and progressive as traditionally thought. Spontaneous regression is common, especially for grade 1 prolapse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-32
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Cystocele
  • Rectocele
  • Uterine prolapse
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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