Bulge or lump in the vagina
Get help from a health care professional, or talk to your supervisor or care coordinator if:
- the person can't empty their bladder or bowel
- you can see a lump coming out of their vagina.
If a woman you support has a bulge or a lump in her vagina, it can cause problems in passing urine or faeces. If the symptoms get worse, or if you can see the lump outside the vagina, it's important to book an appointment with their general practitioner (GP) or gynaecologist.
How will you know if they have a problem?
When the inside wall of the vagina bulges out, it's called a vaginal prolapse. You may not be able to see it unless it's big. A doctor usually diagnoses smaller prolapses.
What should you do if you see a bulge outside the vagina?
If the bulge or lump is new:
- lie the woman down - this may help the lump to go back into the vagina.
- check that they have been able to empty their bladder and bowel. If not, and they have pain in their bladder or lower stomach, they need to see their GP or go to the hospital emergency department.
- check their care plan or ask the woman, their family or other support workers if they have a pessary in place. Pessaries are removable devices put into the vagina to stop prolapses bulging out. Pessaries can sometimes fall out without anyone noticing. If the person has had a pessary put in but you can see a bulge, a GP, a continence nurse advisor or women's health physiotherapist will need to check it.
How should you support someone with a prolapse?
If the woman you support has a prolapse:
- Make sure their underwear fits well and is made of cotton. If the lump bulges right outside the vagina, it can rub on their underwear causing pain and bleeding.
- When helping the person wash or go to the toilet, check whether the prolapse is getting bigger or if the skin is broken or bleeding. If so, they should see their GP, a nurse practitioner or continence nurse advisor.
- Use wet wipes rather than toilet paper after using the toilet. Pat rather than rub the skin dry. This protects the sensitive skin of the prolapse.
- Check the person's care plan to see if there is any other care suggested for the prolapse.
Need more help? Call the National Continence Helpline on 18OO 33 OO 66 and talk to a continence nurse advisor.