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Protrusion of an internal organ out of its normal place, usually of the rectum or uterus outside the body when supporting muscles weaken. The membrane lining the rectum can push out through the anus, most often in old people with constipation who strain during defecation. Chronic rectal prolapse requires surgical repair. The uterus may prolapse into the vagina after gravity adds to weakness from childbirth injuries. Temporary supports and pelvic exercises can relieve mild uterine prolapse, but severe prolapse may require hysterectomy.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on prolapse, visit Britannica.com.