OBJECTIVE: To investigate perceptions of vaginal prolapse and healthcare-seeking behavior in women prior to gynecological surgery. DESIGN: Prospective, cross-sectional study using a web-based questionnaire. SETTING: Clinics including patients in the Swedish National Register for Gynecological Surgery (Gynop-register). POPULATION: 214 women with vaginal prolapse and 347 women without prolapse as reference patients. METHODS: A questionnaire was developed for assessment of women's perception of prolapse and their healthcare-seeking behavior. Data were collected through the Gynop-register. For comparisons between the study groups, Student's t-test and the chi-squared test were used. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Perceptions of prolapse, healthcare-seeking behavior, and source of information. RESULTS: The most common definition of prolapse reported by the women was presence of a vaginal bulge. Reasons for seeking healthcare were interference with physical activity and increasing symptoms. One in five women with prolapse could not relate the symptoms to prolapse. Participants in the prolapse group gained less information on their own condition from brochures and public media compared to participants in the reference group (p<0.001). CONCLUSION: There appeared to be a lack of information on pelvic organ prolapse in the public domain. Healthcare professionals have a significant role to play in informing women about symptoms related to the condition and the available treatment options.