Pelvic Organ Prolapse Prevention Tips

Pelvic Organ Prolapse Prevention Tips

When we refer to the millions of women affected by pelvic organ prolapse, it’s no exaggeration. In fact, it might be an understatement if you consider that about 40% of women will experience some degree of pelvic organ prolapse. And this number is only increasing as the general population ages.

Christopher Serrano, MD, and our team here at Serrano OBGyn thought we’d focus on some prevention tips for this incredibly common condition. In the following, we review a few key steps you can take toward preventing or halting pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

When organs prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition in which certain pelvic organs lose support and begin to shift downward, typically into your vaginal canal. POP can affect a number of different organs, including your:

The side effects of POP vary depending on the organs that are shifting, but range from incontinence to discomfort.

Behind the shift in pelvic organs

Since we’re discussing prevention techniques for POP, we should start with understanding what causes the condition. The main support system for your pelvic organs is your pelvic floor, which is a group of soft tissues (mainly muscles) that form a sort of hammock beneath your pelvic organs, holding them in place. When your pelvic floor malfunctions, support is lost and your pelvic organs can begin to shift downward.

There are many potential reasons your pelvic floor can weaken, such as:

As you can see, there are some items on this list over which you have no control, such as aging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to offset the effects.

Preventing (or managing) POP

Now that we better understand the factors that place you at risk for POP, let’s take a look at prevention and management best practices.

Strengthen your pelvic floor

Far and away, one of the best steps you can take for POP is to ensure your pelvic floor is strong. You can accomplish this through Kegel exercises, and here’s a primer to get you started.

Lose weight

If you’re carrying extra pounds, your pelvic floor may be picking up some of this burden, which can weaken the support. A meta-analysis confirms this, concluding that women who are overweight or obese are more likely to have pelvic organ prolapse than women of normal weight.

Eat fiber

Chronic constipation and straining for bowel movements can weaken your pelvic muscles, so you want to do what you can to make bowel movements go more smoothly, which starts with adding dietary fiber. Whether in your foods or in a supplement, make sure you have a good amount of fiber in your diet if you have problems with constipation.

Get help

POP is progressive, so we want to address your problem as quickly as possible. In the early stages, targeted exercises often work. If, however, your condition progresses, we may need to get more aggressive and use pessaries (small support devices that you insert into your vagina) or even surgery to reposition your organs.

If you’d like a more personalized program for preventing POP or you’d like us to evaluate your risks for the condition, book an appointment online or over the phone with Serrano OBGyn today in San Antonio, Texas.

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