Can I Prevent POP?

    Currently we don’t know the cause of the prolapse and it is probably caused by a combination of things. Because there are probably different causes, there is no single way to prevent these problems.

    Currently, a woman cannot change her genetic risk, which influences the strength of her connective tissue. However, women can make lifestyle choices to help reduce their risk of developing POP.

    Pelvic Muscle Exercises

    Pelvic muscle exercises (Kegel) strengthen or retrain the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor. Regular daily exercising of the pelvic muscles can improve and even prevent urinary incontinence. This may be particularly helpful for younger women. Though pelvic floor exercises do not correct the prolapse, they may help control symptoms and limit the worsening of prolapse. 

    Over a period of time, you can strengthen your pelvic muscles and potentially decrease your symptoms of urgency or frequency. Go for 4 to 8 sets of 10 squeezes over the course of each day—in several weeks you’ll start to notice a difference. 

    To decrease your risk, make choices, which avoid increasing pressure inside the abdomen and on the pelvic floor. 

    DO

    DON’T

    Maintain a Normal Weight

    • Overweight women are at a significantly increased risk of developing prolapse. 
    • If you are overweight, lose weight. 

    Smoke

    • Smoking increases your risk of POP.
    • If you smoke, quit.

     

    Choose High Fiber and Drink Plenty of Fluids

    • A diet with plenty of fiber and fluids helps to maintain regular bowel function.
    • Constipation increases your risk for POP.

    Strain During Bowel Movements

    • Chronic straining and constipation increases your chance of developing prolapse.
    • This is especially true for  rectocele , rectum or intestines fall (prolapse) into the vagina.

    Exercise Your Body and Pelvic Muscles

    • Physical activity helps maintain normal weight, as well as regular good bowel function.
    • Pelvic floor muscle exercises ( Kegels ) improve the strength of the pelvic floor and limit the likelihood of developing prolapse.

    Perform Repetitive Strenuous Activities

    • Strong muscles are important for general health, especially as you age.
    • However, extreme repetitive activities put a stress on the pelvic area.
    • This increases your risk of UI and pelvic injury.

    Get Your Health Checked

    • Chronic cough increases abdominal and pelvic pressure—see a doctor and get it treated. 
    • Persistent constipation also requires further evaluation and treatment. 

    Use Your Lower Back or Abdomen for Heavy Lifting

    • Learn how to lift safely with your legs.
    • Use your leg and arm muscles as much as possible. 

     

    Sources

    Original publication date: May 2008; Content Update: November 2014

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