Tag Archives: SUI

Signs of Prolapse? Are You At Risk?

2 Jul

Prolapse in women has been associated with many factors. Studies have implicated pregnancy, aging, hormonal status, obesity and weight gain, chronic pulmonary disease and smoking, genetic factors, congenital anatomic factors, connective tissue abnormalities, and acquired neurological abnormalities. However, the strongest relationship exists with childbirth and its effects on the muscular and tissue support structures of the pelvis.

First, let’s review what is really happening anatomically.  Pelvic organ prolapse is defined as the descent of the top of the vagina or cervix and may involve the collapse of the front or back walls of the vagina.  When this support is compromised, compartmental structures, such as the bladder, uterus, or lower intestine, can move out of their proper position and even protrude from the body’s outlet in later stages.  Hence, the term “fallen bladder.”  There’s a feeling of perineal pressure, sometimes back pain, and urine retention if the bladder outlet is blocked.

 I like to think of our female pelvic organs as the solar system.  Each organ has its place relative to the other organs and structures.  Collagen and connective tissue help to keep them in orbit.  If one planet were to suddenly disappear or shift its orbit, a corresponding shift in positions of the remaining planets would likely occur.  So it is with organs of a woman’s pelvis.

Certain factors can throw those planets out of orbit.  Although there’s much more for us to learn from future research, how can you best protect yourself against the risk of experiencing prolapse – or allowing mild prolapse to worsen –  based on what we do know?

  • Follow a faithful, lifelong routine of doing pelvic floor muscle exercises, both short and long contractions, before, during, and after pregnancy.
  • If you’re carrying excess weight, lose it.  If you’re at your ideal weight, maintain it.
  • Avoid heavy lifting.
  •  Engage in regular exercise that minimizes the downward forces of gravity, e.g., swimming over gymnastics
  •  If you have a chronic cough, seek treatment for it.  If you smoke tobacco, stop. Eat a high fiber, low fat diet and stay hydrated to avoid constipation.

Find out more, including treatment intervention, visit our web site www.nafc.org or call us at 1.800.BLADDER