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4 Tips for Preventing Pelvic Organ Prolapse

4 Tips for Preventing Pelvic Organ Prolapse

It’s always preferable when organs in your body stay where they’re supposed to be, but for millions of women, this isn’t the case. We’re referring to pelvic organ prolapse (POP) — a condition in which organs in your pelvis shift downward

POP affects 40% of women around the world, which makes for some very unfavorable odds. The good news is that there are steps that you can take to prevent pelvic organ prolapse.

As experts in this common gynecologic condition, Dr. Fernando Otero and the team here at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley have experience helping women manage pelvic organ prolapse. While there’s much we can do to treat POP, we want to focus on some prevention strategies here.

Pelvic organ prolapse at a glance

Before we dive into best practices for avoiding POP, we want to provide a brief explanation of this common issue.

In most cases, POP describes a condition in which one or more of your pelvic organs shifts downward — pressing into or through your vagina. These organs include your:

The reason behind this downward organ shift is due to weakening support, mainly in your pelvic floor.

Reducing your risks for pelvic organ prolapse

Now let's get into some best practices for preventing POP in the first place.

1. Strengthen your pelvic floor

Since the primary culprit behind POP is a weak pelvic floor, it makes sense that keeping this support structure strong is your best defense. 

Your pelvic floor is a taut band of tissues — mostly muscles — that create a sort of hammock beneath your pelvic organs. Just like you can strengthen other muscles through targeted exercises, you can also strengthen your pelvic floor by doing Kegel exercises. 

Here’s how Kegel exercises work: Whether you’re sitting, standing, or lying down, relax all of your muscles and then tighten only those that you would use to stop a urine stream or to hold back gas. This will activate your pelvic floor. (You can insert a finger into your vagina and feel a squeeze and lift to make sure you’ve isolated the right muscles.)

Now, squeeze these muscles tight about 10 times in a row, fully relaxing in between contractions. As you strengthen, you can practice holding the squeeze for longer periods. You should do these Kegels about three times a day, with 10 repetitions each.

For a more detailed explanation of pelvic floor exercises, click here.

2. Lose weight

If you're carrying too many pounds, you’re placing more pressure on your pelvic floor, which can prematurely weaken the structure. A great way to reduce your risks for POP is to maintain a healthy weight.

3. Quit smoking

There are many reasons why you should quit smoking, and we’re adding POP prevention to the long list. When you smoke, you’re more prone to coughing — and each cough places stress on your pelvic floor.

4. Eat more fiber to avoid constipation

If you have frequent constipation and you’re straining to push out a bowel movement, you could be weakening your pelvic floor. We recommend that you find ways to address your constipation, which usually boils down to drinking enough fluids and eating more high-fiber foods, such as the ones listed here.

Not only do the above tips go a long way toward preventing POP, they are also great techniques for managing the issue should it arise anyway.

If you have more questions about preventing or treating pelvic organ prolapse, please contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to set up an appointment.

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