How can lifestyle changes help improve pelvic organ prolapse?

Dr. Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

The two biggest lifestyle changes that can help improve pelvic organ prolapse (POP) are not smoking and maintaining an ideal body weight. Smoking can cause weakness in connective tissue, as well as cause a chronic cough. These two problems can increase your chances for pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Obesity causes a significant amount of pressure on the pelvic floor and this chronic pressure canlead to tearing in the connective tissue and then pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

Lifestyle changes may help reduce the rate of progression or recurrence of pelvic organ prolapse. Being overweight has been shown to be an independent risk factor for pelvic organ prolapse. Weight loss, as little as 10 percent, has been shown to dramatically help with both urinary stress incontinence and urgency.

Some of the potential symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse can be improved with lifestyle changes, such as dietary changes and weight loss. For example, dietary changes may help if the bladder or bowel is affected. Reducing the amount of fluids you drink and avoiding caffeinated drinks can help if you are dealing with urinary incontinence.

Some changes in daily routine may also help, such as only emptying your bladder at specific times. This is called bladder training and may help with urinary incontinence. If your bowel is affected by the prolapse, eating more foods with high fiber content can help keep bowel movements regular and reduce the need to strain during a bowel movement. Losing weight can help reduce the amount of pressure on the prolapse.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.