Five Ways to Fight Uterine Prolapse and Stress Incontinence Before Menopause
Menopause is no picnic. It’s riddled with hot flashes, depression and vaginal dryness, among other symptoms.
But for some women, the symptoms don’t stop there. Some women experience uterine prolapse – a condition in which the uterus slips down into the vagina – and a weak bladder, also known as stress incontinence.
While menopause is inevitable, uterine prolapse and stress incontinence don’t have to be. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce your chance of developing these conditions.
Dr. Veronica Socas, MD, urogynecologist at Bradenton Women’s Care, offers these five ways you can fight uterine prolapse and urinary stress incontinence before they start.
Maintain a healthy weight
Your pelvic muscles, also called your pelvic floor, quite literally do a lot of heavy lifting. Think of them as a bowl of muscles that support a number of organs, including your uterus and bladder.
They don’t need any additional stress from excess body weight. Obese women have a 40 to 75 percent increased risk of pelvic organ prolapse, reports the American Urogynecologic Society.
Chronic constipation is more of a problem than you’d think. Many women just deal with the discomfort, but addressing this issue can have a wider impact on your health. If you’re constipated too often, the constant pushing and straining to bring on a bowel movement can increase your risk of uterine prolapse.
Avoid heavy lifting
When it comes to heavy lifting, less is better. When you lift something heavy, you engage the muscles in your abs. That also means you’re using your pelvic muscles.
Put your Kegels to work
There is a kind of lifting that is acceptable, however. It’s the lifting of your pelvic floor muscles by doing Kegel exercises. These exercises strengthen the muscles that support your bladder, uterus, and large intestine.
While many know about Kegels, few people do the exercises correctly. Far too often, women are contracting their abdominal muscles, which is incorrect.
Dr. Socas offers a surefire way to help patients identify what muscles they should be working.
“Imagine you’re in an elevator and there are other people in there, and gas is about to come out. You don’t want the gas to come out, so you hold back. Those are the muscles you need to be contracting,” explains Dr. Socas.
“Very often women are contracting the wrong muscles. So they’re not really gaining the benefits,” she says.
Get started now
Although you may not be able to completely avoid uterine prolapse or incontinence, taking measures to prevent it now can’t hurt.