Prolapse Affects 1 in 3 Women:
A staggering one in three women will experience some form of pelvic organ prolapse in their lifetime. This could be you, your mother, best friend, sister, neighbour- or you could all have experienced a prolapse. So, why do they happen, how do you know if it’s happened to you, and what can we do about it? Let’s dive right in!
A prolapse is a condition where an organ or tissue in the body falls or slips out of its normal position. Prolapses can occur in different parts of the body, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum, and can cause discomfort, pain, and other symptoms. While prolapses can occur for a variety of reasons, one common contributing factor is excessive weight or obesity. In this blog, we'll explore the link between prolapses and weight, and discuss how weight loss can help to prevent and treat prolapse.
Did you know?
-Obesity is a significant risk factor for prolapse. Women with a BMI over 30 are at a higher risk for prolapse than women with a BMI under 25.
-Prolapse is more common in older women. About 50% of women over the age of 50 have some form of pelvic organ prolapse.
-The risk of prolapse increases after childbirth. Women who have had vaginal deliveries are more likely to develop prolapse than women who have had only cesarean deliveries.
-Women who smoke are at a higher risk for prolapse than women who do not smoke. This is thought to be because smoking can cause coughing, which can put strain on the pelvic floor muscles
-Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegels, can help to prevent and treat prolapse. Research has shown that women who perform pelvic floor exercises are less likely to develop prolapse than women who do not.
-Women with a family history of prolapse are more likely to develop prolapse themselves. This suggests that genetics may play a role in the development of prolapse.
As we’ve touched on above, there are many factors that can contribute to the development of prolapse, including pregnancy and childbirth, menopause, aging, and genetics. However, one of the most common causes of prolapse is excess weight or obesity. This is because carrying excess weight puts extra pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, which can weaken over time and lead to prolapse.
When the pelvic floor muscles are weak, they are less able to support the organs in the pelvis, such as the bladder, uterus, and rectum. This can cause these organs to slip out of position, leading to a prolapse. In addition, excess weight can increase the likelihood of other contributing factors, such as chronic constipation or coughing, which can further strain the pelvic floor muscles and increase the risk of prolapse.
How to know if you have a Prolapse:
Prolapse can have a significant impact on a woman's quality of life. Women with prolapse may experience discomfort, pain, and embarrassment, and may have difficulty with daily activities such as exercise and sexual activity. There are different types of prolapse, including bladder prolapse, uterine prolapse, and rectal prolapse. Each type of prolapse has its own symptoms and treatment options.
The symptoms of a prolapse can vary depending on the type of prolapse and its severity. However, in general, a prolapse can look and feel like:
-A bulge or lump in the vagina or rectum: A prolapse can cause an organ or tissue to slip out of its normal position and protrude into the vagina or rectum. This can create a visible bulge or lump that you can see or feel.
-A feeling of pressure or heaviness in the pelvis: Prolapse can cause a sensation of pressure or heaviness in the pelvis, which may worsen as the day goes on or after standing or physical activity.
-Difficulty with bowel movements or urination: A prolapse can cause difficulty with bowel movements or urination. You may feel like you cannot completely empty your bladder or bowel, or you may experience urinary leakage or bowel incontinence.
-Pain or discomfort during sex: Depending on the location and severity of the prolapse, you may experience pain or discomfort during sex.
-Back pain or discomfort: Prolapse can also cause back pain or discomfort, especially if the prolapse is putting pressure on nerves in the lower back.
-If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to speak with your healthcare provider. They can perform a physical exam to determine if you have a prolapse and recommend treatment options based on the severity and location of the prolapse.
Treating Prolapse with Weight Loss
If you are experiencing prolapse symptoms, such as a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the pelvic area, pain during sex, or difficulty controlling your bladder or bowel movements, it's important to seek medical attention. Your healthcare provider can perform a physical exam and recommend treatment options based on the severity of your prolapse. The best and most common treatment (and prevention) for prolapse is….
One potential treatment option for prolapse is weight loss. Losing weight can help to relieve pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, reducing the risk of prolapse and potentially improving existing symptoms. In addition, weight loss can help to address other contributing factors to prolapse, such as chronic constipation or coughing.
To achieve weight loss, it's important to focus on making sustainable lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise. Eating a balanced diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help to support weight loss and provide the body with the nutrients it needs to maintain optimal health. Regular exercise, such as walking, swimming, or yoga, can also help to promote weight loss and improve overall fitness, while also strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. If you are looking for support on your weight-loss journey, you're in the right place! Complete our quick quiz to determine which SBN Detox program is best suited to help you achieve your goals.
In addition to weight loss, there are other treatment options for prolapse, depending on the severity and location of the prolapse. These may include pelvic floor exercises, vaginal pessaries, or surgical intervention (According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about 200,000 women in the United States undergo surgery for pelvic organ prolapse each year).
Prolapses can be uncomfortable and inconvenient, but they don't have to control your life. By understanding the link between weight and prolapse, and taking steps to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, you can reduce your risk of prolapse and improve existing symptoms.