Your Pelvic Health & Incontinence
The burden of stress urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse (e.g. “dropped bladder or uterus”), and anorectal diseases (e.g. gas leakage) are common problems that many women suffer from daily. General risk factors for prolapse and incontinence include: pregnancy, family history, obesity, genetic factors, congenital anatomic factors, connective tissue abnormalities, menopause, pulmonary disease, smoking, and chronic diseases.
Minimizing Risk Factors for Prolapse and Incontinence
Below are some suggested methods to potentially diminish your risk for prolapse and incontinence.
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises
- Pelvic floor muscle exercises are often performed incorrectly due to a lack of proper education and direct training. Patients may not receive the benefit the exercise potentially offers when done incorrectly. Talk with your doctor and confirm you are using the right muscles the right way so this exercise can help you.
- Work to lose excess weight. If you’re at your ideal weight, work to maintain it.
- Excessive Straining
- Avoid heavy lifting.
- Focus on exercises that minimize the downward forces of gravity, e.g., swimming over gymnastics.
- Pulmonary Disease
- Quit smoking – it is a known irritant to the bladder and a primary cause of bladder cancer. If you have a chronic cough, seek treatment for it.
- Eat a high-fiber, low-fat diet and stay hydrated to avoid constipation.