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Prevention and treatment of pelvic organ prolapse

Lifestyle is key for women

Women who have experienced the discomfort of pelvic organ prolapse want to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

Pelvic organ prolapse is a condition characterized by the dropping of the pelvic organs, such as the bladder, uterus, and vaginal walls, and is caused by the loss of normal support of the vagina. Up to 50 percent of women who have given birth will be diagnosed with some degree of pelvic organ prolapse. Common symptoms include a feeling of pressure or fullness in the vaginal or pelvic area, urinary and fecal incontinence, vaginal bleeding, difficulty with bowel movements, and painful sex.

Obesity, constipation, smoking, and a history of heavy lifting are associated with an increased risk of pelvic prolapse. To reduce the risk of prolapse and maintain overall reproductive wellness, women should consider the following actions:

• Quit smoking. Studies have shown smoking increases the chances of prolapse as well as recurrence after surgery.

• Maintain a healthy weight.

• Seek treatment for conditions that strain the pelvic floor.

• Avoid heavy lifting and repetitive strenuous activities.

Robotic surgery has many effective applications, including minimally invasive management of pelvic organ prolapse. However, surgery only partially treats the problem and an evidence-based approach is needed for optimal results.

The team at UK HealthCare Women’s Health emphasizes the importance of delivering individualized care, acknowledging not every procedure or technology achieves the best outcome for every patient. Any woman experiencing symptoms of pelvic prolapse should consult her gynecologist about a comprehensive approach to treatment.

Dr. Rudy Tovar from the July 2016 issue

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