Depending on the severity of your condition, self-care measures may provide the relief you need:
- Perform Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles and support weakened vaginal tissues.
- Avoid constipation by drinking plenty of fluids and eating high-fiber foods, such as whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid heavy lifting.
- Try to control coughing.
- Lose weight if you're overweight or obese.
- Avoid bearing down to move your bowels. Rely on your natural colorectal function to empty your lower bowel.
Kegel exercises strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, which, in part, support the uterus, bladder and bowel. A strong pelvic floor provides better support for your pelvic organs, prevents prolapse from worsening and relieves symptoms associated with pelvic organ prolapse.
To perform Kegel exercises, follow these steps:
- Tighten (contract) your pelvic floor muscles — the muscles you use to stop urinating.
- Hold the contraction for five seconds, then relax for five seconds. (If this is too difficult, start by holding for two seconds and relaxing for three seconds.)
- Work up to holding the contraction for 10 seconds at a time.
- Aim for at least three sets of 10 repetitions each day.
Ask your health care provider for feedback on whether you're using the right muscles. Kegel exercises may be most successful when they're taught by a physical therapist and reinforced with biofeedback. Biofeedback involves using monitoring devices that help ensure you're tightening the proper muscles, with optimal intensity and length of time.
Once you've learned the proper method, you can do Kegel exercises discreetly just about anytime, whether you're sitting at your desk or relaxing on the couch.
Nov. 27, 2012
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- Park AJ, et al. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and nonsurgical management of posterior vaginal defects. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Oct. 30, 2012.
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- Lightner DJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 15, 2012.