Depending on the severity of your condition, these self-care measures may provide the symptom 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.
Oct. 16, 2014
- Lentz GM, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed July 30, 2014.
- Park AJ, et al. Clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and nonsurgical management of posterior vaginal defects. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 30, 2014.
- Rogers RG, et al. An overview of the epidemiology, risk factors, clinical manifestations, and management of pelvic organ prolapse in women. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 30, 2014.
- Hoffman BL, et al. Williams Gynecology. 2nd ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/book.aspx?bookId=399. Accessed Aug. 4, 2014.
- Culligan PJ. Nonsurgical management of pelvic organ prolapse. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2012;119:852.
- Hagen S, et al. Conservative management of pelvic organ prolapse. Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Reproductive Medicine. 2012;22:118.
- Lightner DJ (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 15, 2012.
- Cook AJ. Decision Support System. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 29, 2014.
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