When a woman’s pelvic muscles are weak, she may suffer a pelvic organ or uterine prolapse, when the pelvic organs drop down and protrude into the vagina.
This causes pain in the lower back or abdomen, and pressure in the vagina; in some cases, this condition can even interfere with sexual activity.
While doctors have known for some time that giving birth increases the chance that a woman would develop prolapse, only now are they beginning to determine other factors.
Women who were obese or overweight developed pelvic organ prolapse twice and often as women who were thinner.
Heavy lifting at work also made a difference, with those women also twice as likely to develop pelvic organ prolapse. Heavy lifting and carrying excess weight in the body both cause stress to the muscles of the pelvic floor.
Women who had a history of hemorrhoids, varicose veins, or who had a hernia also had an increased risk. When there was a family history of pelvic organ prolapse, there was an increased risk. Any of these conditions may point to an inherent weakness in the muscles of the pelvic floor.
The best exercises for strengthening the pelvic floor are Kegel exercises. All women, whether or not they are at risk for pelvic organ prolapse, should perform Kegel exercises to maintain pelvic health.