Monday, August 27, 2012

Tips for Living with POP and Menopause

Menopause is a time of transition that can be quite difficult for many women. As the body makes the adjustments that bring the childbearing years to an end, changes in body chemistry and hormone levels can be the source of uncomfortable symptoms. This is also the time that women typically begin to see the first signs of pelvic organ prolapse, a condition that occurs in about half of women who have had children. If you are one of those women who is dealing with the symptoms of both, there are a lot of things that you can do to make living with both POP and menopause easier.
 Exercise can be of benefit in reducing some of the more uncomfortable symptoms of menopause and pelvic organ prolapse. Physical activity can help even out mood swings, relieve stress and lessen the risks of depression, as well as reducing the risk of health conditions that become more prominent at menopause, such as osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease. Since POP is the result of weakness in pelvic floor muscles and connective tissues, pelvic floor exercise has been very effective in reducing symptoms for many women, especially those who suffer urinary incontinence related to POP. Yoga, Pilates and low-impact aerobics yield benefits in pelvic health, as well as overall well-being. Seeing a fitness professional for guidance can help you find the exercise regimen that is best for you.

Weight Management
Maintaining a healthy body weight is a measure that can also help with POP symptoms, since extra weight stresses pelvic floor muscles. Additionally, being overweight can increase some menopause symptoms, such as joint and muscle pain. Extra pounds can also increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Dietary Changes
Changing your diet can help ease the symptoms of menopause and POP. Avoiding certain foods and beverages can reduce hot flashes, such as drinks with caffeine, spicy foods, fried foods and alcohol. Those foods are also irritating to the bladder, making urinary issues that can come with POP worse. Increasing your intake of certain nutrients can help, such as vitamins D and E, magnesium and calcium. These nutrients contribute to muscle health and function, which can support pelvic floor health, as well as supporting the nervous system, which can reduce mood swings. Constipation is a problem common to both menopause and POP, so add plenty of fiber-rich foods to your diet. Foods containing phytoestrogens can smooth the effects of hormone changes, such as soy, dried beans and lentils, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, flaxseed and sunflower seeds.

Severe POP Symptoms
Women who have severe pelvic organ prolapse symptoms that are not helped by exercise and lifestyle changes may need surgery. If surgery has been recommended for you, there are a few things you should know about POP procedures. Using transvaginal mesh implants has become a common means of repairing POP, but procedures that use these devices have caused serious complications in thousands of women. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released safety alerts on mesh implant procedures, citing high numbers of complications that include mesh erosion, protrusion of mesh through vaginal walls, mesh shrinkage, organ perforation and infection. Many mesh manufacturers have participated in transvaginal mesh recalls due to the severity of these complications. So be sure to talk to your doctor about POP procedures that do not use transvaginal mesh.

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