Your vagina can fall out??? Yep, it’s true; vaginal prolapse is a serious condition that affects far more women than you would think. Around 40% of us will be affected by the time we reach our 60s! Prolapse is uncomfortable and painful, not to mention humiliating. It can cause symptoms like incontinence and affects your enjoyment of sex.
So how can you avoid being one of the 40%? There are a few simple lifestyle changes that will significantly reduce your risk of vaginal prolapse while improving your overall health. Read on to find out the 7 most effective ones…
1 Do your kegels!
With a name like Kegel8, I'm sure you're not surprised that this is our number one recommendation for protecting yourself from symptoms like prolapse. A vaginal prolapse happens when your pelvic floor muscles become too weak to hold everything in. This results in pelvic organs like your uterus and bladder falling down and bulging into your vagina. The best way to stop this from happening is to keep your muscles strong via regular pelvic floor exercises. You can do these manually by making the same movement that you would if you wanted to stop peeing midstream, holding it for 3 seconds and then releasing. Using a Kegel8 Ultra 20 Electronic Pelvic Toner will help you get the most out of kegel exercises by teaching you how to do them correctly, as well as giving you programmes to follow based on the condition you're treating (or preventing!).
2 Breathe deeply
We breathe in and out thousands of times a day without thinking. That's why it may surprise you to find that it's possible to breathe incorrectly, especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy pelvic floor. When you breathe in and out deeply the air reaches deep down into your lungs. This pushes your diaphragm and internal organs down, gently stretching and contracting your pelvic floor. By ensuring that you breathe deeply you can be making your pelvic floor stronger all day every day! It might sound tricky to change something that you’re not even conscious of, but it is possible if you practise for a few minutes a day. Yoga and meditation can also help, as well as being a great way to relieve stress!
3 Perfect your posture
Everything in your body is connected. It’s important to think about this when you’re doing kegels as bad posture causes weak core muscles and a weak pelvic floor. When you slouch, your tailbone tucks underneath you and causes your pelvic floor muscles to contract and stretch. As well as weakening them through the day, if you do kegels in this position you will strain and damage your muscles! Sitting and standing properly ensures that your core and pelvic floor stay toned and active, reducing incontinence and lowering your risk of vaginal prolapse. If you struggle to sit up straight, we recommend a Kegel8 Pelvic Floor Exercise Wedge Cushion as a way of easing your body into correct posture while your core gets stronger. Get some top tips on posture from our MD Stephanie over at Remember Your Posture! Top Pelvic Tip from Stephanie Taylor #PelvicMafia.
4 Maintain a healthy weight
Carrying excess weight around can cause various health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure. But did you know that it can also cause pelvic floor problems? The heavier you are the more likely you are to have a pelvic floor disorder, with 44% of obese and 57% of morbidly obese women having problems. This is compared to around 33% of women of a healthy weight. Being overweight puts lots of extra strain on your pelvic floor muscles, causing stress incontinence and prolapse. One study found that a 10% weight loss can lead to the pelvic floor muscles becoming up to 50% stronger! Find out more about this in our blog What Difference Can 10% Weight Loss Make? Today's Top Pelvic Tip. If you're trying to improve your pelvic floor, then it’s worth considering some other lifestyle changes. The healthier you get, the stronger you will be!
5 Conquer constipation
If you often find yourself straining to go to the toilet then you're also putting strain on your pelvic floor muscles. This is because your rectal muscles are part of your pelvic floor. In extreme cases this can cause not just vaginal prolapse, but faecal incontinence! There are a couple of things you can do to reduce this risk and enable yourself to go more comfortably. One is to take a look at your diet; make sure you are eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and drinking lots of water. By eating more fibre from foods like beans and wholegrain bread you will make it much easier for you to avoid straining. Our second top tip to reduce constipation is to squat – at Kegel8 we’re big fans of our Go better stool! When you use a toilet stool you’ll be at just the right angle to empty your bowels easily, protecting your pelvic floor.
6 Take vitamin D3
Nutrition is really important for the health of all of your muscles, with vitamin D being particularly vital. Vitamin D deficiency causes weakness and loss of muscle mass. Vaginal prolapse happens when your pelvic floor muscles are weak, so by making sure that you get enough vitamin D you can decrease your risk of developing this condition. Studies have found that women with vitamin D deficiency have a higher risk of incontinence and pelvic floor disorder. We recommend taking a daily supplement such as SunVit D3 20,000 IU Vitamin D3 to protect your pelvic floor and improve the result of your kegels. It will also help you maintain a healthy weight and combat period pain!
7 Choose your exercise carefully
Exercise is one of the most beneficial things you can do for both your physical and mental health. Unfortunately if your pelvic floor is weak there are some forms of exercise that can increase the strain on your muscles. Any kind of high impact exercise like running, weight lifting or contact sports creates a lot of force and pressure in your body, potentially weakening your pelvic floor and causing pelvic organ prolapse. If you don’t want to miss out on the exercise you love you can reduce the stress that exercise has on your body by wearing good footwear and specialist gear like EVB Sport Support Shorts. If you know your pelvic floor is weak or you’ve recently had a baby then it’s best to avoid high impact exercise, at least for now. Good alternatives for maintaining your strength and health include swimming, cycling and yoga.