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Incontinence & Overactive Bladder Health Center

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Pelvic Organ Prolapse - What Increases Your Risk

Pelvic organ prolapse is often related to stretching and pressure during labor and childbirth. This can occur when a woman delivers a large baby [over 9 lb (4 kg)] or when she has a long, difficult labor and delivery. Pelvic organ prolapse most often appears during menopause, as pelvic tissues damaged during childbearing age and lose strength.

Other things that may increase the risk for pelvic organ prolapse include:

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  • Obesity. Women who are overweight have increased pressure in the abdomen and have a higher rate of pelvic organ prolapse.
  • Smoking and lung conditions that cause chronic coughing, which increases pressure in the abdomen and pelvis.
  • Constipation. Chronic constipation causes increased pressure from the bowel on the vaginal wall.
  • Certain occupations that require heavy lifting.
  • Pelvic surgery, such as removal of the uterus (hysterectomy). This may damage support for a pelvic organ, which can result in movement of one or more organs within the pelvis.
  • Diseases of the nervous system. Pelvic organ prolapse is more common in women who have multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, or a spinal cord injury than in women who do not have such conditions.
  • Genetic factors. A weakness in the supportive tissue of the pelvis can be passed through families. If your mother or sister has had pelvic organ prolapse, you may be more likely to get it too.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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