It has long been acknowledged by medical experts that constipation is among the leading risk factors of pelvic floor disorders, particularly pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Based on a study conducted not too long ago, it would appear this also applies the other way around, which means constipation may develop among women experiencing POP and SUI.
A clinical study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia with the aim of determining the association of POP, constipation, and women’s dietary fiber intake. This was carried out with the hypothesis that women diagnosed with POP are more likely to develop constipation than those without this condition and that this disorder is related to the intake of dietary fiber.
For this study, 90 women who were reporting for their annual gynecological examinations were asked to join. Sixty women who were diagnosed with stage 2 POP composed the study group while the 30 remaining participants were made the control group. Questionnaires designed to assess their POP, SUI, and constipation conditions were completed by all participants. To determine the level of dietary fiber in their diets, a similar questionnaire, which featured 124 food items, was also given.
Outcome of Study
It was concluded, after assessing the results, that the risk of getting constipation was higher in women with POP than those without this condition. Women in the study group who also had SUI, comprising 38 percent, were reported to have even higher risks. The researchers also suggested that the lack of dietary fiber may partly contribute to the increased risk of POP after it was found that those with this condition had lower intake of insoluble fiber. Factors like age, number of childbirths, and estrogen status made no significant differences in the outcome when taken into account.
The outcome of this study is very significant in that it makes women aware of the possible complication of constipation should they develop this common pelvic floor disorder. Women now should be encouraged to include insoluble fiber in their diet for its laxative effect. Aside from this, there are also many ways to manage constipation such as exercises, water intake, and medications.
Perhaps the best thing a woman may do to avoid constipation and other complications resulting from POP is to prevent the development of this pelvic floor disorder in the first place. Making changes in her lifestyle and behavioral practices and engaging in pelvic floor muscle training are examples of ways to achieve this goal.
Especially if we consider that this disorder can have a very huge negative impact on a woman’s quality of life, doing these suggestions may prove very beneficial to a woman. It has been known that this may worsen the problem if surgical options, such as vaginal mesh surgeries, may be required. Serious injuries have been sustained by thousands of women after being implanted with these mesh implants. Due to the numerous injuries suffered by women, a doctor has likened the vaginal mesh to a ticking time bomb.