Constipation Very Likely In Women With POP, Study Claims

March 31, 2014

It has long been accepted by medical experts that constipation is among the top risk factors of pelvic floor disorders, particularly pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). It would appear now that this also applies the other way around, which means women with POP and SUI are also exposed to increased risks of suffering constipation, according to a study conducted not too long ago.


With the objective of determining the connection between POP, constipation, and dietary fiber intake in women, a clinical study was conducted by a team of researchers from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. 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 was the hypothesis laid forth by the researchers.


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. A similar questionnaire was also given determine the level of dietary fiber in their diets using 124 food items.


Study Results


It was concluded, after assessing the results, that the risk of getting constipation was higher in women with POP than those without this condition. This risk became even higher for those who were also diagnosed with SUI, which constituted 38 percent of the study group. 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. When taken into account, factors like age, number of childbirths, and estrogen status made no significant difference in the findings.


Study Significance


The significance of the outcome of this study lies in the fact that women are now made aware of the possible complication of constipation should they acquire this common pelvic health condition. This should also encourage them to include in their diet insoluble fiber which has been proven to provide a laxative effect. In addition to this diet change, approaches such as exercises, water intake, and medications may also be observed in the management of constipation.


Avoiding constipation and other complications resulting from POP is perhaps best realized by preventing the development of this pelvic floor disorder. One can make changes in her lifestyle and behavioral practices and she can also engage in exercises that may strengthen her pelvic floor muscles such as the Kegel exercises.


Doing this may prove beneficial to a woman especially considering that this disorder can have a very huge negative impact on a woman’s quality of life. This may even get to the point that surgical options, such as vaginal mesh surgeries, may be recommended, which may only add to the problems. After being implanted with these mesh devices, thousands of women sustained serious injuries. These have compelled injured women to take legal actions for the compensation of their pain and suffering.





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