5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Urogynecologic Health Issues [Infographic]

March 2019

Healthy lifestyle habits that can help prevent incontinence, organ prolapse, and more.

If you’re worried about experiencing urogynecologic health issues, you’re not alone. Many women experience problems like urinary or fecal incontinence and pelvic floor disorders resulting from vaginal childbirth, genetics, or other factors. While you may not be able to eliminate your risk entirely, you can reduce it through lifestyle habits like these:

  1. Do Kegel exercises
  2. Avoid prolonged heavy lifting and chronic straining
  3. Eat a high-fiber diet
  4. Reduce alcohol use
  5. Don’t smoke

For more on the ways you can reduce your risk of urogynecologic health issues down the road see below:

Kegel exercises can help prevent urogynecologic health issues.

  1. Do Kegel exercises

​​To help prevent urinary incontinence and pelvic floor issues, you can help strengthen your pelvic floor with Kegel exercises. First, find your pelvic floor muscles by stopping your urination flow mid-stream or by placing your fingers in your vagina and squeezing. That sensation of tightening and lifting muscles in your pelvic region – without holding your breath or flexing other muscles in your thighs, abs or glutes – is an exercise you can perform daily. Once you know where your pelvic muscles are, one of the benefits of Kegels is that you can do them anywhere, even while working, watching TV, traveling, and more. Don’t do Kegels routinely during urination as this can lead to urine retention.

Learn more about how to strengthen your pelvic floor at home using Kegels and other exercises here.

  1. Avoid prolonged heavy lifting and chronic straining

Prolonged heavy lifting and chronic straining during bowel movements or coughing can also increase your risk of urogynecologic health issues, so it’s best to limit or avoid them. If you regularly experience hard stools or constipation, talk to your doctor about safe ways to get your digestive tract moving again. Lifestyle habits that can help include staying hydrated, limiting high-fat foods, opting for lean meats, taking probiotics, managing stress, and incorporating more fiber, as described in our next tip.

  1. Eat more fiber

Fiber can help keep your digestion regular, which is crucial for your digestive system and the other organs it affects. A high-fiber diet can help prevent fecal incontinence by encouraging healthy bowel activity free of chronic constipation, straining, and diarrhea. But fiber is also good in other ways: for instance, it helps you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. High-fiber foods to consider incorporating into your diet include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lentils, and beans.

  1. Reduce alcohol use

Excess alcohol use can cause estrogen levels to rise, which can increase your risk of urogynecologic health issues. To help keep your urogynecologic – and overall health – in check, experts recommend drinking no more than one drink per day if you choose to consume alcohol.  

  1. Don’t smoke

Unlike alcohol, there’s no safe amount of smoking. When it comes to preventing urogynecologic health issues, smoking can lead to a chronic cough that puts stress on pelvic floor muscles and increases your risk of pelvic organ prolapse. Learn how to quit smoking here.

These lifestyle habits can help prevent some urogynecologic health issues that can affect your daily life. However, symptoms can still appear. If you’re concerned about your symptoms, schedule an appointment with a board-certified urogynecologist to discuss treatments including medications, lifestyle modifications, and minimally invasive surgery today. Request an appointment online or call 920.885.6090.

Learn urogynecology definitions of common terms before your doctor’s appointment here.

This is a public forum, by which BDWH provides general information to patients and prospective patients. You should not post any personal or identifying information on this Blog. The information that appears on this Blog does not constitute medical advice and is not a substitute for a consultation with a Healthcare Professional.

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