Question: Should I be worried about how often I get urinary tract infections?
Answer: Frequent urinary infections or an ache in the lower abdomen can be signs of pelvic prolapse. This condition occurs when pelvic muscles and other tissues become weak, and the uterus or other organs “sink” into the vagina. Women who have had a child through the birth canal are twice as likely to have pelvic prolapse.
The problem is more likely to develop in older women. Family history also may be a factor. Other signs of pelvic prolapse include:
Many women with pelvic prolapse also suffer from urinary incontinence. Reduce your risk with the following:
If you think you might have this condition, talk with your doctor about possible treatments. Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding caffeine or losing weight, may resolve the problem.
Other therapies include pelvic strengthening exercises known as Kegels. Find the right muscles by trying to stop the flow of urine when you are sitting on the toilet. Hold for a count of three, relax for a count of three and repeat.
For women with more severe symptoms, a device called a pessary also can be placed to hold the uterus in place. If these treatments don’t help, surgery is also an option.