Pelvic prolapse occurs when the muscles and ligaments supporting a woman's pelvis weaken and pelvic organs such as the bladder and uterus slip out of place. Childbirth, menopause and hysterectomy are some of the common risk factors for pelvic organ prolapse. Treatment options depend upon the organs involved and surgery may be recommended to treat severe cases. Along with Kegel exercises, certain vitamin and mineral supplements may help prevent pelvic prolapse.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin found in fish, oysters and dairy products. Significant amounts of vitamin D can also be produced by the human body when exposed to sunlight for at least 10 minutes during the day. Individuals with minimal sun exposure and strict vegans and vegetarians may consider taking synthetic vitamin D supplements that can be purchased at most pharmacies without a prescription. However, it is important to follow dosage instructions on the label of the supplements as chronic overuse of the supplements can lead to kidney stones, vomiting and muscle pain.
Vitamin D plays an important role in promoting bone health by helping the body absorb calcium and phosphorus more efficiently. A study published in the April 2010 edition of the "Obstetrics and Gynecology" states that one in four women in the United States have some form of pelvic floor disorder, and higher levels of vitamin D may reduce the risk of conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence.
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that is essential for growth, development, repair and maintenance of several tissues and organs of the body. It also plays a crucial role in the synthesis of collagen which is an essential component of the ligaments that hold the pelvic floor and pelvic organs. Citrus fruits, berries, tomatoes, peppers and green leafy vegetables are good sources of vitamin C, along with synthetic supplements. Upset stomach and diarrhea are the most common side effects associated with vitamin C overdose.
Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the human body. Apart from playing a major role in contraction of the muscles and blood vessels, hormone synthesis and in central nervous system function, calcium also helps strengthen teeth and bone, including pelvic bones. Foods such as dairy products and green leafy vegetables are rich in calcium. You can also use calcium supplements, which are usually well tolerated with minimal side effects.
- "Obstetrics and Gynecology"; Vitamin D and Pelvic Floor Disorders in Women: Results From the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey; Badalian, Samuel S et al; April 2010
- "The Journal of Family Practice"; NEW PERSPECTIVES: A continuum of BONE HEALTH; Lubna Pal; April 2007
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin C