Pelvic floor strengthening exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, are known to be effective for stress urinary incontinence in women, with cure rates of up to 80%. Now, in the largest trial of its kind, Norwegian researchers have found that pelvic floor strengthening can also improve pelvic organ prolapse and alleviate its symptoms. This condition develops when supporting structures of the pelvic area become lax and allow one or more pelvic organs (bladder, urethra, rectum, or uterus) to protrude into the vagina.
Surgery is the only definitive treatment, but pelvic floor exercises are often recommended to women who have mild symptoms or want to avoid surgery. The Norwegian study concludes that pelvic floor muscle training (PFMT) under the supervision of a physical therapist can not only help prevent the condition from worsening but also correct some of the underlying defects. Results were published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology (August 2010).
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