Uterine prolapse is more common than you think, affecting many women around the world at some stage of their life. Many women, when diagnosed with a prolapsed uterus, ask themselves why. To understand the likely risk factors and why it happens at all, read on for the common causes of prolapse.
Childbirth is the most common cause of a uterine prolapse. Although it’s a common myth that the more children you have, the more likely you are to be affected, a uterine prolapse can occur as a result of just one birth. A long, difficult labour could be the cause, as the muscles in your uterus can weaken as a result. That being said, a normal, uncomplicated labour can still cause a uterine prolapse.
The other major factor and cause of a prolapse is simple: ageing. This can occur both in women who have, and haven’t, had children. Like everywhere in your body, the muscles that hold your uterus up can weaken over time and cause some or all of it to prolapse.
Pressure in the abdomen
Although less common than the above two causes, sometimes a uterine prolapse is a result of a medical condition that has caused undue pressure in the abdominal area. This may be a serious cough as a result of bronchitis or asthma, or as the result of straining from constipation.
From pelvic surgery/trauma
For some women, uterine prolapses occur because of trauma caused from previous surgery in the pelvic area, which has led to a weakening of muscle support.
In some cases, lifestyle can increase the likelihood of uterine prolapses. This includes being overweight or obese, which can cause a strain to the muscles, as well as smoking, which can reduce a person’s overall health and thereby muscle strength. Another lifestyle factor also includes weightlifting, whether this is as result of a job with heavy lifting, or women who are professional or amateur weight lifters.
It’s worth remembering that uterine prolapses can still occur in women without any of the above risk factors.