Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Family History Places Women At Risk Of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Date:
May 2, 2008
Source:
Saint Louis University
Summary:
Pelvic organ prolapse, a common and uncomfortable gynecological condition, runs in families, new research shows. Women with a family member who has had a hernia or prolapse -- two conditions that cause internal organs to protrude through a body opening --are more likely to develop prolapse themselves.

Pelvic organ prolapse -- a tear or weakness in a woman's pelvic floor muscles that allows her internal organs to fall outside the body -- runs in families, a new Saint Louis University study finds.

Women with a family member who has had a hernia or prolapse -- two conditions that cause internal organs to protrude through a body opening --are more likely to develop prolapse themselves, says Mary McLennan, M.D., director of the division of urogynecology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and lead study author.

"If your father has had a hernia and your mother has prolapse, you already have a risk of prolapse and should look at changing the things you can control to reduce your risk," says McLennan, who also is a Saint Louis University urogynecologist.

"Other major risk factors within a woman's control are having children vaginally, being overweight, chronically straining from constipation or doing a lot of lifting."

Prolapse affects more than one in five of all U.S. women and becomes more common as women age, occurring in 30 percent of U.S. women who are over 50. Women who have prolapse feel pressure or a heaviness when they stand. They could have problems emptying the bladder or the sensation of something dangling between their legs.

"It's one of those problems you don't hear a lot about, and you should because it's treatable," McLennan says.

Some women have surgery to resuspend and reposition the uterus, rectum or bladder to keep it inside the body. A more conservative treatment, McLennan says, is placing a plastic device inside the vagina to hold everything up.

Women with a family history of hernia or prolapse were at 1.4 times the risk of prolapse than those without a close relative with the problem.

SLU researchers studied 458 women who came into a gynecologist's office for care. Nearly half had a family member -- a grandparent, parent or sibling -- with a hernia or prolapse. Of these, more than half had prolapse.

Of the women without a relative who had a hernia or prolapse, about 29 percent had prolapse, significantly fewer than those with a direct family connection.

"You can't change your family history," McLennan says, "But there are a number of things you can change to minimize your risk of developing prolapse.

"Women with a family history should not take a job that requires them to do heavy lifting. They should watch their weight. They should avoid becoming constipated so they don't strain during bowel movements," she says.

McLennan found that the risk of prolapse in women with a family history dramatically increases among those who delivered three or more children vaginally. More research is needed on the connection between vaginal deliveries and the effect of family history, she says.

"I think people need to be aware of their family history as it may affect how a young woman thinks of the number of children she will have or how she will deliver them. With the increasing trend -- demand for elective Cesarean section, this may have a role in the decision making process for select patients," McLennan says.

"The study underscores the importance of women knowing their family history (both maternal and paternal) and reporting it to their physician."

The research, published in an early on-line edition of the International Urogynecology Journal, was the first to consider the medical history of male and female family members as a risk factor for prolapse.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Saint Louis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Saint Louis University. "Family History Places Women At Risk Of Pelvic Organ Prolapse." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080430172800.htm>.
Saint Louis University. (2008, May 2). Family History Places Women At Risk Of Pelvic Organ Prolapse. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080430172800.htm
Saint Louis University. "Family History Places Women At Risk Of Pelvic Organ Prolapse." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080430172800.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) South Koreans eat more instant ramen noodles per capita than anywhere else in the world. But American researchers say eating too much may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins