Hot off the press…

… from the recent International Urogynaecology Association meeting in Brisbane comes some important health information for women: having a vaginal prolapse puts you at increased risk of low bone density or osteoporosis.

Two separate studies were reported – one an Australian study by Professor Pauline Chiarelli, and one a Japanese study by Abe and colleagues. They both had similar findings – that women with prolapse were more likely to have osteoporosis as well. However, they had quite different theories about why this would be the case.

Abe and colleagues proposed the possibility it could be to do with a change in collagen type (one of the proteins that makes up connective tissue, which is involved in both bone and pelvic organ support). They also highlighted a possible role of declining oestrogen impacting on both bone and the pelvic floor.

Chiarelli put forward the idea that osteoporosis could be related to prolapse in the following way: the reduction in height caused by osteoporosis could potentially put pressure on the pelvic organs, promoting prolapse.

Whatever the mechanism, it seems clear that vaginal prolapse and osteoporosis are linked. What can we get out of this? Keep active – this helps keep your bones strong and keeps your muscles going, which is important for both these conditions. If you know you have prolapse, consider getting your bone density checked, especially if you are approaching menopause. If you have low bone density, or a family history of osteoporosis, have your pelvic floor assessed by a pelvic floor physiotherapist and get onto a program to keep it healthy!

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