Prolapse Diet Tips for Losing Weight, Constipation and Gas

Is there such a thing as a prolapse diet? Can your diet affect your prolapse?Prolapse diet

Strictly speaking there’s no ‘prolapse diet’ however what you eat can make your prolapse worse.

Read on to learn:

  1. How to lose abdominal fat for prolapse management
  2. Tips for diet, constipation and prolapse
  3. Dietary information for diarrhoea and prolapse
  4. Diet for abdominal bloating and prolapse

How Prolapse Diet Can Affect Your Pelvic Floor

Your diet can definitely have an impact your prolapse.

  • Diet contributes to abdominal fat – the more abdominal body fat you carry the greater the load on your pelvic floor.
  • Diet influences  bowel movements – constipation and diarrhoea can cause straining to empty and worsen prolapse problems.
  • Diet can cause abdominal bloating, gas and IBS – abdominal bloating, flatulence and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) can cause discomfort and worsen prolapse symptoms.

1. How to Lose Abdominal Fat for Prolapse Management

Your abdominal fat isn’t the fat you feel at your waist line, rather it surrounds your abdominal organs and sits directly above your pelvic floor.

Abdominal fat increases the load on your pelvic floor and your prolapse making your prolapse symptoms worse and increasing your risk of prolapse worsening over time.

This is why avoiding unnecessary weight gain or losing weight if you’re overweight is important if you’ve got prolapse problems and after prolapse surgery.

If you’re overweight you will better manage your prolapse by losing abdominal fat.

Diet to Lose Abdominal Fat With Prolapse Problems

Unfortunately you can’t spot reduce abdominal fat through diet. To lose abdominal fat naturally requires a whole body weight reduction approach.

Here are some simple weight management tips for losing abdominal fat:

  • Avoid fad weight loss diets or products (e.g. some diet shakes) that slow your bowel movements and cause constipation with prolapse

    Australian Guide to Healthy Eating

    Australian Guide to Healthy Eating download from eatforhealth.gov.au

  • Don’t skip meals – eating stimulates bowel movements
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners with the potential to cause flatulence and impact on your bowel movements (see below)
  • Drink adequate water and low energy fluid – your fluid intake effects your bowel movements (see below)
  • Avoid late night snacks before going to bed – your metabolism slows when you sleep
  • Write down what you eat and drink – you may be surprised at what you’re consuming
  • Monitor your incidental food intake – it’s very easy to snack when preparing food for others
  • The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating provides current evidence-based information about the types and amount of foods to reduce the risk of diet-related conditions including obesity and high cholesterol and chronic diseases including some cancers, diabetes and heart disease

Abdominal Weight Loss Exercise and Prolapse

Some women become very concerned that they won’t be unable to exercise to manage their weight with a prolapse.

Fortunately most women with prolapse problems can exercise effectively to manage their weight, avoid weight gain or lose weight.

Studies show that women can exercise to reduce abdominal fat with alternating high and low intensity exercise.

Tips for abdominal weight loss for prolapse:

  • Keep weight management simple i.e. weight management = energy in (diet) – energy used (exercise/physical activity)
  • Calculate your energy in (dietary) requirements using this simple daily energy requirements calculator

The American Heart Association and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend that to lose weight healthy, individuals perform 60 – 90 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most week days to accumulate more than 300 minutes of exercise weekly.

2. Diet and Constipation

Constipation and straining cause and worsen prolapse problems.

If your bowel is sluggish you may be familiar with the feeling of prolapse heaviness and dragging sensation that can accompany constipation.

Women with rectocoele (prolapse of the back wall of the vagina) are particularly vulnerable to constipation.

Solutions for Diet and Constipation With Prolapse Bristol Stool Chart

Aim to get the correct stool consistency as a priority.

It’s vital to aim for a soft well formed stool to help you empty your bowels without straining and worsening prolapse.

The ideal stool consistency for bowel emptying with prolapse problems is Type 3-4 on the Bristol Stool Chart (click right to enlarge)

Diet and Stool Consistency

Foods that soften the stool include:

  • Vegetables – green beans, spinach, red capsicum, garlic, green beans
  • Fresh fruit with skins – stone fruits* (e.g. apricots, peaches, plums) grapes, prunes*
  • High fibre cereals – bran*, multigrain breads* and whole grain cereals*
  • Snacks – popped corn, chocolate
  • Coffee* and tea
  • Spices e.g. chilli, curry

* Can cause abdominal bloating

Avoid the common mistake of consuming too much fibre! Bloating

Eating too much fibre, especially insoluble fibre (e.g. skins of fruits and vegetables, seeds) can make constipation and bloating much worse. This will often make prolapse symptoms worse towards the end of the day too.

Dietary fibre is important for correct stool consistency.

Most women should aim for 25-30 grams ( .8-1 oz) per day.

Fluids and Stool Consistency

Some women don’t drink adequate fluids to help them manage their stool consistency especially when they’re increasing their fibre intake or taking fibre supplements.

Most women should aim for around 2 litres (67 oz) of water on average however this can vary.

Some women with certain medical conditions need to limit their fluid intake and these women need to be mindful to avoid too much fibre causing a sluggish bowel.

Fluids that promote bowel movements include:

  • Water
  • Some fruit juices: pear, prune or grape
  • Coffee* and tea
  • Alcohol*

Have breakfast to help stimulate your bowel. Sometimes a warm drink in the morning and moving can help promote bowel movements.

3. Diet and Chronic Diarrhoea

Women with frequent bowel movements are also at risk of pelvic floor strain and worsening prolapse problems.

If you suffer from chronic diarrhoea or loose stools you may benefit from avoiding or limiting some of the foods and drinks mentioned above that soften the stool.

Foods that firm the stool include: Foods to firm the stool

  • White cereals – white rice, white pasta, white bread
  • Cheese
  • Bananas
  • Tapioca
  • White marshmallows
  • Pretzels

4. Diet and Abdominal Bloating or Gas With Prolapse

Abdominal bloating and/or flatulence can be a huge problem for women with prolapse problems.

Some ladies find that by the end of the day their abdomen is so bloated that it puts strain on their belly and their prolapse causing abdominal pain and pelvic floor dragging and bulging.

Pushing down and straining to pass gas with prolapse can worsen prolapse problems.

Bloating can be caused my many dietary factors; some foods are not well absorbed in the gut so that they ferment producing gas more than others causing abdominal bloating.

Diet Solutions for Bloating and ProlapseLegumes

Some women have IBS problems that cause their gut to poorly digest certain foods causing bloating, excessive gas or wind, pain in the abdomen as well as constipation and/or diarrhoea.

When combined with prolapse IBS can make managing prolapse and discomfort very challenging indeed.

Scientific studies have shown that IBS symptoms can be managed by reducing FODMAPS in the diet.

FODMAPS is an acronym for some of the sugars that aren’t well absorbed in the gut. These sugars produce gas and cause water to be drawn into the gut.

The low FODMAP diet can provide significant relief for women with IBS and prolapse.

Foods HIGH in FODMAPS 

Here are some examples of foods that can cause bloating, flatulence and discomfort:

  • High fructose – honey, apples, figs, dried fruit, high fructose corn syrup
  • Oligosaccharides – legumes (e.g. chick peas, lentils, baked beans), wheat, rye, barley, garlic, onion, leek
  • Disaccharides (lactose) – milk, unripe cheese (e.g. cottage, ricotta), yogurt
  • Polylols – sweeteners containing xylitol, mannitol, sorbitol, pears, stone fruits such as avocado, plums, nectarines, cherries, prunes

This high FODMAPS list is by no means comprehensive. Perhaps if eating some of these foods cause you bloating you may like to read up on FODMAPS.

The only way to really know whether a food or drink is causing your bloating is to eliminate it from your diet and then reintroduce it as a trial.

Resources for FODMAPS including a user-friendly App are available from Monash University.

A low FODMAP diet is ideally undertaken under the supervision of an accredited dietician.

Key Points for Prolapse Diet

  • Your diet definitely has the potential to impact upon your prolapse
  • Prolapse is affected by abdominal body fat, bowel problems (constipation or diarrhoea) and bloating with flatulence
  • Your diet can help you better manage all these factors that potentially impact upon your prolapse
  • Seek the assistance of a qualified dietician as part of your prolapse management strategy if you suffer from diet-related prolapse problems

Please note: bowel problems including constipation, diarrhoea, bloating and IBS can have underlying medical causes. It’s important not to ‘self-diagnose’ bowel problems. See your medical practitioner for assessment of your symptoms and before making changes to your diet. Consult with an accredited dietician for dietary guidance and support.

PROLAPSE EXERCISES BOOK

prolapse exercises

with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist Michelle Kenway

Learn how to exercise safely, strengthen your prolapse and reduce your risk of repeat prolapse.

Prolapse Exercises is a complete exercise guide for women after prolapse surgery seeking to exercise safely and protect their pelvic floor.

READ MORE NOW

 

We Welcome Your Comments

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Comments

  1. Hello, I am desperate for some help and some questions to be answered as I just had a delorme procedure and rectocele done just 4 days ago. (I guess delorme is another term of rectal prolapse)
    The surgery is still fresh for me and it’s understandable that I’m in pain. From your article I definitely need to follow the fodmap diet as I suffer with ibs and a long history of constipation. I need to change my lifestyle, the food I take, fluids intake and exercise too. I’m a bit depressed at the moment cause after a bowel movement I’m in agony. Unfortunately due to covid my mum couldn’t travel to take care of me in this difficult time so it’s my oldest son who’s taking care in preparing my meals, so we’re researching to make sure I eat the appropriate foods and make it easy for my bowels. Just before my procedure a friend of mine introduced to me this superfood a blend of organic greens which contains hemp protein, wheatgrass, barleygrass, pineapple, chiorella and spirulina powders. Apperently is rich in iron, zinc, protein, fiber vitamin E and B12. In the package is adviced to take 10 grams per portion and you can mix with fruit juice or smoothies. My friend said she mixes it with 2 tbs of apple cider vinegar and glass of water and drinks it first thing in the water to promote weight loss too. I was taking it before the op but now I don’t know if it’s good for me after the procedure. I’m just afraid of everything as when I’m due to go toilet I start to have a panic attack due to fear of pain. Could you tell me if this is good for me? If I can still take it first thing in the morning with vinegar since the procedure is still fresh. Sorry for writing too much, I feel like crying I wish someone is here with me guiding me step by step on this nightmare after the procedure as i want to get back to normal as soon as possible. The consultant said getting to normality could take up to 3 months. I want to speed the progress by making the right choices as this could take a Toll on my mental health to be honest. I’m usually a very active person and now I’m not moving from my bed due to fear. I only do trips to the bathroom and back to bed! Please help me Thank you so much for your help in advance

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Jennifer thank you for your message here. It’s very understandable that you feel so frightened to eat/move/empty your bowels at the moment. First and foremost be on top of your pain killers – rectal surgery is very painful. You should be able to walk, this is important for preventing the complications of bed rest and physical debilitation. Eat what you know works well for you Jennifer and don’t have too much fibre at the moment. If you fill yourself with fibre at the moment you make the stool larger and create gas too see this video for more information I assume you’re on medication to keep your stool soft? Many women go onto Movicol or Osmolax post op, especially when taking strong painkillers post op. The other thing that’s important is relaxation. Jennifer try to do some relaxation if you can – soothing music, deep breathing, sit (or lay down) in the sun etc. This will help with pain and your ability to cope as well as promote your ability to get better and heal. You’re not alone Jennifer – there are many women reading your honest post having been through the same thing. All of us who have gone through post op recovery understand and feel for you right now, take it slow, one day or even one minute at a time if need be.

  2. Theresa says

    Thank you Michelle you are a thoroughly decent human being.
    I have been struggling with prolapse for about 23 years after the birth of my first son and finally I had it operated on 9 weeks ago after years of physio intervention. The menopause was the final straw.
    I found your website when googling to see if I could hula hoop post op and all your videos are excellent. You are a very clear teacher and I really appreciate having you in the room with me via the laptop.
    My question is, I need to lose weight. I am a Nordic Walking Instructor so do lots of that…(due to covid not much at moment) but my body is so used to it, it makes little difference. I want to purchase the DVD via streeming which has a program I can watch and join in with but I’m not too sure which one to choose. I bought your prolapse book but I prefer videos to follow.
    Thanks again Michelle. You have been an amazing help.

  3. at 72 just learnt have prolapse your article interesting n learnt a lot. tk u

  4. YOU ARE AMAZING!!!! I am so HAPPY that I ran into your articles!!!! You make everything completely understandable and so informative. The way you format your articles are so concise and helpful. THANK YOU SO MUCH !!!

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      My pleasure and thanks so much for taking the time to comment – glad I can help you Cindy

  5. Can a pelvic prolapse cause abdominal bloating and fullness. I feel fine when i get up in the morning but as the day goes on the symptoms return. Also have lumbar nerve root impingement which i am scheduled to have surgery for. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. Certainly makes me feel anxious

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Irene
      It’s unlikely that your prolapse is causing bloating and fullness. This is more likely to be related to your bowel and the food you’re eating (or drinking) – you may like to read this article on FODMAPS and irritable bowel which can occur or be exacerbated with anxiety. Interestingly bloating and flatulence will probably make your prolapse feel worse at the end of the day especially. Irene also get your doctor to do a routine check up for unexplained bloating and fullness too. All the best for your upcoming surgery

  6. Hi can you please tell me if its ok to do pelvic floor exercise with a prolapse,i had a repair in jan but sadly i prolapse again so waiting for appointment to have it repaired again.i go to slimming world but since my prolapse ive found it very hard to loose weight,please any advice would be good. Thankyou.

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Linda

      Yes pelvic floor exercises are safe to do with prolapse in fact there is evidence to suggest they can reduce prolapse symptoms and improve prolapse support. The important thing is that your using the right technique.

      Michelle

  7. I have complete pelvic floor prolapse bladder, bowel and uterus I have been advised to control it myself can u start me off with advice, I work long hrs would it b wise to take sick leave to get myself onto d right track , I’m a carer in a a house which involves night shifts weekends 15hrs shifts , I am in complete agony feeling full after each bite my gp not much addition I also have diverticulitis disease and sliding hiatus hernia . Karen

  8. Thank you for your reply which was very helpful, I am at present waiting to see a dietician.
    Could you please help me with a delicate question – are there any sexual positions which are not suitable when you have a prolapse, (ie; woman on top). I have a stage one bladder and bowel prolapse, and obviously don’t want this to get any worse. My Husband seems to think that not all positions are safe.

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Glynis

      Yes good question – here’s some good news for you – sexual intercourse (vaginal) will not worsen vaginal prolapse (bladder, uterine, bowel). Some ladies with more advanced stages of prolapse find that intercourse is uncomfortable and can control the depth of penetration better when in side lying position with their back to partner.

      This article on prolapse and sex will give you some more information.

      Let me know if you have any further questions
      Cheers
      Michelle

  9. I have drastically altered my diet since being diagnosed with a prolapse, but still have problems with constipation, I have in the past suffered with IBS, I have a lot of wind and only manage to open my bowels every other day. Is fybogel the answer?I am reluctant to take anything and would rather sort the problem out with diet, but am not having much success – help!

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Glynis

      Have you looked into the FODMAPS diet information on the lower part of this article? It’s great for women with IBS. You can find a list of FODMAP friendly foods easily with a google search. This can help to address the IBS symptoms. Fybogel contains psyllium husks which can cause abdominal bloating and discomfort so be very cautious about the ingredients of these types of products. Movicol is an osmotic laxative that works gently by drawing fluid into the bowels rather than irritating the bowel lining and this might be a more appropriate short-term solution – check with your pharmacist I believe it’s called Osmolax in the US. Maybe consider consulting with a dietician for long-term management.

      Hope this helps
      Michelle

  10. I just got the book and the video; both are excellent.
    Many thanks,
    Robyne from Canada

  11. Good work
    Informative and high value

  12. Mrs Davis says

    Thank you Michelle , since changing my diet my life has turned around . i have played sport all my life and still do at 82 yrs . I have physillium on my breakfast each morning . i now have my confidence back and going on a trip to Europe for 3 weeks with my daughter and two grandchildren . All thanks to finding your advice on the computer,I would like to ask you a couple of questions if you could answer via email , thanks once again.

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Mrs Davis

      That’s great news I am so pleased to hear you feel well enough to travel to Europe! Yes no problem at all – I will email you.

      Best wishes
      Michelle