Collagen and Pelvic Organ Prolapse: The Surprising Connection

Happy woman doing pelvic muscle exercise on mat

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Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a condition that mostly affects women. As a matter of fact, over 50% of women experience some version of POP, with over 12% of women having surgery for it in their lifetimes. Although there are many reasons POP occurs, there is a surprising connection between collagen and pelvic organ prolapse that you'll want to know about.  

Although it's not dangerous, POP is uncomfortable and sometimes painful. Some of the symptoms of POP that you may recognize include urinary incontinence, lower back pain, constipation, and painful intercourse.

In our article, you will learn:

  • What causes pelvic organ prolapse
  • How collagen and pelvic organ prolapse are connected
  • If surgery is an option
  • Collagen supplements that may help you avoid or less POP

Let's get going to learn more about collagen and pelvic organ prolapse.

Collagen and Pelvic Organ Prolapse

As we said before, collagen has a surprising connection to pelvic organ prolapse.

But first, to understand this connection, you must look at what pelvic organ prolapse is and how it occurs inside the human body.

Pelvic organ prolapse happens when the supportive tissue around the organs in your pelvic region becomes weakened.

In a healthy individual, these supportive tissues hold up the organs and keep them in place.

Otherwise, when the tissue becomes weak, the organs sag and press on the urethra, vagina, rectum, and pelvic floor, causing an uncomfortable feeling (heaviness) and pain around the front, back, and underneath side of the pelvis.

In addition to feeling a heaviness in your pelvis that pulls on your lower back, sufferers of POP also can experience:

  • Seeing or feeling a bulge out of the vagina
  • Urinary incontinence and trouble with bowel movements
  • Pelvic pressure and/or an 'achiness'
  • Sexual pain
  • Emotional challenges

Collagen is an important party of the connective tissue that provides structure and strength to support pelvic organs. Specifically, you are dealing with collagen types I and III.

When trying to better understand why POP occurs, a 2019 paper mentions "The structure of collagen fibrils of pelvic organ prolapse patients become loose, disorderly and discontinuous and become stiffer than the control group." 

Many women who suffer from POP have pre-existing collagen deficiencies or disorders that eventually worsened and caused the pelvic floor to weaken.

Add the outstanding amount of pressure on the pelvic floor that happens during childbirth, and the condition can worsen further.

Is Pelvic Organ Prolapse Genetic?

Although many normal risk factors can contribute to pelvic organ prolapse, such as age, parity, vaginal childbirth, and intra-abdominal pressure (i.e., obesity, chronic cough, and constipation), other factors can play a part.

Genetically inherited traits are always a contributing factor, and the medical conditions of your parents can affect the how your health is affected.

For example, a recent study  shows that women who have a family history of pelvic organ prolapse are more likely to develop it themselves. Also, hereditary connective tissue disorders show a direct link to prolapses..

The connective tissue disorders that some women inherit are what links collagen and pelvic organ prolapse since collagen is the fiber that provides cushioning inside those connective tissues.

With a collagen deficiency, the connective tissues in someone’s body lack support and end up leading to problems like pelvic organ prolapse.

There a few different versions of scientific studies you can look at that demonstrate the connection between genetic collagen disorders and pelvic organ prolapse.

One study, which you can read about in the US National Library of Medicine, compared the prevalence of various collagen-associated disorders (like pelvic organ prolapse) in patients with POP, those who do not have POP, and their first and second-degree family members.

The conclusions of this study showed that women with POP are more likely to have first and second-degree family members with the same condition.

This conclusion tells you that genetic traits are proably a strong factor when it comes to collagen and pelvic organ prolapse.

Supplements and Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Collagen supplements can be very beneficial for hair, skin, and nails, but they might also be a wonderful at-home remedy for holding off or avoiding further pelvic organ prolapse.

Although most supplements will never fully take the pain or prolapse away, especially in severe circumstances, it can still help hold off POP worsening. 

It may also be good to add more collagen to your diet if you know that POP happens within your family.

Try out one of these collagen supplements:

What Is the Recovery Time for POP Surgery?

Pelvic organ prolapse surgery is an option to manage this condition, but it's not always necessary.

After you consult with your doctor, they may prescribe other options before surgery, such as:

  • Pessary
  • Pelvic floor muscle therapy and Kegel exercises
  • Change in lifestyle (for less coughing) and eating habits (reduce constipation)

If you do choose to undergo surgery, or your doctor recommends it, your recovery will take about 2 to 6 weeks depending on the type and amount of surgery you require.

If your POP is not severe and the pain is only slightly unmanageable, then stick with collagen supplements and the recommendations of your doctor.

To learn more about what collagen is, read The Secret Of What Collagen Is Made Of for a more in-depth explanation.

Remember to listen to your body and do not put off a doctor visit because you think you can push through it; there are non-invasive remedies to help.


Although more research is needed, there is information that shows there's a connection between collagen and pelvic organ prolapse.  

Along with contributing factors like childbirth (especially for a baby over 8 lbs), weight, excessive coughing, exercise, and diet, you may also be more likely to experience POP because it's in your family.

You'll want to make sure you eat a healthy diet full of foods that help generate and protect collagen and/or add collagen supplements to your daily routine. 

Along with other approaches your doctor may suggest, including surgery, adding more collagen to your body may help hold off the effects or start of pelvic organ prolapse.