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Stretch Marks Linked to Pelvic Relaxation

Finding may provide useful predictor of women who will develop clinical prolapse

MONDAY, July 31 (HealthDay News) -- The tendency to develop stretch marks may help identify women at risk for pelvic relaxation later in life, according to a report in the August issue of the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

Sharon Salter, M.D., of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined self-reported data from 116 urogynecology and skin cancer patients who completed surveys in waiting rooms or exam rooms. The average age was 59.7 years, the average weight was 151.7 pounds and the average number of pregnancies was 2.2. The authors analyzed the data to examine the link between striae and pelvic relaxation.

The researchers found that the overall rate of stretch marks was 46.5 percent. But more than half of the women with pelvic relaxation, or 54.7 percent, reported having stretch marks, while only 25 percent without pelvic relaxation reported having stretch marks.

The authors suggest that in addition to lifestyle actors such as obesity, smoking and caffeine intake, prolapse may also be linked to inherited factors such as the tendency to develop stretch marks.

"There appears to be a strong association between the presence of striae and the development of pelvic relaxation, which is unrelated to conventionally cited risk factors, such as age, weight, number of pregnancies or postmenopausal status," the authors conclude.

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