Living with Pelvic Organ Prolapse August 7, 2012Posted by acroanmph in Public Health.
Tags: Kegel exercise, Pelvic floor
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Today I welcome a guest post contributed by DrugWatch.com, an online consumer protection group for those affected by dangerous drugs.
Women diagnosed with Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) may leave their doctor’s office feeling confused.
POP isn’t a subject that is often discussed and unfortunately, many doctors don’t take the time to thoroughly explain what it is.
POP occurs when connective tissues and muscles in the pelvic floor begin to weaken. The organs can begin to shift or drop into the vagina as a woman ages. Organs most commonly affected are the uterus, bladder and rectum. Women can have different medical issues depending on what type of POP they are experiencing.
Symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic Organ Prolapse occurs most frequently in women who have experienced pregnancy and childbirth. Caucasian women run a higher risk of being diagnosed with POP, as do post-menopausal women, smokers, women who are overweight, and any woman who has suffered a pelvic injury in the past. Sometimes the condition is so minor that a woman does not even know she has POP until it is diagnosed by her health practitioner during a pelvic exam.
Symptoms of POP may include:
- Inability to use a tampon anymore
- Pain, discomfort and or dryness during sexual intercourse
- Having to press on the vagina in order to have a bowel movement
- A weakened urine stream
Treatments for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Many doctors agree that unless the side effects are debilitating, women who are asymptomatic or are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms should treat the symptoms naturally and do not need any surgical intervention.
There are several natural treatments for POP which should be sought after before any woman considers surgical intervention. The exception to this is if POP is causing severe symptoms and/or debilitating side effects. Surgical procedures using transvaginal mesh should be scrutinized carefully. These mesh products are labeled a serious health risk by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to high levels of complications.
It is important that all women, especially those who have had children, perform exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. Kegel exercises, or activities like Yoga or Pilates, strengthen the pelvic floor and core muscles. There is also a product called a Vaginal Pessary which is used effectively to treat the side effects of POP.
Women can further decrease their risk by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly. Smokers should quit smoking as soon as possible. Avoiding strenuous activities and heavy lifting can also reverse or prevent symptoms of POP from progressing.
Surgical procedures should be the last option presented to women and only if they have moderate to severe problems related to POP. If surgery is required, women should talk to their doctor about repairing the tissues naturally instead of using synthetic transvaginal mesh. Vaginal mesh has been known to cause serious complications including organ puncture and infection. These complications are so severe that many women have begun to file a vaginal mesh lawsuit against the manufacturers.
Proper treatment of POP will allow women to live a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle, free from the side effects of POP.