Childbirth is an amazing event. For nine months, a woman’s body has undergone incomprehensible changes to bring forth a new human life. However, for many women, healing from pregnancy and birth is difficult. Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) is a common occurrence, and women who have given birth are also more susceptible to a condition called Pelvic Organ Prolapse, or POP.
There are treatments for both of these conditions but it is important that women, and their health care providers, remain educated on the benefits and risks of any surgical procedure that is used.
Stress Urinary Incontinence and Pelvic Organ Prolapse
It is estimated that more than 50 percent of all women have some form of one, or both, of these conditions.
Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI)
SUI occurs when the sphincter surrounding the urethra, and/or the bladder wall, has become weakened. A woman will have difficulty holding back the flow of urine when she needs to urinate. In most cases, she experiences incontinence mild incontinence when she runs, jumps, laughs, or sneezes, or if she waits too long to get to a restroom. This condition can often be corrected by natural treatments, such as daily Kegel exercises. However, in severe cases, reconstructing support for the urethra and/or bladder wall may be necessary.
Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP)
POP occurs when the connective tissues supporting the bladder, uterus, urethra, rectum, and cervix are weakened. If the connective tissues become too weak, these organs can shift and even begin to collapse into the vaginal canal causing discomfort, pain, and/or difficulty with urination and defecation. Treatments for POP are similar to SUI in that they can be as simple as dietary changes or Kegel exercises, or they can involve surgical procedures.
Treatments for POP and SUI After Childbirth
Treatments range from the very simple to the very complex, requiring invasive surgeries to repair the connective tissues and/or the vaginal wall. One popular method for providing support to organs that have shifted, or dropped, is to use transvaginal mesh.
Transvaginal mesh is a synthetic material approved for treatment of SUI and POP. It is used like a hammock to support the bladder, cervix, uterus, and urethra from collapsing or sinking into the vaginal canal. Unfortunately, since its use became widespread, there have been serious complications reported to the FDA. In fact, the FDA issued a serious warning to health care professionals and women who have had Transvaginal mesh implanted. The FDA has yet to issue a mandatory Transvaginal Mesh Recall but the number of women harmed by the mesh is growing.
As many as 10 percent of all women who have undergone a surgery using transvaginal mesh to repair prolapsed, have reported complications. Mesh Lawsuits have been on the rise due to these statistics.
Complications From the Use of Transvaginal Mesh Include:
- Erosion of the mesh into vaginal tissues
- Perforation, or small punctures, of organ tissue
- Pain and discomfort in the vagina or pelvic area
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Difficulties with urination and defecation
Women who have experienced childbirth need to be aware of the preventative measures that can be taken to prevent severe SUI or POP. If surgical procedures are necessary to correct the condition, women may want to solicit alternative methods to the use of transvaginal mesh. Health care professionals can provide a list of alternative surgical treatments, along with their risks and benefits.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.