Today’s article comes from Elizabeth Carrollton who writes for Drugwatch.com. The goal of Drugwatch.com is to help consumers who have been affected by dangerous drugs and medical devices. This specific article deals with Pelvic Organ Prolapse or POP as it is commonly called. The Mayo Clinic’s website describes POP as such: “when the muscles and ligaments supporting a woman’s pelvic organs weaken, the pelvic organs can slip out of place (prolapse). Pelvic organ prolapse can worsen over time, and you may need surgery to fix it. There are different types of pelvic organ prolapse. Some women develop pelvic organ prolapse after childbirth, a hysterectomy or menopause”. In layman’s terms, your vagina falls out of your body. Read below to learn more…
Pregnancy and Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pregnancy and childbirth are the most common factors in the diagnosis of pelvic organ prolapse. While this condition is not life-threatening, symptoms can become uncomfortable. Fortunately, a focus on healthy pelvic tissues and muscles can prevent pelvic organ prolapse (POP) from ever getting to that point. Many women with POP are able to treat symptoms using natural treatments without invasive interventions. These same treatments can also be used as preventative measures. The sooner women focus on their pelvic health, the more likely they can prevent or reverse the symptoms of POP.
It’s important for women to do as much as they can to manage the condition naturally because surgical treatments can cause future health risks. Approximately 11% of women who have had surgical treatment for POP using bladder sling products have experienced health complications. Unfortunately, these complications are often irreversible. By preventing the condition, or using conservative treatments to reverse the symptoms, women can work to avoid potentially risky surgical procedures.
Prevent Pelvic Organ Prolapse after Pregnancy and Childbirth
Women can begin to focus on pelvic health before they ever get pregnant. Just like other muscles, the healthier and stronger tissues are the better they are at daily performance, resisting injury, and recovering afterwards. The same is true for a woman’s core and pelvic floor prior to pregnancy. The healthier and stronger these muscles are beforehand, the easier it will be for her to re-tone and strengthen them after the baby is born. The same exercises that are done to prevent POP, such as Kegel exercises, can also be done daily before, during, and after pregnancy to maintain muscle strength and to prevent stress urinary incontinence – a common condition during the third-trimester and after childbirth.
Non-invasive Treatments for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that doctors use non-invasive treatments first for the reversal of POP symptoms. Surgical treatments should only be used in more severe cases of POP or when non-invasive treatments haven’t been – or won’t be – effective.
Non-invasive treatments include:
- Healthy choices. Smoking and obesity are additional factors in developing POP so the more women can do to cease smoking and maintain a healthy weight, the better. This will alleviate unnecessary strain on compromised pelvic tissues.
- Pelvic and core exercises. Pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegels, can be done daily to strengthen vaginal and pelvic floor muscles, preventing further prolapse. Exercises which focus on the core, such as Yoga and Pilates, also help to support pelvic tissues and organs.
- Physical therapy. Women who experienced vaginal birth trauma or who have a family history of POP may want to consider pelvic physical therapy for more concentrated exercises which can prevent POP symptoms.
- Pelvic massage. Postnatal and/or pelvic massages can increase circulation, decrease inflammation, and realign pelvic muscles which will increase the efficacy of pelvic exercises.
- Vaginal pessaries. Pessaries come in a variety of shapes and sizes to treat specific symptoms. When properly sized and fitted they can correct both POP symptoms and incontinence.
By working to increase pelvic strength and tone, many post-pregnancy women can avoid the uncomfortable side effects of POP. For some women it is too late. Thousands have filed bladder sling lawsuits against manufacturers of mesh products to seek justice for their injuries. Please be sure to always discuss all treatment options with a medical professional.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes to inform the general public about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.