Raising Awareness about Safe Treatment for Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse, sometimes referred to as POP, is a condition that affects thousands of women annually. It is typically a complication that follows pregnancy, but it can also occur later in life due to a weakening of the pelvic muscles.
The most typical organ affected by POP is the bladder. If this organ shifts, and begins pressing on the vaginal wall, it can cause pain and other complications. Other organs that can be affected include the uterus and the rectum. A common treatment for POP is a surgical procedure that uses a piece of mesh, inserted transvaginally, to support the organs that have prolapsed.
Ideally, this procedure goes smoothly and there are few complications. However, as with all surgical procedures, there is risk involved and it is vital to be aware of the complications you may face if your doctor recommends a transvaginal mesh implant.
Over a period of three years, from 2008 to 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received more than 2,800 reports of complications associated with transvaginal mesh surgeries to fix POP and incontinence. One of the most common complaints was the protrusion of the mesh through the vaginal wall, which causes pain, bleeding and the possibility of infection.
Some patients also reported neuro-muscular problems following their procedure, as well as emotional problems. Other complications include shrinking and scarring of the vagina.
If your doctor has recommended this procedure for you, it is necessary to sit and discuss your options with them before agreeing. You may also want to seek a second opinion. Dealing with a specialist is typically best in this situation, since they will be more aware of the potential complications. Unfortunately, many doctors are unaware of the complications and may not have been informed about the risks their patients are facing.
Ask your doctor about alternative treatments for prolapse, such as Kegels, which can be used to strengthen vaginal walls, or even weight loss, which has been shown to reduce the effects of POP. Transvaginal mesh surgery isn't a first choice because of its risks and in some cases it has even led patients to file a transvaginal mesh lawsuit. Discussing your alternatives with your doctor will help provide you with the knowledge you need to choose the treatment that is right for your unique situation.
The FDA is continuing to monitor the situation and will be providing regular reports on the issue. They recommend that any doctor performing this type of surgery have specialized training to reduce the risk their patients may face as a result of this procedure.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and medication safety for Drugwatch.com.