Weakening of tissues in the pelvic area can contribute to a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse.
When a woman becomes pregnant, her uterus goes through tremendous changes in order to accommodate the growing baby. Additionally, connective tissues that support the uterus also grow and stretch to provide the necessary support required to hold the uterus in place.
In the meantime, other organs in the pelvis must shift, compress, and change shape as the expanding uterus requires more and more space. Once the baby is born, these organs and connective tissues go through a rapid transformation in order to return to their original state. However, in most cases, these connective tissues are never exactly the same.
If women don't pay particular attention to their pelvic health, these tissues can grow considerably weaker, contributing to the onset of a condition called pelvic organ prolapse (POP).
If pelvic muscles and tissues are not adequately nourished and strengthened, they will continue to weaken. It can take decades for the results of this weakening process to manifest into tangible symptoms and side effects, but in some cases can show up soon after childbirth.
In mild cases of POP, a woman may not be aware that she has it and it will be diagnosed during an annual pelvic exam. For other women, the physical side effects of POP will precede the diagnosis. In these cases, the symptoms and/or side effects can include:
These symptoms are the result of prolapsing pelvic organs. When connective tissues and muscles in the pelvis weaken enough, the organs they support will begin to shift out of place and collapse towards the pelvic floor. In mild cases, this might not create any problems. In more moderate to severe cases, the organs fall onto the vagina, which creates the issues listed above. In the most severe cases, a woman's uterus will begin to collapse into the vaginal canal and can prolapse far enough to be seen or felt.
There are two types of treatments used to alleviate the symptoms of POP: non-invasive and surgical.
According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, surgical treatments should only be used in cases where anatomical correction is the only solution.
This is because surgical interventions come with potential risk. In the case of bladder sling surgeries (see image) which are one of the common treatments for severe POP, the mesh material has caused high numbers of serious health complications.
Some of these complications have proven to be irreversible, leaving women with a lifetime of physical and emotional complications. Thousands of women have already filed bladder sling lawsuits to seek justice for their injuries. This is why non-invasive options should always be the first option.Non-invasive treatments include:
Women who are concerned about developing POP, or who have been diagnosed with POP, should discuss non-invasive treatment options with their doctor to avoid unnecessary risks.
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