Developing Pelvic Organ Prolapse after Childbirth
Nothing is more beautiful than a woman who glows during pregnancy. There is something captivating about knowing that the miracle of life is unfolding under her burgeoning abdomen. What most women don’t consider is the immense stretching and straining of pelvic tissues that allows for that tummy expansion.
Even though the body is an efficient healer, it is rare that tissues return 100 percent to their pre-pregnancy state. Often, pelvic tissues are left weaker than they were before pregnancy. These weakened tissues set the stage for the development of a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse (POP).
Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Pelvic organ prolapse is not a disease. It is a condition that affects as many as 50 percent of women after the age of 50. For many of these women, POP will never cause any tangible symptoms and women may not require any treatment. For others, the symptoms can progress, becoming uncomfortable and potentially debilitating.
As pelvic tissues weaken, they begin to detach from their pelvic structure. Over time, and with the force of gravity, pelvic organs move closer to the pelvic floor. Eventually, if the condition progresses, they can end up prolapsing onto — or even through — the vagina.
In severe cases, women may require surgical intervention to reverse the symptoms. All surgeries are accompanied by inherent health risks. However, one of the most common types of surgery used for POP involves a medical device called transvaginal mesh. This vaginal mesh has been linked to high numbers of serious health complications. Thousands of women have been affected by the sometimes irreversible effects of vaginal mesh use. Many women have sought justice and compensation for their pain through the filing of transvaginal mesh lawsuits against mesh manufacturers.
By preventing POP, or using conservative treatment methods to mitigate its symptoms, women can often avoid surgical treatments.
Exercises to Prevent Pelvic Organ Prolapse
By focusing on pelvic health as soon as possible, women can maintain healthy and strong pelvic tissues, which might prevent POP altogether. Women who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate cases can use these same methods to help reverse their symptoms:
- Pelvic floor exercises. Kegels are the most famous version of pelvic floor exercises, however doctors can recommend other exercises to strengthen vaginal and pelvic floor muscles. Yoga and Pilates can also provide extra support to the core and pelvic structure.
- Pelvic physical therapy. Women who have had a traumatic vaginal birth, pelvic injury and/or who have a family history of POP should seek out a physical therapist who specializes in pelvic health. Pelvic physical therapists can offer postural, exercise and other therapy-based treatments to promote pelvic health.
- Postpartum and/or pelvic massage. Women who have given birth should consider postpartum massage as a part of their healing therapy. These massages have been shown to increase circulation, decrease inflammation, and can help to realign pelvic organs that have shifted out of place. Some of the most effective techniques include Shiatsu, Maya massage and Myofascial Release.
It is never too late for women to work toward regaining pelvic health. But of course, the sooner a woman begins, the more likely she will be to avoid POP.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes to inform the public about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.