To Avoid the Dangers of Mesh, Consider Alternative Treatments
Women’s health issues like pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) are sometimes treated with transvaginal mesh implants. For prolapse, the mesh acts as a support for pelvic organs that may have dropped out of position. Mesh can also be used to help restore continence.
But because transvaginal mesh implants can result in very serious complications, women may want to consider alternative treatments. The mesh can erode through tissues or shrink, resulting in severe pain, sexual dysfunction and abnormal bleeding, discharge or odor.
Women may have to face multiple revision surgeries to address mesh complications. Revision surgeries can be expensive cannot always fix the problems.
When prolapse is severe, surgery may be the best treatment option but it does not have to involve transvaginal mesh. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says that procedures that do not use transvaginal mesh can be just as effective with fewer risks.
Prevention and Treatment
To reduce the risk of developing pelvic floor disorders, women should be proactive. Aside from pregnancy and childbirth, which are the primary causes of prolapse and SUI, obesity, chronic cough, smoking and high-impact activities can all contribute to a weakened pelvic floor.
Avoiding pregnancy and childbirth is not the key; instead, focusing on pelvic floor strength before, during and after pregnancy is the answer. Yoga, Pilates and swimming are suggested because they are total-body workouts that naturally engage the core and pelvic floor.
All women should complete Kegel exercises on a daily basis. These contractions tighten and tone pelvic floor muscles and can reverse incontinence. They are also well-known for sexual benefits, including the increased ability to reach orgasm. Maintaining a strong pelvic floor will help the muscles bounce back from supporting the baby and the stretch and strain experienced during childbirth.
Pelvic physiotherapy is another option for women looking to prevent pelvic floor disorders. Pelvic physical therapists are specially trained to use multiple techniques to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and treat pelvic floor disorders.
Therapists can use biofeedback therapy to help isolate the pelvic floor muscles, use massage and manual stimulation, correct posture and teach women and their partners how to perform exercises at home.
If symptoms develop, women with prolapse may want to consider a vaginal pessary, which is fitted and put in place by a physician. If surgery is needed, there are options that do not involve transvaginal mesh.
Linda Grayling is a writer for Drugwatch.com, a consumer advocacy website. She stays up to speed on the latest medical news, including recalls and clinical trials.