Ah, the joys of getting older, eh? Laughter lines, hot flushes, grey hairs sprouting in the strangest of places and that's before we've even mentioned the issue of vaginal health - we're in for a real treat. Yes, unfortunately for us, giving birth and/or surgery down there can lead to one of the most common conditions for women - pelvic organ prolapse - as we age.
When it comes to treating it, there are a number of non-surgical options out there, including the widely-used pessary which is a device inserted into the vagina to support the pelvic organs. Another is Kegel exercises which may be recommended in addition to symptom-related treatment to help strengthen the pelvic floor. But for women with more severe cases, seeking out surgery such as the vaginal mesh implant may be the only option.
We spoke to the experts to find out all you need to know.
What is pelvic organ prolapse?
Affecting an alarming 1 in 2 women, the condition occurs when a pelvic organ such as your bladder drops (aka prolapses) from its normal place in your lower belly, and pushes against the walls of your vagina. It's basically a bulging of one or more of the pelvic organs into the vagina and is as uncomfortable as it sounds. It can happen when the muscles that hold your pelvic organs in place get weak or stretched, for example through childbirth or surgery.
How is it treated?
In the UK, 15,000 women each year undergo vaginal mesh implant surgery to tackle pelvic organ prolapse, and across the pond over 100,000 women who have suffered permanent disabilities have filed lawsuits and received compensation. There are currently over 800 women in the UK who are suing either the NHS or the device manufacturers following complications of vaginal mesh implant surgery.
A massive 1 in 15 implants has to be removed due to problems. This corrective surgery has caused life-changing complications for thousands of woman and now campaigner and Specialist Myofascial Release Physiotherapist Nikki Robinson is calling for women to seek out alternative, safer treatments instead.
She said: “Vaginal mesh implant surgery is used to treat the symptoms of prolapse, rather than addressing the reason that it occurred in the first place. This means that the stresses and restrictions in the woman’s body that caused the prolapse are still present after the surgery, with the added strain of a foreign object and scarring."
What's the alternative?
Myofascial Release is a relatively unknown but scientifically-proven alternative to this invasive surgery. Nikki explains: "Myofascial Release treatment gently untangles the restrictions put in place by Vaginal mesh surgery, allowing the body to correct itself. Even after surgery, it is effective in reducing the effects of scar tissue and treating the ongoing symptoms.”
How does it work?
Myofascial Release was developed by American Physiotherapist John Barnes over 30 years ago. Specialist therapists assess and feel into your fascial system for the cause of symptoms such as pain, tension and inflammation. Your fascia is a continuous network of connective tissue that links each of the 37.2 trillion cells in your body.
Throughout your life, this connective tissue tightens in response to physical and emotional trauma, putting strain on organs and tissue, and compressing nerve endings. The treatment works with your body to untangle these restrictions, taking pressure off nerve endings and allowing your body to heal.
Myofascial Release treatment is also effective in treating post-operative symptoms of surgery to insert and remove vaginal mesh implants. Patients from out of the area can take advantage of the Intensive Treatment Programme, receiving 15 hours of treatment/week over two or three weeks.
For more information visit: www.pelvicorganprolapsesupport.org
What are your thoughts on this procedure? Let us know @soFeminineUK
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