Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) is diagnosed in approximately 50 percent of women between the ages of 50 and 79. The majority of these women will not require invasive treatment and can manage the symptoms using natural or non-invasive treatment options. A small percentage of women will experience such severe symptoms that surgical intervention is required. Certain surgical procedures, especially those using a product called transvaginal mesh, have been linked to serious health complications. By becoming educated about POP, and learning about the ways it can be prevented — or reversed — women have a much better chance of safely and effectively managing the condition.
What is Pelvic Organ Prolapse?
Pelvic Organ Prolapse occurs when the tissues in the pelvic region become thin or weak. This is a natural part of the menopausal process, since decreasing levels of estrogen cause tissues to become thinner. However, pre-menopausal factors are also responsible for symptoms of POP. Pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of POP, since they put strain on pelvic connective tissues. Other factors linked to POP include smoking and obesity.
In mild to moderate cases of POP, symptoms may not be felt at all. A doctor will notice the condition during a routine pelvic exam. Sometimes women may experience slight discomfort or occasional incontinence. In moderate to severe cases, women's pelvic organs will begin to drop onto the pelvic floor, and can even collapse into the vagina. The organs associated with POP include the uterus, bladder and rectum. Severe cases may require surgical intervention. Woman must be aware that there are complications associated with vaginal mesh use. Thousands of women have suffered from these side effects and have sought justice by filing a transvaginal mesh lawsuit against mesh manufacturers.
Naturally Reversing Pelvic Organ Prolapse
Maintaining a strong and healthy pelvic floor is the most effective way for preventing, or reversing, the symptoms of POP.
Living a healthy lifestyle: Obesity and smoking are common risks factors in POP. Smoking reduces the production of collagen. This leads to the thinning and weakening of connective tissues. Chronic coughing also places strain on the pelvic muscles, which can exacerbate the symptoms of POP. Excessive weight also increases the pressure on these delicate tissues. By eating well, exercising regularly and making healthy lifestyle choices, women can keep their pelvic tissues in better health.
Pelvic floor and core exercises: A strong pelvic floor, and healthy connective tissues, can help keep the pelvic organs in place. Women who do daily Kegel exercises, and exercises that focus on their core muscles, can often prevent or reduce the symptoms of POP. Women should discuss these options with their doctor to learn more about specific exercises that work to strengthen the pelvic floor.
It is never too early for women to begin their focus on pelvic health. Women who do Kegel exercises during pregnancy are much less likely to develop incontinence in their third trimester. While natural methods can be effective after diagnosis, they are most beneficial when used earlier on to prevent POP altogether. By continuing these exercises through the postpartum period and beyond, women maintain that strong pelvic floor, which can protect them from severe cases of POP.
By: Elizabeth Carrollton
Elizabeth Carrollton writes to inform the public about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.
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