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Pelvic Health

Risk of Pelvic Organ Prolapse after Childbirth


written by Elizabeth Carrollton, guest blogger.

 

Any woman who has given birth can attest to the strength and endurance required of the human body. However, after the body has initially healed, and women become focused on their new baby, thoughts begin to shift away from pelvic health. What most women do not understand is that the legacy of pregnancy and childbirth can last long after babies have grown up. Often, problems come to light in a diagnosis of Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) when women enter menopause. This condition can be avoided if women continue to focus on their pelvic health throughout the postpartum period and beyond.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse After Childbirth

During pregnancy and childbirth, the muscles and connective tissues in the pelvis become dramatically stretched and strained. Sometimes, additional tissue damage can occur during labor. These processes set the stage for the development of POP. Women who do not pay particular attention to maintaining strength and tone in vaginal and pelvic floor muscles will be susceptible to more severe symptoms of the condition. As women age, their estrogen levels begin to decline. This decline causes additional thinning and weakening of pelvic tissues, which can lead to the diagnosis of POP.

Sometimes, in mild cases of Pelvic Organ Prolapse, women do not experience any symptoms. In moderate to severe cases, women may experience the following symptoms:

  • The inability to insert a tampon.
  • Discomfort or pain during intercourse.
  • Light spotting or bleeding.
  • A feeling of heaviness, or a pulling sensation, in the pelvis and lower back.
  • The inability to begin urinating and/or a weakened urine stream.
  • Unusual constipation or difficulty with bowel movements.

In severe cases of POP, women may be able to feel tissue protruding from the vagina.

Prevention and Treatment of Pelvic Organ Prolapse

 

It is never too early for women to begin focusing on their pelvic health. Severe cases of POP usually require risky surgical intervention. One of the most common surgical treatments uses a material called vaginal mesh. These mesh products have been labeled risky by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to large numbers of health complications. Several products have been pulled off the market in vaginal mesh recalls in recent months. Women who require surgical intervention to treat POP should speak with their doctor about traditional surgical options that do not use mesh.

Women with mild to moderate cases of Pelvic Organ Prolapse may be able to reduce or reverse their symptoms with these simple treatments:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight and refraining from smoking, both of which are linked to more severe Pelvic Organ Prolapse.
  • Daily Kegel exercises to maintain pelvic and vaginal tone and strength.
  • Electrical stimulation to manually build strength in pelvic tissues.
  • Pelvic physical therapy.
  • Pelvic massage.
  • Using a vaginal pessary to provide additional support to the vagina and pelvic floor. (Pessaries also can treat incontinence.)

While childbirth does increase a woman’s chances of developing Pelvic Organ Prolapse, women can do Kegels and other exercises to maintain pelvic strength throughout their pregnancy and the rest of their life. Proper exercises can greatly reduce a woman’s chances of developing Pelvic Organ Prolapse, as well as incontinence. Attention to pelvic health can also lower a woman’s chances of having to undergo risky surgical procedures.

 

Elizabeth Carrollton writes to inform the general public about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.

 

This information is provided by Drugwatch.com and is not suitable for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The posting of this information is in no way an endorsement from TriadBirthDoula.com. Drugwatch.com is wholly responsible for this article, and should any third party wish to discuss or have concerns over any part of this article, we may be contacted at: webmaster@drugwatch.com.