A column by local physician Christie Iverson, MD, in the Bismarck Tribune out of North Dakota describes pelvic organ prolapse. Iverson writes that the condition is basically what happens when a woman’s pelvic floor weakens and the vaginal walls protrude, or a weakened uterus descends into the vaginal canal.
According to Iverson, new technology for prolapse surgery known as sacrocolpopexy has made it possible for women to get it corrected “with minimal after effects,” leaving behind tiny incisions that heal quickly.
Aside from surgery, Iverson writes, the most common treatment is insertion of a supportive device known as a “pessary” into the vagina.
Other devices marketed for treatment in recent years have proven more problematic than the pelvic organ prolapse itself.
Transvaginal mesh implants, meant to treat urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, have been the basis of widespread lawsuits due to their tendency to fail and cause health problems. The most common reported problem in these lawsuits is the vaginal mesh eroding and sticking through the walls of the bladder and vagina, causing severe pain.
In the first of about 11,000 lawsuits against vaginal mesh manufacturers to go to trial, a New Jersey jury recently awarded $11.1 million to a woman who received a vaginal mesh implant manufactured by Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon subsidiary.
Iverson writes that since pelvic organ prolapse isn’t life-threatening, women with mild cases may opt not to get it treated. But for other women, it may produce symptoms such as a feeling of heavy pressure in the vaginal area, skin irritation, bleeding, pelvic pressure, difficulty emptying the bladder, incontinence, painful intercourse and recurrent bladder infections. In extreme cases, she writes, the vaginal lining may protrude outside the body and cause exterior vaginal sores or ulcers.
If you have a vaginal mesh implant, you should consult with a doctor if you have any ongoing symptoms or health concerns. If you have significant injuries, you should also consult with a mesh lawyer to discuss your legal rights.
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