Transvaginal mesh surgery is a common solution for moderate to severe cases of Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) or Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI). However, vaginal mesh products have been linked to serious health complications in thousands of cases. The mesh material is now considered so risky that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued multiple warnings to the public, and major medical manufacturers have pulled some of their transvaginal mesh products from the market.

In the meantime, many people overlook the value of non-invasive treatments, such as physical therapy, in treating the symptoms of POP and SUI. In fact, many health care professionals feel that many mild to moderate cases of POP can be treated without surgical intervention—a welcome alternative for women.   A recent study in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology concludes, “Pelvic floor muscle training is without adverse effects and can be used as treatment for prolapse” (1).  Physical therapy was successful in reversing pelvic organ prolapse by one full grade in women with Stage II and Stage III prolapses, after pelvic floor muscle training.

Women who have been diagnosed with POP or SUI should speak with their doctors about how non-invasive methods, including physical therapy, can be used to reverse their symptoms naturally. They can also consider following a program like The Bathroom Key: Put an End to Incontinence, which is a new book written by a physical therapist (Kathryn Kassai, PT) and her cured patient (Kim Perelli).

Physical Therapy to Treat Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Incontinence

The Bathroom Key: Put an End to Incontinence (www.TheBathroomKey.com) is a new book that gives a 12-week, step-by step, physical therapy home treatment plan for women to self-treat their POP and possibly even cure their incontinencenon-surgically.  Physical therapy cures SUI in 85% of the cases (2).

There are specialized physical therapists who are called “Women’s Health Physical Therapists”.  Women with moderate POP or SUI may want to go this route to maximize the effect of a variety of exercises and ensure they are being done properly.   Find a Women’s Health Physical Therapist in your area at www.TheBathroomKey.com

There are several physical therapy techniques that can be used, including:

  • Pelvic floor (or Kegel) exercises:   Pelvic floor exercises can be done three times daily to strengthen the pelvic floor and support the bladder from underneath. Most women don’t exercise these muscles comprehensively.  Different types of contractions are necessary to build strength, endurance, coordination, and function of the pelvic floor and other core muscles—and a specializing physical therapist teaches that. The sooner women do Kegel exercises, the better chance they have of preventing / reducing POP and curing SUI.
  • Surface Electromyogram (SEMG) Biofeedback:   The pelvic floor muscles are hidden…so most women do not perform these exercises correctly.  To solve this problem, physical therapists use SEMG biofeedback to assess and train these muscles.  Similar to an EKG with stick-on electrodes, SEMG produces a graph that allows women to see their pelvic floor muscles working on the computer screen, which is very motivational and effective.  No shock or electricity is felt whatsoever.
  • Body Mechanics and Diet:   Straining with bowel movements, high-impact exercise, and heavy lifting can lead to POP or cause it to worsen over time.  Physical therapists teach proper body mechanics to reduce the pressure on the prolapsed organ during bowel movements and other activities.  They also give dietary advice to prevent constipation.  Using proper body mechanics will help prevent many SUI accidents, as well.

There are many resources available to aid women with these issues. The Bathroom Key, a new book that aims to help the 34 million Americans affected by SUI, details the disorder and sends a clear message of how to end, and thus cure, incontinence.  How to non-invasively reduce and prevent POP is also thoroughly covered in the book.

What is Transvaginal Mesh Surgery?

In moderate to severe cases of Pelvic Organ Prolapse or Stress Urinary Incontinence, doctors may turn to surgery. One popular option is the use of transvaginal mesh, which is inserted through the vagina and acts like a hammock to provide support for prolapsing organs. Transvaginal mesh can also be used as a bladder sling to support the bladder.

Unfortunately, in more than 10 percent of all transvaginal mesh surgeries to repair prolapse, there are complications. In some cases, a woman is left with uncomfortable sensations, or even pain. In others, the mesh can actually erode into vaginal and pelvic tissues, causing recurring infections and perforating organs.

As a result, some women have been left with irreversible damage. Many women have filed transvaginal mesh lawsuits, and large settlements have been granted in an effort to compensate women for their pain and suffering. Any woman whose symptoms require surgical intervention should speak with her doctor about non-transvaginal mesh surgical options. Women can also ask about physical therapy options to see if they might offer a safer alternative.

It is a basic tenet of medicine that non-invasive methods should always be tried first.  Therefore, women should discuss risks and benefits of the full treatment spectrum with their doctor to make an educated decision about the safest solution to their symptoms.

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

1. Braekken, H, Majida, M, et al. (2010) Can Pelvic Floor Muscle Training Reverse Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Reduce Prolapse Symtoms? An Assessor-blinded, Randomized, Controlled Trial. Am J Obst and Gynec; 203;170:e1-7.

2.  Pikul, C. (2011, August 3). Physical Therapy for Your Lady Parts. http://www.oprah.com/health/Womens-Health-Physical-Therapy-Pelvic-Floor-Rehab.