Pelvic Organ Prolapse - Consumer Justice Foundation

Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Written by Faith Anderson on September 29, 2011
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Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) is a serious condition affecting females in which one or more pelvic organs, such as the uterus or bladder, slip from their normal position, into or through the vagina. This can cause significant discomfort and complications like pain or urinary incontinence. Pelvic organ prolapse is more common in older women who have delivered large babies or had exceedingly long pushing phases of labor, which causes the tissues and muscles holding the pelvic organs in place to become weak or stretched. Other women may develop pelvic organ prolapse after menopause or after undergoing a hysterectomy. Although prolapse of this kind is typically not painful, the change in position of pelvic organs can cause women to suffer from urinary or bowel incontinence, and may also interfere with sexual activity. One of the most common methods of POP treatment involves the implantation of a medical device called surgical mesh, which can repair the affected tissue in affected women. Unfortunately, many women who have received a surgical mesh implant have suffered from serious side effects as a result of the defective mesh. If you have suffered from a side effect of surgical mesh for POP repair, contact a surgical mesh attorney for legal help.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse Symptoms

Although many women with POP exhibit no symptoms, the most common and bothersome symptom of POP is the pressing of the uterus or other pelvic organs against the vaginal wall. This abnormal pressure on the vagina may cause minor discomfort or problems in how the pelvic organs work. Other symptoms of POP include:

  • A pulling or stretching in the groin area or a low backache
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Urinary problems, like incontinence
  • Problems with bowel movements, like constipation
  • A feeling that something is falling out of the vagina
  • A feeling of pelvic pressure
  • Spotting or bleeding from the vagina

Symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse are typically made worse by standing, jumping and lifting, and are usually relieved by laying down.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse Treatment

For women suffering from pain and discomfort associated with pelvic organ prolapse that does not respond to lifestyle changes or nonsurgical treatment, surgery is the most common option. The choice of surgery typically depends on which organs are involved, how severe the symptoms are, and what other medical conditions are present, if any. Many women opt for a minimally invasive procedure in which surgical mesh is transvaginally implanted to repair weakened or damaged tissue indicative of POP. Regardless of the treatment method chosen, the main goals of surgery are to relieve the debilitating symptoms of POP and restore the normal functioning of the pelvic organs. It is important to consider all surgical options for treating POP though, as some methods of pelvic organ prolapse treatment, like surgical mesh, may be linked to serious side effects.

Side Effects of Surgical Mesh for Transvaginal Repair of POP

Surgical mesh, like C.R. Bard’s Bard Avaulta mesh, is made from porous absorbable or non-absorbable synthetic material, or absorbable biologic material. Although surgical mesh is a popular method of POP repair, recent FDA warnings have indicated that this option may not be safe for some women. In fact, the FDA issued a safety announcement in July 2011, warning the public that the serious complications associated with surgical mesh for transvaginal repair of POP are not rare. The FDA also warned that it is not clear that transvaginal POP repair with mesh is more effective than traditional non-mesh repair and may expose patients to greater risk. According to the FDA, common complications of surgical mesh include erosion of the mesh through the vaginal epithelium, infection, pain, urinary problems, and recurrence of prolapse and/or incontinence. Some women may also suffer from bowel, bladder and blood vessel perforation during insertion, or vaginal scarring. Surgical mesh is permanently implanted to reinforce the weakened vaginal wall in women with POP and may be dangerous to remove should the mesh erode or become infected.

Legal Help for Surgical Mesh Side Effects

The FDA estimates that, in 2010, more than 100,000 women suffering from POP were treated with surgical mesh. Of those, 75,000 women had mesh transvaginally implanted, such as in Bard Avaulta mesh devices. Unfortunately, many women who choose this course of POP treatment are faced with significant challenges associated with the surgical mesh, including life-altering side effects. According to an FDA public health advisory issued in 2008, the agency had received over 1,000 reports from nine surgical mesh manufacturers over the previous three years of complications associated with surgical mesh devices used to repair pelvic organ prolapse. If you or a loved one has suffered from a surgical mesh side effect, like surgical mesh erosion or infection, contact a surgical mesh attorney to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering, which you can collect by filing a surgical mesh lawsuit against the manufacturing company responsible for producing the medical device. With the help of a qualified surgical mesh lawyer, victims of surgical mesh side effects can protect their rights and hold the allegedly negligent manufacturing company liable for their injuries.

Posted Under: Medical Products, Transvaginal Mesh
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