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Q What other treatment options are there?
A “The tide has certainly changed,” Frankman said, since the FDA warned in 2011 that serious problems resulting from vaginal mesh surgeries were not rare. “I no longer use transvaginal mesh myself.”
Other surgical options include using the patient’s own tissue from another part of the body — instead of mesh — to repair the affected area. Another option: using mesh but entering through the abdomen instead of through the vagina. Frankman referred to the abdomiwnal procedure as “the gold standard.” A surgeon can either use “laparoscopic” surgery, or small incisions on the abdomen, or else make a larger abdominal cut to insert the mesh support.
For milder cases, pelvic floor therapy offers women exercises designed to strengthen their pelvic muscles. Another alternative to surgery is a device known as a “pessary.” The little, plastic circle is inserted into the vagina to help hold the pelvic organs in place, Stecher said. “If fitted properly, it can be a great adjunct to keeping the structure where it needs to be,” she said.
Q Why are so many women in the dark about this issue?
A “It’s something that is very embarrassing to a lot of women,” Frankman said. “Often, women feel like these things are just part of what happens when you have a baby.” She added that they may not have even heard of the issue before. She’s seen many patients who did not know that their organs could drop. But once they learn about the condition, Frankman said, they start talking about it with their friends and realize that they’re not alone.
Allie Shah • 612-673-4488