Vaginal mesh implants have been used in the United States since the early 2000’s, and have gained popularity as an easy and quick surgical alternative to hysterectomies or other, more drastic, forms of surgery for pelvic organ prolapse (POP) or stress urinary incontinence (SUI). However, since 2010 a slew of personal injury lawsuits have been issued against manufacturers of pelvic mesh devices, claiming the devices cause serious personal harm. Symptoms of a failed mesh device include infection, bleeding, mesh erosion, painful intercourse, and continued medical problems relating to POP or SUI.
With growing concern surrounding the safety of these devices, it is important to talk to your doctor about the safety of mesh implants, and alternatives to mesh surgery kits. Here are the top 6 alternatives to pelvic mesh surgery:
- Kegel Exercises
Created by Dr. Arnold Kegel, and first discussed in an article published in 1948, Kegel exercises are the best way to strengthen the pelvic floor to help prevent organ prolapse. These exercises are often prescribed to women as physical therapy after difficult childbirths or prolapse surgery. They are also recommended in minor POP and SUI cases, but severe instances of prolapse often require additional therapies.
Some medical professionals believe that many cases of prolapse are caused by low estrogen levels. Symptoms of POP can be offset with hormone replacement therapy.
Changes in Diet and Other Habits
Prolapse is caused by pressure on the pelvic organs, or weakening of the pelvic floor muscles. While there are many causes of pressure in this area, a few common causes are obesity, smoking, frequent constipation, difficult childbirth, or even a long-lasting cough. Consult your doctor about personal habits, and if he/she thinks lifestyle changes might prevent further prolapse.
This helpful little device is inserted into the vagina to help support the uterus, vagina, bladder, or rectum. Pessaries can often be worn for days or weeks at a time, before they should be removed for cleaning with soap and water, but you should consult your doctor on details regarding cleaning and check-ups. Side effects include vaginal irritation, but that can be alleviated with estrogen creams in many cases. Pessaries are not a cure for prolapse, but can provide relief from the symptoms.
Botox, collagen, synthetic sugars, or specialized gels can sometimes be injected in the tissues around the bladder to help support the organs. This form of intervention is less invasive than surgery, but currently the treatment is used for SUI, and not other forms of pelvic organ prolapse. Risks of this kind of treatment include inability to empty the bladder, and the therapy only lasts 3-6 months.
Many surgeries exist that use your own body’s tissue, or tissue grafts, to help support your prolapsed organs. While these surgeries can be more complex and invasive than mesh kit surgeries, there will be little to no foreign material in your body afterward. One of the most common forms of corrective surgery is the Burch Procedure, which sutures the ligaments around the bladder to halt stress urinary incontinence (SUI).
As a patient, you have many rights, including the right to information, and the right to a second opinion. If your doctor recommends pelvic mesh surgery for pelvic organ prolapse, or stress urinary incontinence, do not hesitate to discuss alternatives if you are concerned about the safety of mesh kits.
If you are concerned about your rights as a patient, or if you have experienced harmful side effects from pelvic mesh surgery, contact the experienced lawyers at Strom Law, LLC. We can help get you get the information you need to make informed decisions, and get you on the road to recovery. 803.252.4800.