Is Vaginal Mesh Surgery Right For You? Don't Be So Sure.
- Written by Heather Jeffcoat, DPT
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“The cure is worse than the disease."
We’ve all heard the cautionary proverb; but to someone desperate for a cure, it’s all too easy to ignore.
Sadly, that’s been the outcome of too many vaginal mesh surgery cases. It’s a popular treatment for stress urinary incontinence, among other conditions; but many of these patients have paid a heavy price. Increasingly, women are opting to have the mesh surgically removed; and some of them are further devastated to learn that one of the most common complications – pelvic pain – can persist long after the mesh is gone.
But there’s good news for those women from a group of researchers in the Lone Star state. Their findings, detailed in a recent report in the Journal Of Women’s Health Physical Therapy, suggest that pelvic floor physical therapy is effective in treating and reducing that post-surgical pain.
The concept and procedure for the original surgery are fairly simple – a synthetic mesh sling is implanted to help support the bladder and other pelvic organs – and it can be successful in treating some cases. But all too often, patients end up suffering from complications including the following:
- Scar tissue
- Mesh contraction
It all adds up to pelvic pain and painful sex.
A team at the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical Center recruited a group of women who experienced pelvic pain that became chronic, even after they elected to have their vaginal mesh or mesh slings surgically removed. Each woman was referred to a qualified pelvic floor therapist for treatment, patient education, and a supervised follow up home exercise program.
The researchers tracked their progress over five years. The findings? Fifty percent of the women who participated in both the physical therapy sessions and the home exercise sessions saw a marked decrease in their overall pelvic pain. (A few patients with severe pelvic pain were also prescribed a series of injections to relax the pelvic floor, aiding the physical therapy sessions.) Even better news – the women in the study who experienced pain only with sexual activity achieved more than 80% improvement!
If vaginal mesh surgery - or surgical removal - have left you with pelvic pain, the Femina Physical Therapy team can help decrease your pain and increase your quality of life again; no more surgery needed.
And if you’re contemplating vaginal mesh surgery, schedule a consultation with us first. We’ve successfully treated hundreds of women who thought surgery was their only option.