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Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy Can Help Treat Transvaginal Mesh Complications

Amy Robinson, Clear Passage Physical Therapy

On an upcoming episode of Drugwatch Radio, Amy Robinson – a physical therapist and the director of the Indianapolis clinic of Clear Passage Physical Therapy – will discuss the benefits of nonsurgical treatment for women suffering from transvaginal mesh complications. She will talk about how Clear Passage’s manual therapy techniques may help and how pelvic physical therapy can help women avoid surgery in the first place.

The clinic’s founder, Belinda Wurn, started the business with her husband, Larry, after she suffered from debilitating pelvic pain following pelvic surgery. She was told there was nothing that could be done about the pain. Together, she and Larry developed a physical therapy technique that helped her, and now helps other women in several clinics across the country.

For many women, facing pelvic organ prolapse (POP), stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or other pelvic floor disorders can be a daunting prospect. In addition, thousands of women who received transvaginal mesh implants to treat POP or SUI ended up with a host of painful, life-changing side effects.

Some women like Christy Hammond, who had mesh implanted after a hysterectomy, were never even told mesh was being placed inside them. Christy said her “pelvic area was on fire” after she received the mesh.

These complications often require surgery to remove the implant, but since it wasn’t designed to come out, the process isn’t easy; the mesh must be removed a little at a time.

Each additional surgery to remove mesh brings the risk of more complications. And going through even more surgeries may be the last thing any woman wants. In the meantime, the painful symptoms remain. Thankfully, there are some nonsurgical treatment options.

Adhesions: A Painful Complication

Clear Passage’s physical therapy technique can ease the pain caused by scar tissues called adhesions – thick bands of tissue that form between two surfaces, causing them to stick together.

After most pelvic surgeries, including mesh surgeries, the delicate tissues in the vagina and pelvic area take time to heal and will develop scar tissue. Adhesions can form when the body heals from injury, surgery or infection.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the risk of adhesions following any type of female pelvic surgery is high. Pelvic adhesions can cause several problems, including chronic pelvic pain and painful sexual intercourse.

In the case of transvaginal mesh, multiple surgeries may increase the chances of adhesion development because of the extensive scar tissue that can develop.

While more surgery is usually recommended to cut adhesions, women may benefit from nonsurgical treatments to help relieve symptoms.

Other Complications of Vaginal Mesh

Adhesions are just one possible complication from transvaginal mesh or any pelvic surgery. Other adverse events that physical therapy may be able to help with include:

  • Constipation or painful bowel movements
  • Decreased desire, lubrication and orgasm
  • Low back pain (due to adhesive pulls into that area)
  • Pain with or after urination
  • Pelvic or intercourse pain
  • Small bowel (intestinal) obstruction (SBO)
  • Uncomfortable tightness or pulling

Listen to the podcast with Amy Robinson.

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