This episode's guest
Amy Robinson of Clear Passage Physical Therapy recently phoned in from her clinic in Indiana to talk about pelvic floor physical therapy and how it benefits women suffering from health problems because of transvaginal mesh. Amy has two decades of experience in physical therapy, and for many of those years she specialized in pelvic floor health.
She treats many women who come to her suffering from pain, sexual dysfunction and even bowel issues after mesh implantation and removal. As a result, she is very familiar with the life-altering problems faced by women who have had mesh.
She uses the Wurn Technique, which is the proprietary technique developed by Clear Passage founders Belinda and Larry Wurn. It has proven to be a powerful healing tool for many women.
This special technique involves approximately 200 physical therapy techniques designed to promote intensive therapy and quick healing in women with pelvic floor issues and complications associated with transvaginal mesh.
Women travel from across the country to visit the clinic’s six locations:
- Orange County, Calif.
- Washington, D.C.
- Gainesville, Fla. (corporate headquarters)
On the podcast, Robinson discusses what women can expect from pelvic physical therapy and how it can help ease complications from transvaginal mesh implantation and removal and even help women avoid surgery for stress urinary incontinence (SUI) or pelvic organ prolapse (POP).
Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy
For most women, the thought of a pelvic examination is uncomfortable. Pelvic floor physical therapy may sound even more daunting , especially for women experiencing pelvic discomfort from multiple surgeries associated with transvaginal mesh.
At Clear Passage, Robinson and the other therapists are aware it is a very sensitive issue. They encourage women to tell their stories and even involve the patient’s partner in a safe and supportive environment. Most importantly, they take the time to listen.
The therapy itself usually consists of a thorough internal and external pelvic exam to assess the extent of the symptoms and damage to the tissue. The external exam includes checking a patient’s posture. According to Robinson, this alone can clue a therapist in to problem areas, and unlike a woman’s yearly gynecological exam, the internal exam does not use a speculum or stirrups.
“Of course, if a woman isn’t interested in an internal pelvic exam, we wouldn’t make them do that,” she said. “However, the internal pelvic exam – especially for women who have experienced mesh issues – is a very critical part of the exam procedure.”
The internal and external exams help the therapist locate adhesions that may have formed after surgery. Adhesions are bands of scar tissue that form between two surfaces in the body, such as muscles or organs. This tissue is very tight and binding, which can cause discomfort and pain.
If adhesions form between organs, they can cause organ dysfunction. Pelvic physical therapy loosens these adhesions and breaks them up naturally, to restore function and mobility.
During the course of therapy, it is also possible that the therapist may locate pieces of mesh that might have been missed during surgery. Unfortunately, many of the mesh products were not designed to come out of the body once implanted and prove difficult for even experienced surgeons to remove.
Pelvic Physical Therapy as Preventive Care
Many people think of physical therapy as a treatment after surgery or after an injury, but it can also be used as a preventative measure or as a first-line treatment. Before surgery for incontinence or prolapse, women may wish to consider pelvic physical therapy.
Not only can it prevent costly surgery and possible complications, but it can also decrease the likelihood of recurrence of incontinence or prolapse.
Robinson cited studies on the effectiveness of pelvic physical therapy for SUI and POP. She referred to one study that showed 79 percent of patients receiving pelvic floor training improved significantly and avoided surgery.
“A lot of times, physical therapy is skipped in the beginning,” she said. “But if patients are given the option, and the prolapse is not severe, they can avoid surgery for prolapse.”
Unfortunately, some women who had mesh surgery later suffered serious complications such as infection, erosion, organ perforation and inability to have intercourse. Thousands of women – including Linda Gross, Christine Scott and Donna Cisson – filed lawsuits against several manufacturers.
Avoiding unnecessary surgery and transvaginal mesh implants may save a lot of pain and suffering and is definitely worth looking into. Women suffering from mesh issues should ask their OB-GYN or urogynecologist about pelvic floor physical therapy or research it online.
Anyone who wants to learn more about Clear Passage and pelvic floor physical therapy can visit the Clear Passage website or call the office.