Colpocleisis: Closing the Vagina to Optimize Quality of Life

If you randomly asked any woman whether she would consider having her vagina sewn shut to eliminate a long-term health issue, she’d likely react with horrified silence. Ask any woman who has suffered for years, and in some cases decades, with the discomfort of vaginal tissue bulge, vaginal pressure, or pain with intimacy that often accompanies pelvic organ prolapse (POP), and you might be surprised at the response. These women simply want to feel normal again, and some are willing to do anything to recapture their former quality of life.

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FECAL INCONTINENCE: Next Steps When Your Body Detours Romance

One of the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse that women find highly stigmatizing is fecal incontinence (FI). Regardless when it occurs, women are typically devastated, but when it occurs during an act of intimacy, the impact is difficult to move past. The fear of a repeat episode, the fear of judgement by an intimate partner, the fear of never again having a normal sex life can create a significant roadblock in a woman's life. Fecal incontinence is one of those POP symptoms women struggle to admit to, much less talk about openly. But as in all aspects of POP, it is possible to find balance again, once you understand the right path and a few tools to utilize. A brave patient in APOPS’s following agreed to share her journey in the interests of providing hope for others walking this particular walk.

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We women tend to address the needs of everyone ahead of ourselves. We nurture our significant others, feed the kids, walk the dogs, pick up groceries, clean the house, while simultaneously navigating employment. As we address the needs of a multitude of layers that impact personal and family flow, we tend to overlook one of the most significant, how we physically feel. And while we are all aware of the basics in women’s wellness screenings to address breast, heart, diabetes, and menopausal health concerns, current wellness exams seldom effectively evaluate one of the most common conditions impacting women, pelvic organ prolapse.

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Judging the Quality of Healthcare

As in every other field of practice, healthcare has practitioners whose skillset ranges between exceptional, good, bad, indifferent, to “they deserve to lose their license”. As patients, we understandably tend to focus on our needs, with little thought given the issues that impact how our clinicians do their work. Patients can be quite judgmental at times. Certainly, we all want quality healthcare.

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FDA 2019 Transvaginal Mesh Meeting: Balancing the Rhetoric

Following is a transcript of the speech given by Sherrie Palm at the FDA Obstetrics and Gynecology Devices Panel transvaginal mesh meeting on February 12, 2019. 

I’m Sherrie Palm, the founder of the Association for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support (APOPS). Neither me nor APOPS has any financial conflicts of interest. In full disclosure, I am a transvaginal mesh success story, 11 years post transvaginal mesh cystocele and rectocele repair, and native tissue enterocele repair.

Pelvic organ prolapse is not an American women’s health issue, it is a global women’s health pandemic. Since 2010, APOPS has been engaging with women, healthcare, academia, research, industry and policy, a 177 nation strong network. The women we serve are mid-teens through end of life, navigating every diverse POP issue, including the mesh vs native tissue debate. APOPS has considerable following in the UK and Australia; obviously mesh comes up regularly.”

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The Next Evolution of Women's Wellness SCREENING: Pelvic Organ Prolapse

Research frequently estimates that 1 in 2 women will experience pelvic organ prolapse (POP). There has been considerable media exposure related to mesh complications, associated litigation, and FDA commentary. What has yet to surface is the substantial gap in women’s wellness screening related to POP, a common but highly closeted condition. A collaborative effort to address a massive gap in women’s wellness protocol is underway.

Childbirth and menopause, 2 of the most significant life events women experience, are the leading causes of pelvic organ prolapse. Pelvic exams are considered the gold standard in female wellness protocol, but women are seldom informed of or effectively screened for POP during their routine pelvic exams.

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