Guest post by Elizabeth Carrollton of Drugwatch:
Uterine prolapse is one form of a very common pelvic floor disorder called pelvic organ prolapse (POP). It is caused by a loss of pelvic support that allows organs to drop low in the pelvis. Uterine prolapse is one of the most common forms of POP, and can, in serious cases, allow the uterus to protrude out of the body through the vagina. Treatments for uterine prolapse vary from natural, non-invasive remedies to reconstructive surgery. However, surgical solutions are not without risk, so it is wise to consider them an option of last resort, used only when non-invasive methods haven't been successful.
Causes and Risk Factors
Pelvic organs, such as the uterus, rectum and bladder, are supported by the pelvic floor. Made up of muscles and connective tissues, the pelvic floor sustains gradual damage over a woman's lifetime, its strength and tone sometimes diminishing until it is unable to support those organs properly. Pelvic organ prolapse happens when it becomes so weak that one or more of those organs drops away from its normal position in the pelvic cavity. In the case of uterine prolapse, the uterus can protrude into the vaginal canal, and in some cases, protrude through the vaginal opening.
Natural Treatment Options
Physical therapy is often the first line of treatment used in uterine prolapse and other forms of POP. Therapists will generally use a treatment approach that includes exercise to strengthen both pelvic and core muscles, since these muscle groups work together to maintain pelvic support. Biofeedback is commonly used to assess and monitor muscle strength and function, and specialized cone-shaped weights may be used to provide resistance.
Many women find that using a pessary can be very helpful. These are typically made of plastic or silicone, and are inserted into the vagina to help support the uterus, preventing it from protruding into the vaginal canal. They are made in various sizes and shapes, and women may need to try several before finding one that fits comfortably and relieves their symptoms.
There are also many homeopathic remedies indicated for uterine prolapse (more than 150). The remedy Sepia is probably the most well known. It is made from the ink of the cuttlefish (pictured). As always in homeopathy, the remedy most likely to help will also match the patient's medical history and whole current health.
Changes in lifestyle and diet can help control pelvic organ prolapse symptoms. In overweight women, weight loss can reduce symptoms, since being too heavy places excess pressure on the pelvic floor. Constipation can increase the discomfort associated with uterine prolapse, so preventing it with a high-fiber diet can be beneficial. Women who smoke should stop, since smoking contributes to pelvic floor weakness. Increasing intake of nutrients that support muscle health and function is important as well, such as vitamins C, D and E, and minerals that include magnesium, calcium and potassium.
If natural remedies fail, surgery may be the best option for the relief of a severe uterine prolapse. However, learning about all the surgical options available is important, since some are riskier than others. For instance, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued alerts warning that procedures that use transvaginal mesh implants to repair pelvic organ prolapse are associated with a high risk of serious complications. Thousands of women have reported problems that include mesh erosion, organ perforation, infection and mesh contraction, and many have required further surgery to relieve debilitating pain and health problems due to those complications. Many have sought justice through the filing of a vaginal mesh lawsuit against mesh manufacturers. So be sure to look into safer, non-mesh procedures.
Elizabeth Carrollton writes to inform the general public about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.