Every day men and women are diagnosed with health issues that they may have heard of but know little about. Every day countless individuals search for answers to help themselves come to terms with these health issues. Fortunately in today’s cyber world, health information is much more accessible than it was years ago. Support structures for an abundance of diseases and syndromes are the norm, specialists within health fields help us narrow down our choices for treatment. Unfortunately for women with pelvic organ prolapse, symptoms that create a scenario of embarrassment as well as discomfort lend themselves to a hidden world of suffering that often goes on for years while this health condition progresses, impacting women from every angle, physical, social, sexual, emotional, and financial.
When I was first diagnosed with pelvic organ prolapse, I’d never heard of it. I’d never heard of urogynecologists, physicians who are the specialist for this health condition. I’d never heard of a pessary, a commonly used treatment device for POP. As a woman who had spent the bulk of her life researching aspects of health and being pro-active with her own, I was shocked to be diagnosed with a condition that I’d never heard of. I was frustrated. I was angry. As soon as I got home from that initial diagnosis, I started doing what I do best, researching. As I researched, I kept coming across the same phrase; it’s so common, it’s so common, it’s so common. If pelvic organ prolapse is so common, how come I’d never heard of it despite years of researching health issues? I knew immediately that I needed to write a book about pelvic organ prolapse so that other women in my position would have access to all of the information they needed to understand the causes, symptoms, and treatment options available for POP.
Pelvic organ prolapse is an extremely common female health issue that half of women over the age of 50 will experience; many younger women in their 30’s and 40’s have POP as well. Symptoms like urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, urine retention, abdominal pain, back pain, vaginal or rectal pressure, constipation, and painful intercourse are aspects of POP that women frequently experience. Because many of the symptoms of POP are too embarrassing to disclose to anyone, women suffer in silence while the condition progresses. I hear stories from women all the time that sound so familiar, women with fear, panic, anxiety, and physical pain in their voices. Many women worry about their relationship with their husbands, fearful that symptoms of POP will impact that relationship. Often women are too embarrassed to leave the house or attend a social gathering, apprehensive that POP issues will create an embarrassing situation for them in a public setting. We need to take pelvic organ prolapse out of the closet; women need to know that there are others experiencing the same symptoms, get a dialogue started, create a comfort zone so that women feel free to communicate these symptoms to their physicians to access treatment as well as enable them to connect with their husbands or significant others about what is happening within their bodies.
I’ve been so fortunate to have the opportunity to speak with many women about POP over the past year. It amazes me every day just how few women are familiar with pelvic organ prolapse and how often women that have heard of POP are misinformed. So much still needs to be done to create a realistic awareness pocket. POP is not an American women’s health issue, it is a global women’s health issue. Although statistics indicate that this health issue is more common in the 50+ category, I speak with too many women in their 30’s and 40’s to believe this is a health issue that occurs in mature women only. We need to change the awareness curve so that ALL women become familiar with the symptoms of POP at a much younger age; this will increase detection of pelvic organ prolapse and women who recognize signs can seek earlier, less aggressive treatment.
I try to utilize every tool I have access to in my quest to help women recognize and become familiar with POP. MedHelp.org graciously extended a hand to me in my quest; I am delighted to be a part of this inspiring community of health care advocates and professionals. I proudly tell people I meet that I affiliate with this amazing organization and truly believe that my connection to Medhelp.org will be a fruitful partnership in creating much needed awareness about pelvic organ prolapse, a health issue that far too many women don’t recognize and many that do have no idea what their treatment options are. I’m hopeful that women will find the Urogynecology Community that MedHelp.org has allowed me to establish a place to go to for the POP answers they seek. As this community evolves and grows, members will do what they do in other MedHelp Communities, reach out to each other with support and advice. Feedback between members of the health communities at MedHelp.org is as vital to the support aspect of these communities as it is for the health advice given. I am also hopeful that we can integrate APOPS groups (The Association for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support, a network of live, local support groups that I hope to assimilate with Medhelp.org) into user groups within the Medhelp community to enable the women within local regions to more easily share info with each other. If you'd like to join our POP community at the Urogynecology Forum or have a question or comment you'd like to post about pelvic organ prolapse, click on the link below.
NO ONE CAN HELP US AS MUCH AS WE CAN HELP OURSELVES