By Sherrie Palm 

I was so hopeful that the FDA transvaginal mesh agenda and the avalanche of TV commercials regarding class action lawsuits would shift pelvic organ prolapse out of the closet and onto the front page of the media.  Sadly the media blitz fizzled and died before a dialogue about POP, the significant platform behind the story, had a chance to blossom. Until we find a way to get pelvic organ prolapse a spot in the limelight of national media, it is going to be a battle to create necessary recognition on a broad spectrum.

There isn’t a day goes by that I don’t think about the layers of POP that need to be addressed. We have so much work ahead to shift awareness of pelvic organ prolapse.  I wonder why screening for pelvic organ prolapse isn’t a part of routine pelvic exams. I wonder why there isn’t extensive research into layers of pelvic organ prolapse when over 3 million women in the US and millions more worldwide suffer daily. I wonder how we can address the impact to women in the work field who need to navigate extra time needed in the bathroom with their supervisors. So much needs to change.

Step one is creating significant recognition. Although the media steers clear of POP in general, at some point a brave female media mogul suffering with POP will recognize the need to talk about this common, cryptic health condition out loud. Once a media venue jumps on board, and others recognize that they missed the story of the century, more will follow and the level of recognition will shift. Step two is getting all avenues that address aspects of pelvic organ prolapse together to compare notes and find the common denominators, healthcare practitioners, support vehicles, education platforms.

We’ll get there one day at a time. Pelvic organ prolapse is without a doubt the biggest secret in women’s health. It has been on medical record since ancient times, even the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates, was brave enough to document it. There is so much graphic detail in movies and television these days yet the networks are too squeamish to talk about a women’s health condition that likely impacts the broadest demographic of any other; with vaginal childbirth and menopause as the 2 leading causes of POP, the risk factor is significant for nearly all women.

As our voices shift recognition, shift screening, shift legislation, shift research, we’ll slowly change how the world at large views and evaluates pelvic organ prolapse. We are all in this together.


April 2012