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Ask the Expert: Mesh slings for incontinence

Updated: Thursday, May 1 2014, 05:13 PM EDT
CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- Doctors at TriHealth  recently released a statement supporting the use of a common treatment for a common bladder problem in women.
In 2011 the the Food and Drug Administration issued a safety communication with warnings about the use of surgical mesh for repair of pelvic organ prolapse.  Since then there's also been a number of headlines and lawsuits related to these treatments as well.  But just  recently Doctor Rachel Pauls and a team of pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgeons issued a statement saying the use of surgical mesh is a safe and effective treatment for the majority of women who have "stress incontinence."

Dr. Rachel Pauls of TriHealth said, "This is all that goes under the urethra, a small strip like a shoe lace and it provides the support the woman needs to fix the problem."  She continued, "Stress incontinence is the kind of incontinence that occurs when a woman puts a stress on the walls of the bladder which can happen with anything from jumping, lifting, coughing , laughing."
Doctor Pauls says they issued the statement to try and clarify  pelvic organ prolapse, or POP as it's known.

"It's not stress incontinence, it's a different condition," Dr. Pauls said.

Local 12's medical reporter, Liz Bonis, asked, "So given this new information what is it that you feel it's most important for women to know?"

Dr. Pauls responded, "The FDA report really was targeting specific mesh kits for prolapse, not the slings for stress incontinence."

Doctor Pauls says it does not mean that the mesh can't be used for the treatment of other problems besides stress incontinence.  Her team just wanted to clarify one part of what she feels women should know.

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