June 1, 2024

I hope all of you in the northern hemisphere are enjoying early summer days, and perhaps making something delightful with strawberries, which are at their peak now. Every day I find myself in awe of and gratitude for all the magnificent foods gifted to us by our ancient farmers and natural farming traditions. Sending warm wishes to our southern hemisphere sisters too!

Whole Woman 101

We continue to have many post-hysterectomy women visit us on our community forum, whom we’re always happy to serve by answering questions and offering support. This has reminded me, however, to remind all of you that there is no surgical cure for prolapse. Generally speaking, the urogynecologists are not working in your best interests and will be more than happy to remove your uterus, suture the top of your vagina to your spine, implant a mesh sling under your urethra, and sit back and wait for their guaranteed annuity to kick in as you go through surgery after heartbreaking surgery.

I was a budding medical researcher during the 1990s, and watched the entire transvaginal mesh drama unfold. There was a steep learning curve to some of these deep and dangerous surgeries, and more than a few women bled to death on operating tables as femoral and iliac arteries were inadvertently severed. The surgeons prevailed however, and the operations became routine “cures” for pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence.

A highly specialized type of connective tissue, called fascia, sits in between the front vaginal and back bladder walls, and between the back vaginal and front rectal walls. Pelvic organs are constantly filling, emptying, and moving around, and it is fascia that allows the organs and vaginal walls to slide past each other to carry out their individual functions.

In traditional prolapse surgeries, called anterior and posterior colporrhaphy (“A&P repairs”), the vagina is dissected down the midline of front and back vaginal walls, a strip of vagina removed from front and back, and the wounds “plicated”, or gathered together and sutured closed.

Gynecology sees the vagina as a tree trunk, holding the uterus and ovaries up above. Therefore, it has to be made “stronger, smaller, tighter” to prevent organs from falling out a “hole” in the bottom of a “floor”. The idea is preposterous, as the vagina is a flattened tube that runs back to front. After colporrhaphy, the fascia is obliterated and the pelvic organs are obliged to move with the vaginal walls as one frozen block. You can imagine the level of symptoms that result.

I’ve always taught that doctors literally tell women the scars from colporrhaphy will act like barricades to prevent further prolapse. Such a statement is pretty hard to believe, and I remember feeling very validated when our wonderful WW practitioner, Karen Lee, told us her doctor told her that very thing! The reality is, these hundred-year-old operations never worked, and that is why the diabolical idea of implanting walls of transvaginal mesh arose in the first place.

Several years ago one of our customers from The Netherlands sent us an article on the subject. The article was in Dutch, so we used Google to translate, and were outraged to read that women in Holland were asking to be euthanized rather than go on living with transvaginal mesh. The reality is, polypropylene mesh is not inert in the body, but becomes brittle and begins to act like a hacksaw, cutting through surrounding tissues and organs. I am sorry to report these horrors, but such is the reality of “women’s health.”

The shocking truth is that no safety studies were ever conducted for the clinical use of transvaginal mesh. A bizarre loophole at the FDA, called “premarket notification” allowed only the mesh itself to be investigated, not the surgical method for implanting the stuff. Many years went by between FDA “approval” of transvaginal mesh implants, and the first published randomized clinical trials.

By 2011, millions of women around the world were greatly suffering from mesh implants. Class action lawsuits abounded and the public was up in arms. A widely publicized meeting was held at FDA headquarters in Washington DC, the outcome of which was issuance of an official FDA Safety Communication, which basically amounted to nothing.

Not until 2019 did the FDA finally take transvaginal mesh off the market. However, this did not include the strip of mesh used to tether the top of the post-hysterectomy vagina to the spine (sacrocolpopexy). Nor did it cover sub-urethral mesh slings used for urinary incontinence. Mesh slings are every bit as destructive as walls of transvaginal mesh, yet are marketed as “minimally invasive” and implanted in appalling numbers of women.

The vaginal mesh story is anything but over. While women are being blindly railroaded into new clinical trials (comparing the same old operations),1 pelvic surgeons have collected thousands of signatures in their fight for the continued use of transvaginal mesh in prolapse surgery.2

The Crux of the Problem

The official medical view on pelvic organ prolapse is as follows,

“Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and urinary incontinence are stressful and quality-of-life-limiting dysfunctions. Up to 50% of women who have given birth develop POP during the course of their lives. By 2050, more than 50 million women in the USA are expected to suffer from pelvic floor dysfunctions. Maintaining quality of life during old age is becoming increasingly important. Thus, there has been a rise in POP and urinary incontinence surgery in recent years.” 3

The medical perspective is that the female body is dysfunctional, that vaginal birth causes prolapse, and that surgery is the answer for maintaining quality of life into old age. Nothing could be further from the truth. Gynecology does not even have the core anatomy of the female body right, which makes all of their operations anatomically incorrect. Gynecology sees a horizontal vagina, sitting on top of a horizontal rectum, which sits on a horizontal pelvic floor. This is an almost 180º rotation from our actual anatomy!

Our daughters and granddaughters must be taught that prolapse is extremely common, is a structural problem with a structural solution, and that the medical system is a dark and dangerous place for women.

The Gift of Whole Woman Posture

I want to emphasize what a marvelous gift it is to live our whole life in our intended shape, where our breath is pushing our pelvic organs into the lower belly instead of backward toward the pelvic outlet. However, for many women it takes some work to get there. I had an online consultation a couple of weeks ago with a long-time WW follower whose symptoms were worsening. Gretchen is a very active swim coach, in great physical condition, and thought she was doing the WW work correctly. When I asked her to stand up, turn to the side and stand in her normal posture, I blurted out, “Stay right there, don’t move!” and grabbed a screen shot. Then I walked her through WW posture and took another shot. As they say, a picture says a thousand words and she was amazed at what she saw.

Can you see her shift her breathing into her midriff, and drop her organs into her lower belly? Thank you dear Gretchen for being our perfect WW model.

Etc…

Still working with a cataract, skin cancer, and my book. Hopefully will have all good news next month. Until then, stay in WW posture!

Best wishes always,

Christine Kent
Founder
Whole Woman


1 https://www.urotoday.com/recent-abstracts/pelvic-health-reconstruction/pelvic-prolapse/150478-transvaginal-mesh-or-grafts-or-native-tissue-repair-for-vaginal-prolapse.html

2 Ng-Stollmann N, Fünfgeld C, Gabriel B, Niesel A. The international discussion and the new regulations concerning transvaginal mesh implants in pelvic organ prolapse surgery. Int Urogynecol J. 2020 Oct;31(10):1997-2002. doi: 10.1007/s00192-020-04407-0. Epub 2020 Jul 21. PMID: 32696186; PMCID: PMC7497328.

3 Ibid.