1 out of 10 women suffer some sort of pelvic prolapse in their lifetime.1Three times as many suffer from urinary incontinence.2
So how is it that so few people are aware of these serious and debilitating conditions? Let's start a conversation about pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, and the role pelvic mesh can play to help the women who must deal with them.

Facts about pelvic organ prolapse and stress urinary incontinence

Stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse happen when a woman's muscles are weakened. This happens all too often from pregnancy, childbirth and even growing older. Stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse are serious, debilitating conditions that cause daily suffering for adult women. The effects can be both emotional and physical-from such things as the embarrassment of involuntary urine leakage to avoidance of daily and social activities to pelvic discomfort that can make intercourse impossible to, in some people, chronic pain.


Approximately 50% of woman who have given birth have some degree of pelvic organ prolapse or incontinence.2,3


In fact, by age 80, more than one out of every ten women will have undergone surgery for prolapse.4


Studies show different rates, but it is suggested that 30% to 40% of women are afflicted with some type of urinary incontinence, and some of these will ultimately need surgical repair.2,4

Pelvic mesh in the form of a midurethral sling remains the primary surgical option to treat stress urinary incontinence. Pelvic mesh has also been used for decades to treat vaginal vault prolapse and the sacrocolpopexy has been established as the gold standard for this type of prolapse. With limited effective treatment options for other types of prolapse, physicians have typically offered mesh devices as an option to women who have significantly weakened tissues and associated prolapse, to those with comorbidities that limit their treatment options, or those who have failed previous (native tissue) pelvic floor repairs.

home bottom

What's pelvic organ prolapse?

This serious condition occurs when the supportive muscles and tissues of the pelvis become weak, causing the organs inside the pelvis to drop from their natural positions. Pelvic organ prolapse is often linked to vaginal delivery and strain during childbirth and can be made worse by anything that puts prolonged pressure on the pelvis (e.g. chronic obstructive lung disease, obesity, constipation).

Pelvic organ prolapse is associated with a wide range of symptoms ranging from minor to severe, including pain, urinary and bowel dysfunction (incontinence, bladder over activity, impaired sexual function, bladder infections and bulging tissue).

What's stress urinary incontinence?

Stress urinary incontinence is a common condition where an involuntary release of urine can occur from coughing, sneezing, or even laughing among other things. Sudden movements from the diaphragm increases the pressure inside the abdomen which puts stress on the bladder, and due to weakened muscles and support, this can cause leakage.

Stress urinary incontinence can have a significant impact on women's lives, and often requires them to wear pads to manage symptoms. Some women may be forced to stop exercise and other activities, stop attending social events, plan activities around restroom availabilities and drink fewer fluids. Simple, everyday tasks like lifting objects or engaging in physical activity become difficult or impossible as well as worrisome for many women with stress urinary incontinence.

  • 1Olsen A, Smith V, Bergstrom J, et al. Epidemiology of Surgically Managed Pelvic Organ Prolapse and Urinary Incontinence, Obstetrics & Gynecology 1997:501-506
  • 2Nitti VW. The Prevalence of Urinary Incontinence. Reviews in Urology. 2001; 3(Suppl 1):S2-S6. PMID: 16985992
  • 3Barber MD, Maher C. Epidemiology and outcome assessment of pelvic organ prolapse. IntUrogynecol J 2013; 24:1783.
  • 4Wu JM, Matthews CA, Conover MM, Pate V, Jonsson Funk M. Lifetime risk of stress urinary incontinence or pelvic organ prolapse surgery. Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Jun; 123(6):1201-6. PubMed PMID: 24807341. PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4174312