Pelvic organ prolapse is primarily a childbirth-related injury, and leads to the bulging of pelvic organs like the uterus, bladder and sometimes bowel. Hadas Birhane is a 36-year-old Ethiopian woman who suffered from such a severe form of the condition that her womb hung eight centimeters outside of her vaginal opening.
I met Hadas on my recent surgical teaching trip to Mekelle, Ethiopia, on behalf of the Worldwide Fistula Fund and the Footsteps to Healing program at Oregon Health & Science University. Hadas is one of many rural Ethiopian women who silently suffer from this condition. A preliminary ongoing survey of three regions in Ethiopia estimates that 5,000 to 6,000 women have obstetric fistulas, while over 250,000 suffer from pelvic organ prolapse. Vaginal delivery, especially in the event of obstructed and prolonged labor, increases the chance that women will suffer from the condition."
Read article by Nicholas Kristof from The New York Times.