Lindsey Killett

Lindsey Killett, a North Carolina native, is a graduate of the New York University (NYU) College of Global Public Health masters program. While attending NYU, she served as the Executive Director of the student led Health & Human Rights Association. Lindsey also interned with Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders and participated in the Population Health Innovation Lab. After graduating from East Carolina University with a B.S. in Public Health, Lindsey served at a community health center as an AmeriCorps Community Healthcorps member in Peekskill, NY. Lindsey plans to serve as a global health leader tackling infectious disease issues across the globe and access to healthcare. In her free time, Lindsey attends live concerts and is an avid foodie.



The Reason I Came to Nepal- What is Uterine Prolapse?

21 Jun

I am sure that many of you are wondering what uterine prolapse is (like I was when I saw it in The Advocacy Project fellowship application). Here you will get a glimpse into what uterine prolapse is and how it impacts the lives of Nepali women.

Definition

The descent or herniation of the pelvic organ, uterus, rectum or bladder into the vagina (Amnesty International ,2014); when the muscles (levator ani muscles/ pelvic floor) around the uterus weaken the and the uterus moves into the vagina.

Normal position of uterus.

Uterine: relating to the uterus (the female organ that develops eggs) or womb (Merriam-Webster)

Prolapse: out of place (Merriam-Webster)

Is Uterine Prolapse Treatable?

Yes. There are 4 stages of uterine prolapse and different ways to treat each stage.

  • Stage 1: uterus is in the upper half of the vagina; muscle strengthening exercise can prevent continued muscle weakness
  • Stage 2: uterus is at the opening of the vagina; a ring pessary is placed into the vagina to keep the uterus in place and support pelvic organs
  • Stage 3 & 4: uterus protrudes or is completely out of the vagina; pelvic floor repair surgery is done to tighten vagina walls or a hysterectomy is completed to remove the uterus.

    Severe uterine prolapse.

Do women die from this?

NO! But it still affects women’s DALYs (Disability-Adjusted Life Year) and in Nepal many women are abused due to their condition. More on this can be read: Vulvodynia: Is a ‘Depressed’ Vagina The Reason You Find Sex Painful?

Common Causes

  • Old age
  • Young child bearing age
  • Strain on pelvic muscles from obesity, heavy object lifting, constipation, or persistent coughing
  • High number of births and low periods between
  • Prolonged difficult labor
  • Malnutrition
  • Pushing down on abdomen during labor

*The causes in italics are common among Nepali Women*

Symptoms

  • Uterus protruding from vagina (severe cases); sometimes ulcers on prolapsed uterus
  • Backache
  • Difficulty carrying out daily tasks, walking, sitting, lifting objects
  • Difficulty urinating or defecating
  • Urine leaking
  • Sexual intercourse discomfort or difficulty
  • Discharge and strong odder from vagina

Barriers

  • Social Stigma/ Shame: Women avoid treatment because of fear that family and/or community members will hate and isolate them. Women have also experienced physical and emotional abuse.
  • Cultural Practices: Men have the authority to decide if a woman can seek health care in certain caste groups and communities. Women are in charge of heavy manual labor to sustain household income. Women are deemed useless if they are not able to bare children and work.
  • Lack of Health Care Access: Healthcare clinics are not available in every region of Nepal. For some the trip to a health clinic or hospital is too expensive. The trip and treatment would also require the women to take off work which reduces the household income.

(Amnesty International ,2014)

What is being done in Nepal?

The Nepali government mainly focuses on treatment of uterine prolapse. One way they ensure treatment is provided is through prolapse screening camps where surgery is given to women diagnosed with uterine prolapse. Monitoring and prevention of uterine prolapse is lacking however. Only focusing on treatment for uterine prolapse will not stop women from developing uterine prolapse. Also ignoring the issues surrounding uterine prolapse such as gender discrimination is a violation of international law.

During my fellowship I will explore how Care Women Nepal (CWN) is effectively addressing the issue of uterine prolapse through helping facilitate the Women’s Health Camp.

Posted By Lindsey Killett

Posted Jun 21st, 2018

10 Comments

  • Samantha Givens

    June 21, 2018

     

    Thank you Lindsey for such an interesting and educating post. This information is new to me and I appreciate learning from you!

    • Lindsey Killett

      June 25, 2018

       

      Thanks for reading! Happy it helped!

  • Ali West

    June 21, 2018

     

    Lindsey, this blog was extremely helpful in understanding just what uterine prolapse is. I have a much better understanding of the issue now thanks to you!

    • Lindsey Killett

      June 25, 2018

       

      Happy it helped! 🙂

  • Corinne Cummings

    June 21, 2018

     

    Hey Lindsey. Today’s blog post was extremely educational, before reading your posting, I was completely unaware of what a uterine prolapse was and the repercussions it consequently brings upon women. I have a couple of questions that I would like to ask, what is the age that women become most commonly experience a uterine prolapse in Nepal and around how many women suffer from this each year there? I am interested in this topic after reading your posting. Thank you for thoroughly explaining and providing a diagram for your readers–it made your post even easier to understand. Keep up the excellent work you are doing in Nepal; I look forward to reading your future posts. Best wishes, Corinne.

    • Lindsey Killett

      June 25, 2018

       

      Thanks for you questions! From previous research the median age that women first experience uterine prolapse is 26 (that’s my age!). It is very hard to track exactly how many women in Nepal experience uterine prolapse but a study from 2012 estimated that approximately 600,000 Nepali women suffer from the condition! Happy all of this was easy to understand!

  • Nity Jaiswal

    June 22, 2018

     

    This is a very informational blog, Gives a very clear picture of the issue. keep up the good work.

    • Lindsey Killett

      June 25, 2018

       

      Thank you! Happy you enjoyed!

  • Princia Vas

    June 29, 2018

     

    Amazing blog and very informational! Thank you for creating awareness about Uterine Prolapse through your blog 🙂

  • iain

    July 5, 2018

     

    Very clear and compelling description of a horrible condition. Love the fact that you took the time to answer comments….

Enter your Comment

Submit

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

 

Fellows

2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003