How Vaginal Mesh Affects Women’s Health

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From Guest Blogger: Jen Juneau

Vaginal mesh has been a hot topic for a while now. The mesh, which treats prolapse and stress urinary incontinence, was modeled after a similar product used to treat hernias successfully for years. But it was never tested for vaginal placement. And according to a 2011 FDA report, women with mesh face side effects including but not limited to vaginal erosion and organ perforation.

Though there are many accounts of (even vaginally placed) mesh working successfully for women, there are also tons of stories scattered across the Internet about lawsuits filed because of the adverse effects of vaginal mesh. Here are just a couple:

Case 1: Christine Scott

In July 2012, a jury awarded 53-year-old Christine Scott and her husband $5.5 million due to permanent damage caused by vaginal mesh. Medical-equipment manufacturer C.R. Bard and Scott’s doctor were held responsible for the damage Scott experienced, which not only caused an extensive amount of pain but interfered with her runner lifestyle.

Scott has since launched a website, MeshGoneWrong.com. She writes blogs spreading the word about the dangers of vaginal mesh, support groups and events she leads, interviews with others affected by mesh and more. She also discusses the day-to-day challenges of mesh complications; for her, these have included fecal incontinence, the impossibility of having a routine or normal sex life, constant pain (both physical and emotional), vaginal scarring and mesh erosion.

Christine’s relief efforts have consisted of nerve block shots to ease her pain, ensuring she sits on softer surfaces, and simply accepting her lack of routine as “the new normal.” She insists on staying optimistic, and notes that all cases are different – that there is “no cookie cutter treatment for us all.”

Case 2: Teresa Sawyer

Teresa Sawyer had a vaginal mesh implant – specifically, a TVT bladder sling – inserted to treat incontinence. She was told it would be a quick and routine fix, and she’d be back to normal in just a few days. However, within a month of the surgery, the implant was being rejected by her body and, as her husband, David, says, “literally coming out of her” – it had eroded through her vaginal wall.

Although Teresa was eventually able to have most of the implant removed, it took five surgeries, enduring infection, many visits to doctors whom David claims humiliated her, physical and emotional pain and falling behind on payments for the Sawyers’ new home to pay medical bills. They are also taking legal action – for the awareness benefit, not the money.

“That’s what lawsuits and the law are about: You need to be made whole,” Teresa told Drugwatch.com. “There are plenty of things you can’t forget, like the trauma, the depression or losing your husband.”

Teresa and David launched TVT-No!, a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading awareness and helping women suffering from vaginal mesh complications. TVT-No! promotes emotional healing through healthy grieving, forgiveness and the willingness to move forward.

 

Jen Juneau is a content writer for Drugwatch.com. She is versed in technical writing, creative writing and everything in between. To learn more about mesh complications check our new Drugwatch Radio page for a discussion on the topic.

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