“My gynecologist told me that, along with a hysterectomy and rectal seal, I was getting a transvaginal mesh sling that would stay implanted permanently and never move,” says Donna. “I had very difficult periods so it was a relief after surgery not to be bleeding all the time.”
The relief was short-lived. Donna and her husband waited the stipulated six weeks to have sex but it was too painful—for both parties. “My husband said the surgery closed me up,” Donna explains. “He felt something inside me that he couldn’t get through—my vagina was about two inches long!”
To make matters worse, Donna wasn’t insured—she couldn’t afford to go back to her gynecologist. She didn’t know where to turn and was too embarrassed to discuss the problem with her regular doctor. “He asked me if everything went well with the surgery but I wasn’t truthful with him—I didn’t want to tell him about sexual problems because I was humiliated,” she says. “I did anything to avoid talking about it. He asked if I wanted a colonoscopy but I lied and told him that I already had one.”
Donna says that the only time she had any issues before getting this AMS (American Medical Systems—one of several transvaginal mesh manufacturers) Sling was when she sneezed or laughed really hard— typical symptoms of Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP). But that should have been treated with AMS mesh.
“Soon after the surgery I began to get infections—bladder and urinary,” Donna says. “My doctor gave me antibiotics but you can’t keep taking them. I have this feeling that things are wrapped up too tight. It is like my organs are too close; there isn’t enough room for them to move. Does this sound crazy? It’s really difficult to describe these problems with this TVT sling. It feels like a have a full bladder but can’t pee and when I want to go, nothing will happen—I have no control. When I have to pee or poop I don’t know what it is: I don’t have any feeling, just tension. It is like my body processes are all screwed up. Now I have lower back pain going all the way down my legs.
"The first thing I do when I go anywhere is locate the bathroom because I don’t know when I’ll have to ‘go’ and I barely have enough time to get to the bathroom. If I do go out, I can’t have anything to drink after noon--eating is OK.
"I am really mad at my gynecologist and mad at American Medical Systems—apparently they knew about TVM problems all along. Now I am trying to find a doctor to remove it but so far, they have basically dismissed me. So I am also mad at all these doctors who ignore me. Why can’t they understand that this mesh has to be taken out? A few of them asked why I waited so long; I didn’t have insurance but now I do.
"Even with insurance, I can’t find a urologist/gynecologist to remove it so I am at a standstill. My urologist said my problem is due to scar tissue but she also said it could have been due to aggressive surgery. Now my concern is that this mesh is causing all this scar tissue.
"I wonder if an AMS lawyer can also help me find a doctor to take out this mesh, but if I do find a surgeon to remove it, who pays for it? I finally went back to my gynecologist when we were insured. She said I just have to learn how to have sex with a two-inch vagina. She suggested I take Premarin hormone replacement cream but it is too expensive: I got it once but it takes a long time to kick in and I don’t have the money to continue with it. Besides, even if it did work, it isn’t going to make me better.
"I’m hopeful that an AMS transvaginal mesh lawsuit will allow me to find a doctor to replace this TVM sling—I just want to be the way I was before this surgery.”
READ MORE AMS TRANSVAGINAL MESH LEGAL NEWS
• AMS Elevate Prolapse Repair System
• AMS Apogee Vault Suspension System
• AMS Perigee System
• AMS Monarc Sling System
• AMS Sparc Sling System
The first vaginal mesh on the market was called Uratape--a silicone coated sub-urethral product. It was later withdrawn, however, due to a high incidence of vaginal mesh extrusion and was replaced with vaginal mesh slings that are now being implanted in women with POP and other problems.