Although Lucy (not her real name) had problems just weeks after the mesh was implanted, one incident led to dire complications that started with the transvaginal mesh.
“Two years ago I was in Maui with my daughter and had a minor fall,” says Lucy, age 62. “I was more intent on getting up before other tourists saw me than worry about any damage. I had a few bruises and my hip hurt but we went about our day.”
Next morning Lucy started to hemorrhage vaginally. She drove to the nearest hospital, went to the bathroom and passed a huge blood clot. Lucy was scared - she thought it was an organ. “I was rushed into the ER operating room and stitched up. Apparently when I fell, the mesh tore the lining of my vagina,” Lucy explains.
“A week later at home I threw up and had diarrhea at the same time; then I started to hemorrhage rectally. I spent a week in hospital but they never found the cause. At the time I knew there were problems with transvaginal mesh but I didn’t want to go there. But now I had to do something because the doctors I saw didn’t know what to do. I also thought these doctors were conspiring - and I am not a conspiracy theorist. They don’t want to disagree with the doctor who implanted the mesh and nobody wants to deal with it.”
Lucy did find someone to deal with it. She started researching mesh removal and found Dr. Shlomo Raz at UCLA. He could see the mesh with a physical exam and followed up with an ultrasound. Lucy’s first surgery to remove the mesh is scheduled for October 15. She hasn’t even been able to eat properly in over a year: Dr. Raz has diagnosed her with systemic inflammation.
“Dr. Raz said my vaginal cavity is totally atrophied and he is expecting at least three surgeries to completely remove this mesh,” says Lucy.“I was very fortunate to see Dr. Raz. His assistant said he is very busy removing it in so many women. As well, his surgeries are reduced because he is training other doctors to remove it.”
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But even if Lucy wanted to, she can’t have sex. “Right after the mesh was put in, sex was uncomfortable and it just kept getting worse,” she says. My husband and I haven’t had sex in 10 years; it is a wonder he still likes me.” They have also sued American Medical Systems for loss of consortium.
“How dare these transvaginal mesh makers be allowed to put another new medical product on the market while they are still clearing up this mesh mess? I was one of their first guinea pigs back in 2005. And I am furious with them.”