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Transvaginal Mesh Nightmare—from Sexual to Financial Problems

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Warrenton, VAAfter having two children, Kathy, age 45, had incontinence issues so her doctor said the solution was to have a transvaginal mesh sling procedure. Unfortunately, Kathy trusted her doctor, just as doctors trust the makers of transvaginal mesh to treat Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) and Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP).

"My doctor explained that a transvaginal sling will lift the bladder and take the pressure off, which would treat my SUI," says Kathy. "It actually worked for a while but over time the incontinence came back and I noticed a nasty odor; I thought I had some kind of infection. So I went back to my doctor. (By the way, she had done many of these TVM surgeries.)

"Over the next few years she kept examining me and giving me prescriptions for the bacterial vaginitis or whatever she thought it was. Every time I went on this med it helped for a week or so then the odor would come back full force. And this issue was draining me financially. The medication wasn't covered under my insurance and it cost $100 for each prescription; plus I had surgery and doctor bills to pay.

"I was dating someone at the time and there were some sex issues—I had abdominal cramping and sex was uncomfortable, but the worst problem was that the smell was so embarrassing. 'It feels like you have pipe cleaners in there,' said my boyfriend after we had sex. As you can imagine, this mesh really affected how I felt about myself; I sunk to a new low, it was devastating.

"I went back to my doctor again and told her what my boyfriend said about the pipe cleaner reference and asked her if there was any way my body could be rejecting this material. She laughed at me! (I talked to my attorney about a medical malpractice suit; unfortunately the statute of limitations had passed.)

"So I went to another doctor who asked me a few questions; she didn't even examine me and said, 'It sounds like your body is rejecting the mesh.'

"About one year ago I had reversal surgery—my new doctor removed all the mesh. This transvaginal mesh was laying on my urethra and it would have actually cut through my urethra if I left it any longer. I would have wound up with toxic poisoning, additional surgery and, if it was bad enough, I might be wearing a bag today.

"I have not had one infection since the reversal surgery. Now I am back to being incontinent again but the trade off is worth it: So what if I wet my pants when I laugh, I can handle that.

"After I broke up with my boyfriend, he mentioned how awful it was to be with me that way [having sex]—I was crushed. This infection smelled like feces; I can't think of any other word to describe it—like I was rotting inside. I could even smell it sitting at my desk.

"When my doctor explained to me that my body was rejecting this mesh, I thought it was something I was going through personally and not anyone else. Then my daughter saw an ad on TV and said this TVM is a huge issue and has harmed so many women. I was shocked…

"It also affected me financially—I had my own home at the time and all my money was sunk into medication and doctor bills. By the time it was all paid off, I was behind in my mortgage payments and ended up losing my home—it was like a domino affect for me. Now I live with my oldest daughter and I can't find a job. I blame most of my financial problems on that original surgery…"

Kathy has retained an attorney who is looking into her medical records to determine the manufacturer of the transvaginal mesh. Several lawsuits have been filed against a number of manufacturers, including C.R. Bard , the manufacturer of Bard Avaulta mesh, claiming the Bard Avaulta System is defective.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
What doctor did your surgery? They were able to do a full mesh removal? Was the surgery recovery longer or more difficult than the initial mesh implant surgery? Did they got through the vagina or have to make other incisions?

Any complications since this article? Did you need any reconstruction used?

Posted by

on
Hi,
I would like to hear from women that have had the mesh removed by Dr. Veronikis in St. Louis. I have read several great results on line but I would like to speak with someone personally. I would just like to know about their results and how the process works. I'm nervous about all of this. I've read that the reversal surgery is not always positive.

Thanks.

Posted by

on
I too had this pelvic sling put in about 2008 or so. Within the last two years I keep getting the same disgusting smell from that area. My doctor initially said it was my job was fairly sedentary and because there is moisture bacteria grows there. This smell however did not start until about two years ago and I have generally always had a fairly sedentary job. I appreciate the post of these women. I will be heading to a different OBGYN and mention this. To me the smell is embarrassing and I almost hate to date anyone because I am worried they can smell it or worse yet feel it. I don't know if it is too late to connect with a lawyer about one of these class action lawsuits or not but, you can be sure I will be asking.

thanks,

Posted by

on
This story is so very much like my own experience . My Boyfriend told me i smelled like a Dead Rat. Emagine how I felt. He too felt pain during intercorse.

Posted by

on
I did not have this particular mesh used in my body, but one was put into my abdomen, and had to be redone, due to what I have been told was Gangrene? The stomach became blackened, painful, and like a rock, covering all of my lower abdomen. They did another surgery, replacing the previous mesh, and removing my navel as well. When I tried to get help, I was told that I had poor hygene, which caused the problems, However, I was at home, with constant nursing service, for a very long time. They cared for every aspect of home care, which also took care of the affected area, as well as seeing to my hygiene needs. The first surgery, was to remove my stomach, which had cancer throughout, and my life was in the balance. What I need to know, is why am I not entitled to assistance with my case pertaining to this, when I was not at fault?? My abdomen looks as though I went through a war, and has always been very painful for me. I am in constant pain, and just receive more pain pills, and no solution to the problem! Please let me know what my chances are for all of this...I even have the nurse's file, but don' know its contents at the moment. Thank you, for your attention. Sincerely, Carol M PS. - I just don't know why I have to suffer for someone else's errors.

Posted by

on
I had the operation for the vaginal mesh, a few years ago, I suffer with pain sometimes that wakes me out of my sleep.

I also suffer with a bacteria, problem everytime I look up they tell me I have a bacteria infection, at one point I blamed my husband for the problem. Which lead to a divorce, I still suffer with the problem and I am not having sex in the last year or so.

I not sure what to do at this point. I trusted them to help with the problem, which seem to bring other problems so far.

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