Anne has suffered many complications from the Avaulta transvaginal mesh, including additional surgeries for erosion of the mesh and sling within a year of her initial surgery in 2007. "My problems are so much worse now than before that first surgery," says Anne. "Because I am dealing with constant pain and incontinence, I'm also suffering from depression, fatigue, abdominal swelling and lower leg and ankle swelling. And I've been out of work for almost a year."
Although Renee, age 52, didn't have a transvaginal mesh sling, she says the same kind of mesh was used for her hernia sling surgery. "I read a number of articles about this mess and thought TVM was a different thing but that's not the case," she says.
For the past three years Renee has also had nothing but problems from this polypropylene mesh, from bladder prolapse to cysts on her ovaries. "It feels like there's a metal screen popping through my lower right abdominal area and my vaginal area feels like sandpaper," she says. "No matter how many antibiotics I'm prescribed I can't shake these infections (including yeast infections from the meds), or low-grade fever so now I have to consider getting this mesh removed. Right now I feel like I'm on fire with this mesh—it burns when I urinate and there is a lot of vaginal burning."
And it gets worse for Renee: she says her thyroid problems started right after the mesh surgery—too coincidental? "My urologist said my thyroid is shutting down because toxins have destroyed it—due to so many meds and steroids I've been on these past few years. Next week I'm having surgery to remove my thyroid. A biopsy showed seven nodules—the radiologist said he typically sees a few nodules on the thyroid but it is unusual to see seven.
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"I want to get this mesh removed but first I have to find someone to do it. My surgeon said he could take it out. He also said, 'You will leak all over the place—is that what you want?' I'll take leakage over all these complications…
"It amazes me that this mesh, including transvaginal mesh, is on the market. I can only surmise that the TVM manufacturers invested so much into their product that they have to sell it. It certainly doesn't seem like they are advocating for the general public. And I figure my doctor knows there is something really wrong with this mesh sling—he must know the adverse effects. He used to spend an hour or so with me in his office and now he only gives me a few minutes."