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Transvaginal Mesh—A Colossal Mess

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New York, NYJackie was furious, to say the least, when she discovered the extent of transvaginal mesh lawsuits now being filed. "I wasn't given any options other than this transvaginal mesh," says Jackie, "and now, so many aspects of my life are ruined because of it."

Jackie has been suffering from this transvaginal mesh (TVM) ever since her surgery in 2005. And now she is facing another surgery, possibly to have the mesh removed. Jackie had a TVM procedure to treat pelvic organ prolapse (POP); the procedure implants a mesh sling system to support the pelvic organs—most commonly a fallen bladder.

Like most people, Jackie trusted her doctor. And like most people, she didn't think there was any need to research TVM beforehand. Had she done some homework, however, Jackie would never have agreed to the procedure. For instance, one Transvaginal mesh study by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (February 2011) raised a number of concerns about the safety of transvaginal mesh procedures. Jackie says she "really was unaware that this could cause so many problems until I went online…

"My doctor told me that this procedure was the only thing that could be done for my dropped bladder," says Jackie. "Since that time I've had a lot of auto-immune problems, I'm always tired and of course it has ruined my sex life. This mesh has really affected me, both physically and mentally—I was so sick after the surgery that I even lost my job because I had to take so much time off work.

"I have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and now my doctor is checking me for Lupus. I never had any of these problems before surgery. Since June I have been given nine different prescriptions for antibiotics and none of them have worked. And of course I'm dealing with the side effects from the meds. And to top it all off my bladder has dropped again, so why go through all this in the first place?

"As for the surgery, it is supposed to be 'outpatient'—a simple procedure, but I couldn't even go up and down steps for days because it was so painful and I had to stay at my daughter's house—which wasn't fun! Anyway, my kids are fed up with hearing me say that I don't feel good and I am tired of it too.

"Why didn't my OB/GYN give me the options? I looked at other transvaginal mesh treatments available for chronic bladder problems and it doesn't have to be this kind of mesh. Doctors shouldn't do this procedure if they think there is something wrong and it seems that something going wrong with TVM is a common occurrence—it is a foreign substance in your body after all. Why didn't they use my own skin?

"My OB/GYN said the surgery needs to be redone. I have an appointment next week to see my urologist, and I am going to ask him to look at the mesh. If I do need to get this mesh removed—and that seems likely—I'm now putting this job in jeopardy because it will mean a few more months off work…"

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READER COMMENTS

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After seeing my urologist he told me that the mesh had cut into my bladder and that the skin actually had started to grow over what was left. This means that the mesh can not be removed. The mesh has totally failed and my bladder is now worse than it was before. I have been told that more surgery will be needed to fix the prolapse and I have already had two surgeries to put a device in to try and help contract my bladder since it seems to have stopped doing that. I have constant bladder and kidney infections and then the medicine they give me for that gives me yeast infections. Now there are only around two antibiotics that work on me from taking them so much. To top all of this I can honestly say I will never have a sex life again because it is too painful.

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