Boston Scientific’s transvaginal mesh had never been implanted in a human vagina before it was cleared by the FDA. It took several years before questions about how the mesh was cleared were raised. Meanwhile, women like Glenda were told that there was nothing wrong and to simply get used to it.
“I had problems with the transvaginal mesh sling right away,” says Glenda.It couldn’t get worse: the mesh was implanted to treat pelvic organ prolapse but her condition was much worse with the mesh. She had to wear a catheter for two months because she couldn’t urinate and even had to catheterize herself.
“I told my gynecologist that I couldn’t fully urinate and that the surgery made my POP worse. And I was in pain,” says Glenda. “He just said to be patient and it would get better. I can’t count how many times I complained to him before he referred me to a urologist. I thought there might be answers but the urologist gave the same old story - that it would get better.”
Glenda was at her wits’ end. She asked her family doctor for a referral to another urologist. “She brushed me off like my problems with this mesh were all in my head,” says Glenda. “It got to the point where I had nowhere to go. Because I was also suffering from pelvic pain she sent me to a pelvic wall specialist.” Finally someone gave Glenda answers, but it was good news and bad news.
“This specialist said that I had a lot of scar tissue from the transvaginal mesh but there was nothing she could do for me - she didn’t have the expertise to remove it but it had to come out. I now have an appointment on September 4 to see Dr. Bowling, who may be the only doctor in Tennessee qualified to get this mesh mess out of me.”
The damage this mesh has done to Glenda is tragic. And it has been horrible for her husband - they have been married since 1972. “I can’t have sex at all. I have no desire because it hurts,” Glenda explains. “And I had to take early retirement because I can’t stand or sit for any length of time - I worked in receiving for a department store.
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“I know my condition is getting worse. Something in my vagina feels rough; it constantly itches and scratches. It feels like a scouring pad, the kind you wash pots and pans with, hard and wiry. I have had countless bladder infections and it has caused a lot of stress in my marriage. How can doctors still put this mesh in women? It’s like they don’t care as long as they get money to do it. And I can’t believe these mesh manufacturers are still standing behind their product. I will get some satisfaction from a transvaginal mesh lawsuit but no amount of money can make my marriage problems go away.”