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Transvaginal Mesh: Hold the Sex

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Kingston, ONMarion remembers well the first time she had sex with her husband after having a transvaginal mesh sling procedure to correct urinary incontinence. Like so many other women with transvaginal mesh problems, sex meant pain. "My husband said, 'I've never hurt anybody in my life unless I hit them over the head with a hockey stick,'" says Marion, laughing. "Now we hardly ever do it."

Transvaginal mesh problems, such as mesh erosion is no laughing matter, as Marion (not her real name) knows only too well. She had the TVT sling surgery back in 2006—almost six years ago. Right after the surgery she knew something was wrong.

"The first time my husband and I tried to have intercourse after the surgery it was too painful," says Marion. "I bled a great deal and still do, so I went back to my gynecologist in Ottawa. He wasn't there so I saw the resident and she more or less dismissed me. At the time I couldn't understand what was wrong with her—her attitude was so blasé. 'If you want, we can take it out,' she said. Wow, I just wanted to make sure everything was OK. It was late on Friday afternoon, so maybe she was cranky and tired. Anyway, I saw my doctor a few months later, hoping to get some answers.

"But Dr. Baker was also dismissive. I just wanted him to take a look and he said everything was fine. Then I saw my own GP because I know there is something wrong—my lower stomach feels very strange. But I had vaginal ultrasounds and nothing appeared abnormal.

"Still, I never stopped worrying. Then a few months ago we were in Florida and I saw an ad on TV about this transvaginal mesh. Ohmigod, my problem is real! Now I know I am not going crazy.

"When I came home, I saw a gynecologist in Kingston. She said I was really dry and that is why intercourse is painful: Funny it didn't hurt until I had the TVM sling. I'm supposed to try this cream for two weeks; it has been one week and I haven't 'tried it out' yet. She also said I should have another ultrasound done in the Kingston hospital this time, so I have an appointment next week. I requested an MRI but I will get the ultrasound first.

"All I remember before having this TVT sling is getting a little blue book that explained the procedure for stress incontinence. I was so glad at first because the surgery was successful, but that soon changed. I am so annoyed because before I knew what was wrong, I spent so much time worrying what on earth could be wrong with me and going to my doctors. You can't help but wonder what else is wrong.

"How can this transvaginal mesh still be on the market? I just don't get it. As I understand from my research, the medical community is close-mouthed, but it isn't really their fault, and I don't blame my doctors. I believe they get sold a bill of goods by the makers of medical devices like this TVT. It is despicable."


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