A vaginal mesh is a medical device that is surgically implanted in women who are suffering from pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence. Originally created to correct abdominal hernias in the 1950s, the device can be made out of biological or synthetic materials and is designed to repair damaged or weakened tissue.
After years of great success, doctors started placing it transvaginally (through the vagina) in thousands of women. Unfortunately, many mesh-related complications arose, and these women are now facing some serious health conditions such as infection, erosion of the vaginal tissues, and organ perforation. This can lead to bleeding and pain during intercourse, as well as urinary problems.
Between 2005 and 2007, the FDA received 1,000 reports of complications related to these surgeries. Doctors were urged by the FDA to perform surgeries with extreme caution and warn their patients of the dangers. The reports of problems with transvaginal mesh came too late for hundreds of women. More than 40,000 lawsuits have been filed by women suffering from mesh complications, including recurrent pelvic organ prolapse, pelvic pain, pain during sex, vaginal scarring and
shortening, skin breakage, and vaginal shrinkage. In 2012, according to Drugwatch.com, Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon unit stopped selling four of its Gynecare mesh products after more than 600 women filed lawsuits against them. While the company stopped selling these products worldwide, it did not recall the mesh that had already been sold or implanted.
Many times the vaginal mesh is close to a major nerve called the pudendal nerve (the nerve responsible for innervating the pelvic floor). The mesh can affect this nerve, resulting in unwanted sensory and motor effects, including pelvic pain and pelvic muscle spasms. Complications from mesh are life-changing and can take a serious emotional toll on a woman.
So the question is, what should women do if they are suffering after having mesh implanted? Removal of the mesh implant is often the best solution to the devastating effects and the complications that arise. It’s important to consult a qualified urogynocologist to assess the situation.