I’ve often thought about what I wish I knew before I had surgery with mesh. It’s hard for me to imagine, because so many doctors are still using, and promoting the use of mesh tape for SUI (Stress Urinary Incontinence), in spite of FDA warnings, 100,000+ lawsuits, and a record number of reported complications. But, what if doctors DID warn people upfront about all the risks? What it they just really laid it all out on the table for you, and just told the TRUTH, in no uncertain terms, about using surgical mesh (tape) for your SUI?
I mean, what if my implanting doctor had said to me,
“Well, ya know, if this works… Great!
You won’t pee when you sneeze, or when you laugh!
And you will be able to jump up and down on a trampoline and never have to worry about wearing a pad again!! =)
YAY! right?? Right!! =)
And, we really DO think it will work.
Just so ya know… if it DOESN’T work… ?? ummmm……?? Wellllll –
I should probably warn you that you might never walk normally again, if at all,
aaaaaand you could be in constant severe pain…
you also just might get really sick with chronic infections…
but, really, it’s actually MUCH more likely that it will just erode through your vaginal wall, causing pain, infections, oh yeah…. and you probably won’t be able to have sex…
but before you realize that, your husband or significant other might just have to find that out the hard way. That’s right… some men report being able to “feel” the mesh during intercourse, and some even have been cut by it when the mesh erodes into the vagina.
Did I mention the soft mesh is made out of polypropylene? Which is a form of plastic, and so once inside your body it hardens and turns into more like a wire screen-like consistency, with sharp jagged edges. Yeah, it’s true.. looks like a piece of screen from your window, and, well, it could possibly work it’s way through your vaginal wall.. or into your colon, bladder, nerves, muscles, or other soft tissues…… *shudder*
Of course, we certainly HOPE this doesn’t happen to you!
BUT….. you probably should know that the FDA put out a warning in July 2011 that said complications are NOT rare.
So, yeah… “not rare”…? What exactly does that mean? We don’t really know. “Not rare”. ? I know, right? Vague, but still doesn’t sound good, huh?
And, get this… if you DO have any of these problems? Well, you might just have to deal with it because we don’t really know a lot about this, and there’s a lot of mixed messages out there. There’s not really very many doctors that have a lot of experience removing it once it’s in there... because, you know, it’s not really SUPPOSE to be removed.
Personally? I wouldn’t dream of removing it… so, don’t look at me if there’s a problem! You see, it literally “meshes” with your tissues and errr… stuff… so, it’s very tricky to remove it once it does that, let me tell you!
Most women who do need it removed because of complications wind up needing to have multiple surgeries to remove it… often resulting in more complications, and often permanent damage. Terrible, I know…
What’s worse is there are some docs that might even just tell you that you’re crazy and wash their hands of you when they don’t know what to do to “fix” the mesh of a mess you’re in, rather than refer you to an expert who maybe CAN remove it all. Not me. I wouldn’t do that, but I hear it happens…
…but, listen, about that “expert” that can actually remove all the mesh? Well, they are probably no where near where you live anyway… probably “out of your network”… and also booked solid for months and months… so, good luck getting to see them! And besides, by then, you may or may not still have a job or health insurance anyway. So, yeah.. that sucks even more I guess right?… Yeah.. well…. Sorry to have to tell you all that… but… well?… *sigh*
WHEW!! Do I feel better getting all THAT out in the open!!
Now, back to if it DOES work…
Did I mention you will actually be able to jump up and down on a trampoline again without a wearing a pad! And SNEEZE or LAUGH without leaking any pee!!
Won’t THAT be cool?! =)
You BET it will be!
So!?! What do you say? Are ya ready to do this??
Let’s do this!!”
Can you imagine if your doctor was this honest? Yes, I wrote this tongue in cheek. I have to amuse myself with sarcasm and humor. I only WISH my implanting doctor was cool enough to have said all this to me. If he had, I sure as hell would NOT have had the surgery. Call me chicken… but, I’m pretty sure I would have ran like hell. Which reminds me, I really MISS being able to run like hell!
Anyway, unfortunately no… no one mentioned all these serious “not rare”, terrible risky, complications to me beforehand! Granted, no one mentioned the trampoline either… but, I thought it.. and, well, you get the gist.
Now, maybe, “they” didn’t need to “warn” me, because the FDA specifically talks about POP and not SUI mesh surgeries? Maybe, they didn’t even know about the FDA warnings? I don’t know. All I do know is that the more I learn about MESH and hear first hand from women suffering such terrible complications – not to mention the longer I deal with my own pain and problems walking (which really isn’t THAT long compared to a lot of women), the more frustrating it all is.
I’m not saying women who have SUI should not seek treatment. They should. But, surgery should be the last resort. Non-surgical options for POP and SUI include pelvic floor therapy, and pessaries. Many women have great success with these methods, yet these non-invasive options are often not even mentioned or discussed with patients prior to surgery. When surgery IS required, women should know there are NON-MESH surgical alternatives. These are the “traditional methods” that the FDA was referring to when they said there wasn’t any evidence that mesh worked any better than “traditional repair surgeries”. Of course no surgery is without risks, but using transvaginal mesh brings many additional risks, like mesh erosion, to the table.
To me, using mesh for SUI is sort of like someone with yellow teeth wanting whiter teeth, but using a product that has a “not rare” risk of making all your teeth fall out, and maybe your face melt off too. But, hey… ya might have a great smile IF it works. ?! Besides, it won’t kill ya.. so, it’s not life-threatening… you can LIVE with NO teeth, can’t ya ?!?
Ok, maybe that’s not the best analogy, but again… you get the gist, right??
The above text is mostly pulled from one of my first posts I wrote back in 2012, when I was first coming to terms with what I was learning about mesh, and what was happening to me after my mesh sling instert for SUI… Full post at: https://meshmenot.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/mesh-definitely-risky-for-pop-but-for-sui-eh-it-might-be-ok-still-right/
- Top 10 Things to Know About Mesh BEFORE Having Surgery for POP or SUI
- Doctors Promoting “New” Mesh
- AUGS – Addressing mesh complications and helping patients? or just defending mesh?
- Lawyer Ads are NOT enough! We need HELP!
- Are you a GOOD mesh? Or a BAD mesh?
- FDA warns there is NO evidence that mesh provided any greater clinical benefit than non-mesh surgeries
- Is it Just Transvaginal Mesh Causing Problems?
- SIMS (Single-incision Mini-slings) Cause Mesh Complications Too
- Why is it Okay to Use Mesh For SUI, but Too Risky for POP?
- Are you Sick and Tired of Lawyer Ads about MESH?
- Top 10 Myths Woman are Told Today about Pelvic Mesh
- Finding the Right Doctor for Surgical Mesh Complications
- BROCHURES & HANDOUTS – Hernia Mesh Complications Brochure.pdf
- BROCHURES & HANDOUTS – Pelvic Mesh Complications Brochure.pdf
- Women’s POP/SUI TVMesh Complications Support (Closed Group)
- Fighters And Survivors of All Transvaginal Mesh And Hernia Mesh/Plugs (Closed Group)
- Mesh Me Not -Upstate NY (Closed Group)
- Mesh Problems (PUBLIC/OPEN TO ALL, including doctors, etc)
- More resources listed on the footer/main page of this blog!