Two women were told they could no longer have sexual intercourse with their partners after suffering complications related to their transvaginal mesh.
“We’ve not got a sex life. It’s actually taken a toll on my marriage,” Linda, whose name was changed, told BBC. “I don’t even go to the doctor. I don’t even bother.”
Both women were implanted with transvaginal mesh, a type of surgical mesh used to treat pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, common conditions that affect women due to childbirth, age or weight gain. Both women say they were injured by the devices and live in constant pain. They are not alone.
Thousands of women both in the United Kingdom and the United States have suffered injuries after being implanted with transvaginal mesh, also known as vaginal mesh, transvaginal tape or a bladder sling. Reports of complications led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a safety announcement warning that injuries with transvaginal mesh were not uncommon and could lead to multiple surgeries, hospitalizations and even death.
The most common problems with transvaginal mesh include erosion into surrounding tissue and protrusion into organs. Transvaginal mesh side effects include chronic pain, disability, hemorrhaging, infections, incontinence, and painful sexual intercourse. It can take numerous surgeries to remove the mesh and, even then, a full recovery is not guaranteed.
“You go in thinking that they’re competent enough to fix you,” Shona Trainer told BBC. However, after four surgeries to remove the mesh, “I’m worse than I was in the beginning.”
Many women around the world have filed lawsuits against manufacturers of transvaginal mesh claiming the companies knew their devices were defectively designed but they continued to market them to doctors and patients despite the risks.