Mum of two Alison Wright, 52, is on strong painkillers and sleeps for up to 14 hours a day as it is the only way she gets any real relief.from the constant pain she suffers after having a polypropylene mesh sling implant.
“I wish I had been asked some basic questions before having the operation in the first place,” she said.
“My body’s strong foreign body response might have been predicted if I had been asked more questions about allergies.
“I have allergies to synthetic clothes. I am allergic to hair dye, nickel, plasters and have sensitive skin.
“Surely that would be a sign that I might have a reaction to the plastic mesh. I think there should be more studies carried out on women like myself to find out more about the side effects – a lot more research is needed I believe.
“Polypropylene is known to go brittle in bodies over time so it shouldn’t be used. If I can stop another woman going through what I have suffered in the past five years – then this has got to be worth it,” said Alison.
Alison had a ‘simple’ procedure to cure a common but embarrassing women’s problem when she had a TVTO operation to fix stress incontinence, after being told by her surgeon that it was the latest and best way to solve the problem. That was in 2012.
Alison, who has two grown up children, damaged her pelvis in a fluke accident which saw her drop through a floor in 2008, damaging her pelvic floor and hip, when she fell astride the iron grate that had dislodged as she walked over it.
Four years later she was becoming more and more incontinent and felt something needed to be done.
The pain she suffered at the time of the accident is comparable to the pain she now suffers on a daily basis since having the operation, which included sutures to support her prolapsed uterus and a TVTO mesh implant to lift her urethra.
“The pain after the operation was terrible, it was mostly in my left buttock where the surgeon had attached my uterus to a ligament attached to my sacrum, with sutures.
On a positive side my continence was good, but I was in constant intense pain and I had a constant discharge, but no infection,” said Alison.
Two years later, after going backwards and forwards to consultants, her surgeon agreed to remove sutures.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw what had been taken out of my body it was about 10cm long – not what you expect when you hear the word sutures or stitches,” said Alison.
Unfortunately that did not solve the problem as one suture was left in and Alison had a further operation in 2015 to remove that.
“Basically my body was rejecting these foreign bodies that had been put inside me. When the final suture was removed it felt wonderful, there was no longer any pain in my buttock.
Sex life lost
But unfortunately the tape used in the TVTO operation started to cut through and Alison could feel it just under her urethra.
“The tape’s sharp edges made having sex impossible,” she said.
“My GP referred me to another consultant in Eastbourne. Initially, he couldn’t feel anything, until I pointed him in the right direction – then he couldn’t believe he had missed it.
“He booked me in straight away to remove the middle section of the TVTO in October last year, and it has been both brilliant and terrible.
“I am still continent – even when I sneeze – but I now have a lot of pain deep in my right groin.
“I am hoping it is a fragment remaining in the vaginal section that is causing this new pain, as this can be corrected.
“Removing the last bits of tape from each side of my groin has high risks, so I want to be sure it is essential before I go ahead with that. They want to me to go to Cambridge for that tricky operation.”