“I am in a pain and in a nappy day and night because the operation didn’t even work,” said Pamela, who cares for her 81 year old husband Stan.
“So I have all of this extra pain and health problems for nothing, I wish I had known about the old fashioned traditional surgical fixes and demanded that, rather than trust my surgeon when he said mesh sling tapes were the gold standard fix.
“I had a TVT in 2003 and since then have never been able to walk about without a pad, it is uncomfortable, degrading, it didn’t even work yet the problems I’ve had from the plastic mesh sling that was put inside me have not stopped.”
Pamela has suffered urinary tract infections on and off for the 14 years since having mesh implanted and says she is now immune to two types of antibiotics and needs stronger doses to get rid of them.
“I never suffered UTIs before,” she said.
Eroded into urethra
“I had pains and as time went on it eroded into my urethra and under general anaesthetic my surgeon said they did something to fix it”.
“Things got gradually worse then I had a bulbous cherry lump on one side of my labia, a nurse at my surgery gave steroid cream but of course that didn’t work, so I was so referred to a gynaecologist to remove it.
“The thing split open, he had to cut deeper and went Oh My God I can’t believe it, and he pulled out five inches of my mesh tape. It was covered in flesh and it smelt rotten, it was horrible.
“He sent it away for tests. After reading the result of the clinical investigation I insisted on a translabial scan.
“A couple of weeks later my surgeon agreed to the scan, where he claimed the mesh was gone but I know mesh remains as the tape put in is way longer than five inches.
“Since that I have not suffered a UTI, however what I do have is terrible pain in my groin and down my legs, I’m on tramadol and amitryptiline for life which doesn’t get rid of the pain, it only dulls it.
“I have also developed fibromyalgia. I joined a Facebook support group called Sling The Mesh and I see many women on there who develop that since mesh.
Terrible for young mums
“It is terrible, I’m 74 and a carer for my ill husband, but I feel sorry for the young girls on the support group. They come on suffering incredible pain, infections, their lives ruined and yet they still have to care for young children. It must be really difficult for them.
“This needs stopping before more are injured.
“The surgeons and the NHS are not listening to us. How many more young healthy women are going to be hurt?
“It’s unfair, I feel so angry, it is bad enough for me – I’m a pensioner – but my heart breaks for all of the young ones who have years ahead of them on strong pain killers to try to cope with their new life.”
Around 1 in 3 women’ suffer at some point in their lives and the problem is on the rise among younger women who haven’t had babies. This is due to an increase in the popularity of high impact exercise classes and long distance running that put intense pressure on the pelvic floor.
The operation fits a mesh sling to support weakened muscles and nearly 100,000 women have had it done on the NHS in the last decade.
However, when it goes wrong the results can be catastrophic for women.