Category Archives: Fistula

26 Pelvic Mesh Complications Your Doc Never Mentioned

Welcome to the Pelvic Mesh Owner’s Guide! This page is like a Table of Contents.

Over 4.2 million women have the implants and a quarter to a third of them suffer debilitating complications while doctors say, “It’s not the mesh.” The FDA warned in both 2008 and 2011 that complications are serious. Too many women are finding out they were right all along, it is the mesh. 

If you’re having trouble with mesh, here is a list of 26 complications in the Pelvic Mesh Owner’s Guide. Sign up for updates to learn more and take the first step on your healing journey.

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26 Mesh Complications Your Doctor Never Warned You About:

1) Intractable Pain (pain that doesn’t go away) – Some people wake up from implant surgery knowing something is wrong. It is too tight or the pain is beyond measuring. Part 1 talks about the post operative pain from pelvic mesh & Part 2 is one woman’s journey with pelvic mesh pain.

2) Excessive BleedingBleeding happens but when is it too much? When to call the doctor? How to regain strength after heavy bleeding

3) Urinary tract infection, Kidney infection – Urinary tract infections are serious health-risks and can involve the bladder and kidney. When mesh is stuck in the bladder it continually irritates the bladder until it is removed surgically. Learn how to prevent UTIs and test yourself at home and to distinguish a bladder infection from a kidney infection.

     4) Wound infectionsA bladder sling can act like a petri dish harboring and incubating strong, sometimes drug-resistant bacteria. Left undiagnosed, they can lead to a delay in wound healing, even open up wide and deep surgical wounds and putting your life at risk.

5) Bladder injuryA slip of the knife, a puncture from an ice-pick like trocar, sling pulled so tight that it cuts the bladder. A bladder injury is one of the most difficult to repair. One study says it happens 10% of the time, another say 75%!

6) Bowel InjuryWhen a part of the bowel is nicked, fecal matter seeps into the interior of the body, when it the diagnosis is delayed or completely missed, patients become extremely ill.

7) Fistula (a hole between two organs) – Imagine your urine draining out of your vagina or your stool coming out. Fistula is all to common and deeply embarrassing for women.

8) Wound Opening Up After Stitches(also called dehiscence) – You think your surgery is healing and you are trying to get back on your feet and back to normal. Then your wound starts to open up. Dehiscence delays healing for a very long time.

9) Erosion – (also called exposure, extrusion or protrusion) As many as one patient in three experiences erosion from mesh. Would you agree to mesh if you were told the odds that you wouldn’t enjoy sex ever again were one in three?

10) Incontinence “I sneeze, I pee.”The odds that mesh surgery won’t cure your incontinence is the same as other surgical repairs: one in three.

11) Urinary Retention “I can’t pee right.”A mesh that is implanted too tight can slow down or stop your urine stream for about four percent of patients. Why does your surgeons “handedness” (right- or left-handed) affect your outcome?

12) Dyspareunia – pain during sexual intercourse One study found 26% of women found sex too painful after mesh surgery.

13) Multiple surgeriesWhen things go wrong, often the solution is another surgery and another. Some women have had over a dozen surgeries to correct mesh complications. More surgery = more scarring.

14) Vaginal scarring/shrinkage – Vaginal scarring: one of the most emotionally and physically difficult problems to heal.

15) Emotional DamageNaturally, an injury to a woman’s re-creative center causes emotional pain but can we allow doctors to blame the women?

16) Neuro-muscular problems – nerve damageStinging, burning, pins-and-needles, numbness all are signs of nerve damage. Even the way your body was positioned during surgery can cause nerve damage.

17) Obturator Nerve – Symptoms in your mid-thighs (saddle region).

18) Ilioinguinal/iliohypogastric Nerve – Symptoms in your pubic region.

19) Genitofemoral Nerve – Symptoms in your inner groin.

20) Femoral Nerve – Symptoms in your outer thighs

21) Pudendal Nerve Entrapment – Symptoms in your “sit spot.”

22) Fibular Neuropathy – Symptoms on the outside lower legs

23) Saphenous Nerve – Symptoms on your inner lower legs

24) Piriformis Syndrome – Symptoms across your buttocks.

25) Sciatica – Symptoms all the way down your leg.

26) Peripheral Neuropathy – Symptoms from the bottom of your feet and up your legs, even your hands can be involved.

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If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about erosion, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, check the list of support groups here.

Subscribe to PelvicMeshOwnersGuide.com to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at daywriter1@gmail.com.

6 Personal Stories: Mesh Patients Are Not Mental Patients

Normal reactions to real parts of life are now being shifted into medical diagnoses by a medical and a psychiatric establishment that is fully embedded with Big Pharma. (Big Pharma is a nickname for the world’s vast and influential pharmaceutical industry and its trade and lobbying group, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America or PhRMA. These powerful companies make billions of dollars a year by selling drugs and medical devices, including the ones that cause pelvic mesh trouble.  As drug makers learned how to profit from turning normal grief into a major depression, normal pain response into anxiety or bipolar illness, and normal outrage over disrespectful, dismissive and faulty treatment by surgeons into a psychiatric disorder, more and more mesh victims are being given experimental (untested and unproven) drugs without any real proof that they work.   They don’t work. Before SSRI’s were introduced, 355,000 Americans were disabled by mental illness and after those pills went on the market, then number skyrocketed to 1.25 million!

Women who have been put through the surgical mesh mill and then treated like second-class citizens have honest to goodness, normal emotional responses. They resist being treated like emotional cripples and yet they are being sent to psychiatrists for a reacting to a very real circumstances. The six stories below are a sampling of  thousands of stories from across the world today. Names have been changed for privacy reasons.

Evelyn: “I do not have pain—just complete humiliation at having the fistula and the obvious attention I have to give it. I am a neat freak and this is most unpleasant for me! I keep telling myself that I am not going to die from this and just to carry on. I am definitely an action person, so the best way to deal with all of this for me is to have a plan and always move forward.  I remember the doctor saying that it just healed beautifully. Now the fistula!

“There is always a solution or something for you out there somewhere. Don’t be scared.”

Evelyn is employing some of the most therapeutic techniques for her distress. She is not only telling her story, she is offering help to others. Storytelling is one of the most beneficial tools for dealing with sadness and anger. Reaching out to help others is physically and mentally healing as well.

***

Fiona: “I had a TVT done last Feb, been in chronic, debilitating pain every since. Am 
trying to arrange funds to have removal surgery, scared to death to have one more surgery.”

Fiona is afraid, a normal response to a very real and present danger. When the only alternative is to go back into the very system that hurt you in the first place, being scared to death is a healthy response. He fears will help her to make very cautious and careful decisions for her future medical care.

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Surprisingly, many women were implanted with more than one defective device at the same time:

Ingrid: “I had a TVT-O as well as a ProLift. Stupid and naive that I was, I blindly trusted that they knew what they were doing. What was I thinking?

 “They did this procedure through 6 portals on my inner thighs. When I woke up, the doctor stated I gave them a hard time in that he nicked a blood vessel (fishing through my legs) and I had lost a fair amount of  blood. Things went downhill from there on out.

 “The quality of my life has been really hurt by this ordeal, as one could imagine. Thank God my husband is very understanding.” 



Medicine has changed over the past half-century. It has become a business, and concentrates on turning a profit while minimizing the better good of the patient. Who would not feel betrayed by a botched surgery like this? For a doctor to tell a patient who had been paralyzed and under anesthesia, that she “gave them a hard time?” he has to have lost sight of his role in protecting her from harm. The pathology in this case is the surgeon’s. He did not own up to his own lack of  skill in using the equipment provided to him to complete a proper implant. It’s called blaming the victim.

Also, Ingrid’s husband is providing one of the best “medicines.” Supportive persons can make all the difference because they can counterbalance the inappropriate accusations and botched surgeries like the ones she experienced.

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Michelle: “To my horror, after going to the bathroom, I discovered my uterus had dropped right out of  my vagina! I can’t possibly describe the feelings of revulsion and guilt that caused. It took me a few days to regain my composure and go to the doctor.”

“Afterward I was in so much pain I couldn’t stand up straight, walk my usual hour a day, or ride in the car more than 15 minutes without getting into so much pain I broke down in tears.”

Michelle’s story illustrates just how important a woman’s pelvic area is to her. Michelle reacted normally for someone injured in her most pivotal, most private place. Michelle was traumatized even though she was asleep during her surgery. Tears for pain and tears for grief are often combined for trauma victims.

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Lucille: “I had a TVT and Marina coil fitted at the same time. The surgeon said, ‘Lucille, this is a simple operation with an overnight stay and you will be a new woman.’ He did not mention any complications or risks involved with the TVT. I took his word and trusted he knew what he is doing and accepted to go ahead with the surgery.



“I was and still am a smoker, although I did mention it to him. Once this is all over I will quit! The stresses of life and this awful leakage are disrupting my life.

“Came around from the operation, coughing so bad and my chest really hurt. I was scared. I could not breathe properly. All I could hear was ‘Lucille, you must give up smoking.’

“That night I could not sleep. I was so uncomfortable I kept watching the clock and wishing for morning. Breakfast arrived and I could not eat, had no energy, and told the nurse, ‘I do not feel well.’

The nurse dismissed Lucille’s complaints several times. Instead, she insisted Lucille go for a walk. About 6 steps into the walk, Lucille collapsed and was carried back to bed.

“An urgent x-ray was done, and I was given oxygen. They discovered pulmonary emboli (clots in my lungs) and collapsed lung. I ended up in hospital for the next 10 days!”

“I came home and had severe bleeding. Back into the hospital had marina coil taken out as the doctor assumed it is the coil causing the bleeding. I was not told it could be the TVT!



“Over the next couple of years, I was constantly in and out of hospital, diagnosed with diabetes type 2, heart attack symptoms, tremors, slurred speech, and trouble walking. They could not work out what was wrong with me! I had numerous tests and back and forth to hospital and doctors and was eventually diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.



Three years later, Lucille had more symptoms and her primary doctor told finally diagnosed her vaginal mesh erosion. 

“Enough is enough. We cannot allow this suffering to go on. This mesh should be banned, it has totally destroyed my life.  Although I have kept my mind going with graphic design, I cannot walk very far and now I am housebound! I cannot wait to get this thing out of my body! 

“I am a strong person and believe in inner faith, our beautiful creator has been with me and guiding me through each day, and with constant praying I know eventually this evil mesh stuff will be banned!”

Lucille is employing two of the most potent and effective methods for handling her emotional distress. She is sharing her experience with others giving her a sense of normalcy and community and she relies on her faith in God, giving her personal inner strength. Like Evelyn, she is reaching out to help others.

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Tricia: “For me it centers on ‘informed consent,’ both with the physician and the company that manufactures the mesh. The MD really did a different procedure with a different product than I consented to and that’s just not cool. The standard of informed consent is to provide to a patient with the most common and most serious complications. It also really irks me, as a nurse, that informed consent was really not provided, even after I asked for it.

 “(Before my operation), my doctor had offered several options and I took several weeks to decide. I located four women who’d had bladder surgery using monofilament slings and they all were having problems. I told my surgeon I did not want a (plastic) sling and asked about the biological swine tissue sling. The surgeon instead suggested an abdominal sacral colpopexy. I agreed to this procedure, thinking it was the swine procedure. The patient consent form was in medical terminology and listed the procedure as ‘abdominal sacral colpopexy, transobturator sling.’  The risks listed were ‘bleeding, infection, recurrent cystocele, persistent incontinence, urge incontinence, bladder/bowel injury.’

“(After the surgery,) I had fever, severe abdominal cramping, my right leg was numb, and I felt as if something was lodged at the top of my vagina. I made several visits to the (two) surgeons involved and neither thought I had any valid complaints. Neither would offer a straightforward answer. They never mentioned an implant could be causing my symptoms. 

“At week five I obtained the operating room notes and to my astonishment discovered that two implants were now securely placed in my abdomen: a Gynecare polypropylene 10×10 inch mesh and an AMS Monarc polypropylene mesh sling. I was furious. Because of my anger, the surgeons suggested such things as tranquilizers and psychological help.

“It has been three months and I have seen six surgeons.  I’m told these implants cannot be removed.  My symptoms have intensified.  I am in pain and I am angry.  I recently obtained literature listing the manufacturers risks: ‘foreign body response, vaginal extrusion, erosion through the urethra and surrounding tissue, migration of the device,  fistula formation, adhesion formation, pain, scarring that results in implant contraction, damage to vessels, nerves, bladder, urethra, bowel’ and more. Had I known any of these risks, I would not have had the surgery. I am not alone. I have since spoken with hundreds of men and women who are having complications with implants. Some, like me, didn’t know an implant was part of their surgery until complications arose.”

Tricia’s anger is understandable and normal. She felt she did not need pills or  psychological help and she later turned her anger into action by contacting her congressman and governor and starting a petition to put an end to the practice of performing implants without proper informed consent.

If you’d like to join an online support group and learn about mesh problems, partial removals, surgeons, or just find out that you are not alone, check the list of support groups here.

Subscribe to MeshTroubles.com to learn more about pelvic mesh. I’d like to hear from you if you are helped by what you read here or if you need to know more about any particular topic. Comment below or email me privately at daywriter1@gmail.com.

 

Fistula – A Most Embarassing Mesh Complication

Among the new words mesh-troubled folks must add to their vocabulary is the word “fistula.” Before  mesh implant surgery most people have never heard of it, yet fistula is one of the most devastating mesh injuries. Fistula is a connection between two organs that are not normally connected. For example, between the rectum and the vagina. The fistula gets there because something happened to the normally healthy tissue that separates the two organs—a sharp injury (such as a surgical cut), blunt force injury (such as childbirth or violent rape), inflammation or infection. Other known causes are inflammation due to Crohn’s disease, cancer, radiation treatment, diverticulitis or ulcerative colitis.

Mesh-related fistulas are caused by a surgical mistakes (e.g. puncturing an organ with a trocar or a scalpel), erosion of the mesh into one or more organs, inflammation or infections.

When fistulas develop in the vagina, they create an abnormal opening between the vagina and bladder or rectum. Fistula is an grave emotional injury as well—imagine how it would feel to sit on the potty and urine or stool is passing through your vagina. Vaginal fistulas play on a woman’s feeling of shame, a situation that surgeons often ignore. A women harbors primitive and deep feelings about her vagina that should be honored. She places special emotional, spiritual, and tribal values on her most private and sacred organ and, while her surgeon can label those feelings as “embarrassing,” her feelings go much deeper than that. Surgeons should be aware of the effect of the callous treatment women say they experience, both in the examining room and in the operating room. Pelvic surgeons need to take a long, hard look at their own behavior and remember why they became a doctor in the first place.

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Types of vaginal fistulae:
• Vesicovaginal fistula—Vagina and the urinary tract
                                                    • Enterovaginal fistula—Vagina and the small bowel                                                    
• Rectovaginal fistula—Vagina and the rectum                                                                
• Colovaginal fistula—Vagina and the colon

Complications, or mesh troubles, with fistulas:
Fistulas can lead to serious medical conditions like an infection in the genital area, and unusual discharge, urinary incontinence and pain in the vagina.

Treatment of vaginal fistulas: How you decide to have your fistula treated, is your decision once you know more about the size and placement of your fistula and taking into consideration, your overall health and your financial and emotional support system. Treatment often requires surgery to close the unwanted opening but attempts to use a transvaginal mesh patch to keep the organs separated ignore recent research about foreign body reactions  and infections common to vaginal mesh. There are other ways to regain strength in the surrounding muscles that might help a woman avoid a(nother) dangerous and defective implant.

To learn more about mesh problems, subscribe to MeshTroubles.com, leave a comment here or me at daywriter1@gmail.com.





12 Pelvic Mesh Common Complications That Should Make You Think Twice

Plastics and human flesh, what could possibly go wrong? Ever since the day you had mesh implanted, you’ve had no end of troubles but your doctor says, “It’s not mesh related.”

Severe and life-threatening mesh complications are more frequent and widespread than doctors realize. Here are a dozen mesh problems that women have reported to the FDA:

    1.    Excessive Bleeding
    2.    Infections:    
            ⁃    Urinary tract infection, Kidney infection
            ⁃    Wound infections
    3.    Organ perforation
            ⁃    Bladder injury
            ⁃    Bowel Injury
            ⁃    Fistula (a hole between two organs)
    4.    Wound Opening Up After Stitches –  (also called dehiscence)
    5.    Erosion – (also called exposure, extrusion or protrusion)
    6.    Bladder problems:
            ⁃    Incontinence “I sneeze, I pee.”
            ⁃    Urinary Retention “I can’t pee right.”
    7.    Dyspareunia – pain during sexual intercourse
    8.    Intractable painPart 1 & Part 2
    9.    Vaginal scarring/shrinkage
    10.   Emotional Damage
    11.    Multiple surgeries
    12.    Neuro-muscular problems – nerve damage
              ⁃    Can’t sit down
              ⁃    Can’t walk
              ⁃    Wheelchair bound

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Most of these complications will require additional intervention, including medical or surgical treatment and hospitalizations.

About complete/full removals vs partial removals:

I think it is crucial to let you know the best best surgeons are saying that a complete removal of pelvic mesh is the only solution.  This is not the usual or accepted intervention done by most medical centers. We will concentrate on this very soon, but know this: in January of 2011, the National Institute of Health published this statement. “Complications seemed to be more frequent in the group with complete mesh excision, although this difference was not statistically significant.” I strongly recommend you print it out and take it to your surgeon when you are discussing solutions to mesh problems. Tell him/her that complications from complete removals are not statistically different from chipping away at the problem, setting up the patient for multiple surgeries and thereby spreading toxins and infections.

Please send questions or urgent problems by email to daywriter1@gmail.com Meshtroubles.com #pelvisinflames @daywrites