WA News Letters Pelvic mesh misery for some
Pelvic mesh misery for some
Written by Carolyn Chisholm
Thursday, 03 August 2017

Dear Editor,

My name is Caz (Carolyn) Chisholm. I am a consumer injured by transvaginal mesh. I established the Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group in November 2014 and there are currently about 700 members. The group is focused on supporting each other through our emotional and painful experiences and equally in preventing this from happening to others.

Many similar stories are told by mesh-injured women about spending years in pain, going from doctor to doctor, having multiple tests and scans and yet nothing in their results point directly to mesh unless it eventually erodes through the vaginal wall or cuts the urethra or creates chronic infection.

They are being told that the pain is not mesh-related and that they are depressed or they are a hypochondriac or they are menopausal. Some are treated like drug addicts because they seek strong medications to dull the pain.

Women may suffer from urinary tract infections, painful sex, leg pain, mesh through the vaginal wall, infection, severe groin and pelvic pain and voiding difficulty, to name just a few. These complications have become life-altering for many women who can no longer work or take care of their family.

The TGA added an alert for transvaginal mesh complications to their website on August 3 2016.

There appears to be no surgeons in Australia able to remove these prolapse and incontinence meshes from the pelvis and the groin when severe complications arise. Surgeons are performing partial removals or revisions and some women are finding that their pain increases with these surgeries.

Women who are suffering from the debilitating pain and the constant urinary tract infections just want the whole mesh out. But this is apparently not an option here in Australia. To date there are 13 women who have travelled to the US for full mesh removal since the support group started in 2014.

It seems that mesh is easy to implant but almost impossible to explant. How can mesh, which has the potential to cripple a woman, be allowed to be put into such a complex area of the body and yet it is not able to be removed when complications arise?

Ms Carolyn Chisholm, Perth

ED: On July 4, Shine Lawyers began a class action in the Federal Court in Sydney against Johnson & Johnson on behalf of 700 women who has claimed complications from implantation of transvaginal mesh. Similar actions are currently underway in the US, UK and Canada.