The Voice of Mesh-Injured Women: The Loss of a Life Well Lived
In April, the Mesh Down Under support group published their research into the complications associated with surgical mesh implants on the lives of affected women in New Zealand.
Two themes emerged from the study.
Mesh Implants Cause Emotional, Physical and Psychological Loss
The first focused on loss. The emotional, physical and psychological impact of the complications resulting from the mesh implants, resulting in a significant sense of loss and grief for their previous lives.
“[Mesh] has robbed me of all sorts of things, i.e. my job, my sex life, my social life. If I do go out somewhere, I generally pay for it for the next few days as my body just shuts down.”
The Fight to Be Heard in the Mesh Scandal
The second theme focused on fight. The women’s fight to be heard by health professionals and the health system. The need to fight to be understood and receive help. Many women in the research piece said that they had not given informed consent for the surgical procedures in the first place.
“My inserting surgeon sent me away with instructions to buy a vibrator from a local sex shop and go home and stretch my vagina and have some fun. This shocked me and I was so ashamed that I just put up with the eroded mesh, pain, discomfort and discharge.”
What Needs to Be Done
The recommendations based on the findings highlight the interventions that are required – from mesh removal to counselling and support.
The researchers state that health practitioners must work with these women in a spirit of trust, dignity and respect. Support is fundamental to achieving the best possible quality of life for the women who have had a major upheaval in every aspect of their lives.