Childbirth can lead to a lot of complications within a woman’s body, with one of the more common effects being a prolapsed bowel and bladder. In order to combat this, many women opt for a pelvic mesh implant, however, new findings are revealing that this might not be the best solution.
Like many women, Linda Schulz—a 48-year-old woman from Australia—had a pelvic mesh implant surgically inserted into her body after giving birth. According to CNN, her right leg went numb almost immediately after the procedure and after just a few weeks, she claims the mesh felt like a knife constantly cutting her up from the inside.
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"The mesh cut through my vagina wall and came through my skin,"Schulz tells CNN. "Any movement, whether I moved my legs or not, felt like a serrated-edge knife was cutting me."
Another Australian woman with the implant, Justine Watson, had pain so severe after her implant was inserted, that she tried to take her own life after doctors didn’t believe her pain was real. “As these devices were to be permanent, we are meant to live with rotting pelvises forever," said Watson to CNN.
Because of this harrowing complication, Schulz and hundreds of other women with similar experiences petitioned the Australian Senate to investigate the mesh implants. As a result, the Senate released a report advising that the implant should only be used as a “last result” because it had been brought to light that doctors had “overused” the procedure “without considering alternative options.”
"Women who have had those implants, who have those outcomes...have been failed in a monumental way by the system and by certain people in the medical profession who they trusted," said Senator Rachel Siewert when introducing the report to the Senate. "I hope we never have to have another inquiry where we see such suffering from the witnesses."
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration estimates 75,000 procedures involving pelvic mesh implants occur each year. However, in 2011, there were 2,874 cases of injury, death or malfunction related to the implants reported. With numbers like this, it’s important to know the risks before opting for one, which is why this report announced by the Australian Senate is such a big deal.
While this is certainly a step in the right direction, it’s not enough to completely eliminate the risks of pelvic mesh implants. However, hopefully it’ll spark research into other options for post-childbirth complications such as this so women won't experience this again.