You may have read a story in the national newspapers recently about a UK-wide campaign that has been launched by dozens of mums to stop a gynaecology operation that some believe is ruining women’s lives.
The Sling The Mesh campaign was set up by regional journalist Kath Sansom who had a bad experience after plastic transvaginal tape (TVT) was inserted during an NHS operation to fix stress incontinence.
What should have been a relatively minor operation turned into a nightmare before Kath had even left the hospital when she experienced a bizarre dropping sensation and pain, which spread to her legs and groin.
Since having the procedure in March, she has gone from being an active mother of two to someone who struggles with daily pain, and worryingly, Kath has discovered it is a global problem affecting women all over the UK.
One of these women is mum-of-five Belinda Bibby from Kelsall . The 54-year had the TVT mesh tape sling inserted in 2005 and although it fixed the incontinence that was caused by natural childbirth for the first six months, it later brought on a series of debilitating auto immune reactions and she experienced severe stomach acid, stomach inflammation and she even lost the hearing in her right ear as well as experiencing a clicky jaw for no apparent reason.
On top of this, Belinda had fatigue, severe unexplained headaches, swelling and stiffness in her hands. Her liver readings became so dangerously high from the severe sensitivity reaction to the mesh that she was unable to take even paracetamol or antibiotics for the pains, infections or inflammation within her body.
Indeed, for the last year of having the sling inside her, she had to have her liver checked every two weeks.
However, she had the TVT removed in January, and since then Belinda says her health has completely returned to normal and says there are ‘no words’ to describe how good it feels.
Getting life back
“I can concentrate on reading a book and watching TV again and not forgetting simple tasks,” she said. “I can walk without my body aching or in severe pain, be it my joints or muscles, from head to my feet. I suffered for nine years and now I’ve got my life back.
“I feel like I’m living proof that women can get auto immune reactions to the TVT sling which is made of polypropylene.
“I spent years going to physio, had X-rays taken, podiatry clinics, I was given insoles and exercises for my feet, yet still no explanation on why my feet were in pain.”
Belinda explained: “I suffered with oedema, spots, boils and abscesses that would come up all over my body and leak pus, and I had a strange purple rash on my face and up to five asthma attacks a day at its worst.
“I couldn’t stand or walk for more than about 20 minutes as the pains in my feet were too much – even when getting out of bed in the mornings, my feet were stiff and painful to walk on.”
Now Belinda is able to stand for at least three hours without pains in her feet, and feels she’s really making an improvement since her stabbing pains disappeared and the strange allergies.
But Belinda is truly alarmed that there is no research or documented evidence recorded about the TVT mesh tape she says caused her nine years of agony.
“I endured years of not getting any help with all my symptoms, because no one knows of the adverse effects of the TVT,” she said. “I had to do all my own research on the internet and got help from other mesh sufferers from internet forums, otherwise I would still be suffering now.
“I felt like cracking up at times. More help is needed in the medical profession on the seriousness of such adverse side effects.”
Kath Sansom’s campaign calls for the TVT campaign to be suspended or a National Register launched to track future problems.
It also asks that life-changing risks should be fully explained to women and the Government tighten up legislation on passing medical devices.
- To read more about the Sling the Mesh campaign, visit sling