Vaginal Mesh and Injuries: The Risks You Need To Know

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( — November 13, 2023) — Are you or someone you know considering vaginal mesh for common health issues like pelvic organ prolapse or urinary incontinence? Prior to reaching any decision, it’s essential to comprehend the potential risks and complications.

You might have encountered both favorable and unfavorable stories about this medical device. Cutting through the confusion and clearly understanding what you might face is essential. The importance of this knowledge cannot be overstated; it can impact your well-being and future decisions about your health.

This article unwinds a vital aspect of women’s health, addressing the significant concerns surrounding vaginal mesh.

Understanding Vaginal Mesh

Vaginal mesh is a medical device used in the treatment of certain common women’s health issues. It’s designed to support weakened or damaged pelvic tissues typically due to certain conditions. Primarily used for conditions like stress urinary incontinence (SUI) and pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

It is surgically implanted to strengthen the vaginal wall and provide support to pelvic organs such as the rectum, uterus, or bladder. It can help alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms associated with POP and SUI, like incontinence or pelvic organ bulging.

It’s crucial to understand that while it can be effective in many cases, it has drawbacks. Over the years, reports of serious complications have raised concerns among patients and medical specialists.

Risks and Complications

Reports of complications have raised concerns in recent years. Patients have reported pain, discomfort, and various adverse effects. As a result, legal action has also come into force. The recent vaginal mesh lawsuits involved women who have faced serious issues following mesh procedures. These lawsuits address their grievances and aim to hold manufacturers accountable for the harm caused to patients.

According to TruLaw, complications related to the mesh include pelvic organ retraction, infection, scarring, pain, and organ perforation. These complications can significantly impact a patient’s quality of life, leading to physical discomfort and emotional distress.

It’s crucial to comprehensively understand these risks and complications before considering the mesh as a treatment option. Being well-informed empowers you to make decisions about your healthcare that are in your best interest. Also, that is aligned with your overall well-being.

Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) Complications

POP is a condition in which the pelvic organs, like the bladder, uterus, or rectum, descend into the vaginal wall. It can be a painful and distressing issue for many women. Vaginal mesh has frequently been employed as a standard treatment to offer support and relieve the discomfort linked to pelvic organ prolapse (POP). It’s crucial to stay mindful of potential complications that might emerge.

Women with POP often experience symptoms like urinary incontinence, pelvic pressure, and discomfort during intercourse. These procedures are intended to help address these problems by reinforcing the vaginal wall and providing support to the prolapsed organs.

Yet, complications can occur. As mentioned earlier, mesh erosion is a risk where the mesh material may protrude through the vaginal wall, leading to pain and discomfort. Infection can also be a concern, as the mesh may provide a breeding ground for bacteria.

According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a few extra things to watch out for. If you experience any of the following symptoms that you think might be connected to surgical mesh, speak with your doctor straight away:

  • Sensing a mesh fragment sticking up in the vagina.
  • Persistent vaginal bleeding or discharge.
  • Discomfort in the groin or pelvis.
  • Couples experiencing pain during sexual relations.

Assuming you are symptom-free does not mean that you should stop receiving routine treatment. It enables you to monitor any issues with your supplier. Also, it enables timely intervention if issues arise.

Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) Complications

SUI is a common condition. Women experience unintentional urine leakage during activities that put pressure on the bladder, like coughing, laughing, or exercising. Vaginal mesh procedures have been used to treat SUI by offering support to the urethra and reducing leakage.

SUI can cause inconvenience and embarrassment for numerous women. Nevertheless, the utilization of mesh may not always present a straightforward solution. Complications such as mesh erosion, where the mesh material protrudes through the vaginal wall, can lead to pain and discomfort. Infections are another concern, as the mesh can create an environment where harmful bacteria can thrive.

On the other hand, removing it has provided peace of mind to many. Positive results can be obtained by removing the transvaginal mesh cystoscopically. A total of 27 women, ranging in age from 45 to 87 years, had cystoscopic mesh removal surgery, as per the BJUI research. Eighty percent of patients assessed mesh removal as effective and comfortable. 

Also, 100% said they would have the procedure done again in the same circumstances if the situation occurs again.

It was determined that there is a strong correlation between low morbidity and good patient satisfaction when protruding SUI & POP mesh are removed.

Legal Actions and Patient Advocacy

Some women who have experienced severe complications after receiving vaginal mesh implants have sought legal recourse against the manufacturers of these devices. These lawsuits often center on claims of inadequate warnings, defective products, and failure to inform patients about the potential risks.

Patient advocacy groups and organizations have emerged to provide support and information to those affected by its complications. These groups help women connect with others who have had similar experiences. It can offer guidance on navigating the medical and legal challenges they may face. They also advocate for improved transparency and patient safety in using it and other medical devices.

Healthcare Provider Guidance

Primarily, engaging in an open and transparent discussion with your healthcare provider regarding your specific condition, symptoms, and treatment objectives is vital. They can assist you in comprehending the potential advantages and risks of vaginal mesh tailored to your individual situation. 

Your provider will consider factors like your overall health, medical history, and any previous surgeries to determine whether it is suitable.

Also, your healthcare provider can discuss alternative treatment options available to you. According to Drug Watch, both non-surgical and surgical methods are considered nonmesh therapies.

  • Burch colposuspension: This technique involves suturing the urethra into a raised position over the bladder while it is suspended and stabilized.
  • Pelvic floor therapy: These exercises may reduce minor symptoms of POP or SUI by strengthening the pelvic muscles.
  • Pessary: A little plastic tube that surgeons place within the vagina to assist the bladder and organs to get support.

One of the first medical treatments for SUI and POP was Burch colposuspension. It’s still regarded as a useful and effective method.


Understanding the risks associated with vaginal mesh is vital for women considering this treatment. While it can relieve some, there are real concerns and complications. Patients should have open conversations with their healthcare providers to carefully weigh the benefits and potential harm.

Legal actions and patient advocacy groups are helping raise awareness and support those affected. Remember, your well-being is paramount, and you have the right to make informed decisions about your health.