Health Stories

One simple procedure left this woman in agony for six years

“The doctor told me it was low risk”
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Perth mother Stella Channing is one of many women across the world whose quality of life has plummeted as a result of one simple procedure.

In 2011, the mother-of-three received a vaginal mesh implant to repair her post-childbirth prolapse, reports Kidspot.

The mesh is a net-like implant made of a plastic called polypropene, which aims to assist the pelvic floor muscles in keeping internal organs in place.

But instead of offering a pain-free solution, the implant has gradually deteriorated inside Stella’s body over the past six years, resulting in excruciating pain.

Adding to the ordeal, it is nearly impossible for Stella, 58, to get the mesh removed.

“Only one doctor in America is trained to do a full removal but not only can I not sit for that long on a plane – I can’t even afford the airfare,” she told Kidspot.

Just a month before Stella’s procedure, the Therapeutic Goods Administration issued a high-risk warning about the mesh kit implant she received.

“But I only found this out after the operation. The doctor told me it was low risk,” she says.

Stella equates the pain to the feeling of broken glass and burning petrol in her vagina and rectum. She was forced to quit her job because of the pain two years ago, now avoids social outings and has spiralled into depression.

“What is the point to my life? I just feel like I no longer add any value anywhere,” she toldKidspot. “My future looks bleak.”

While the company that produced Stella’s implant has stopped manufacturing it, other company’s meshes are still in use.

Kath Sansom, a UK journalist and founder of the Sling The Mesh support page on Facebook, shared her own ordeal in The Guardian.

In 2015, Sansom received an implant to treat incontinence as a result of childbirth. She, too, felt excruciating pain after the operation.

“The pain in my legs and feet was so intense, along with burning pains in my vagina – like being cut with a cheese wire – that I knew something was terribly wrong,” she wrote.

“When I searched online I discovered women worldwide suffering similar problems. All were being ignored, not only by their surgeons but also by the media.”

In Australia, a federal Senate Inquiry is now compiling evidence about the number of women who have been suffered from the mesh implants.

Summing up the ordeal, Senator Derryn Hinch concluded it is: “one of the greatest medical scandals and abuses of mothers in Australia’s history”.

This article originally appeared on marie claire.

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