Tag Archives: body

Vaginal mesh implants: ‘If I lift my leg my whole body shakes’

Lisa Woodrow, 54, is one of the women who felt compelled to travel to parliament on Wednesday, after suffering serious complications from vaginal mesh surgery that led to her losing her job, partner and home.

Woodrow, a former marketing manager from Thetford, Norfolk, was offered a mesh procedure five years ago and believed she’d be a “new woman” after surgery. After experiencing difficult births – she has two adult sons – she had pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence, meaning she suffered embarrassing leaks and had to wear incontinence pads. But she was also active, enjoyed life and had recently moved in with her partner.

“I had a good job, I had a good social life, I was fit and healthy. I did my high kicks and everything,” she said. “If I lift my leg now my whole body shakes.”

Q&A

What is a vaginal mesh implant?

The implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to traditional surgical approaches for treating urinary incontinence and prolapse, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth. For the majority of women the operation is successful.

However, concerns are mounting over the severe complications suffered by large numbers of patients, including chronic pain, mesh cutting through tissue into the vagina and being left unable to walk or have sex. Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary Ethicon produces one of the most widely used mesh products, is fighting a major class action in Australia. The Guardian revealed in August that thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed during the past decade, suggesting that about one in 15 women fitted with the most common type of mesh support later require surgery to have it extracted due to complications.

After surgery, Woodrow suspected something was wrong because she had pain radiating from her groin into her back and down her left leg. Two-and-a-half years after surgery she suddenly experienced excruciating pain. She was taken to hospital in an ambulance, unable to walk, and remained there for six weeks. Doctors seemed reluctant to accept that her pain could be linked to the mesh implant.

“They said perhaps you’ve got neurological overload,” she said. “They kept asking if I’ve got a stressful job. They were trying to blame anything but the mesh.”

Her GP suggested back pain might be the problem.

She returned home in a wheelchair and on morphine, and said her five-year relationship broke down soon after. “I couldn’t go to the toilet, all the drugs I was on, that’s very hard for somebody,” she said. “He couldn’t cope. I can accept it now, but it was very hard at the time.”

She couldn’t continue her job as a manager of a business that sold bathroom products to hotels because it required her to drive and regularly travel to London. As a result of the drop in her income, she also lost her house and had to move to a ground floor rented flat.

Woodrow had her mesh partially removed a year ago, but requires further surgery to remove the remaining pieces. Her health is better but she is still on pain medication and uses a stick to walk beyond a short distance.

Woodrow said she was given no sense that the procedure was designed to be permanent, recalling that her surgeon even suggested that because of her age she might need to have it replaced in the future. Pelvic mesh is not designed to be removed as it becomes embedded in surrounding tissue to act as a support.

“I wasn’t told that they couldn’t take it out,” she said. “My understanding was that it was just sitting there.”

She believes trial results suggesting that mesh is an effective cure may have overlooked the broader experiences of patients.

“They measure it by the success of you not wetting yourself,” she said. “You’re not wetting yourself, but you’ve got pain.”

Vaginal mesh implants: ‘If I lift my leg my whole body shakes’

Lisa Woodrow, 54, is one of the women who felt compelled to travel to parliament on Wednesday, after suffering serious complications from vaginal mesh surgery that led to her losing her job, partner and home.

Woodrow, a former marketing manager from Thetford, Norfolk, was offered a mesh procedure five years ago and believed she’d be a “new woman” after surgery. After experiencing difficult births – she has two adult sons – she had pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence, meaning she suffered embarrassing leaks and had to wear incontinence pads. But she was also active, enjoyed life and had recently moved in with her partner.

“I had a good job, I had a good social life, I was fit and healthy. I did my high kicks and everything,” she said. “If I lift my leg now my whole body shakes.”

Q&A

What is a vaginal mesh implant?

The implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to traditional surgical approaches for treating urinary incontinence and prolapse, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth. For the majority of women the operation is successful.

However, concerns are mounting over the severe complications suffered by large numbers of patients, including chronic pain, mesh cutting through tissue into the vagina and being left unable to walk or have sex. Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary Ethicon produces one of the most widely used mesh products, is fighting a major class action in Australia. The Guardian revealed in August that thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed during the past decade, suggesting that about one in 15 women fitted with the most common type of mesh support later require surgery to have it extracted due to complications.

After surgery, Woodrow suspected something was wrong because she had pain radiating from her groin into her back and down her left leg. Two-and-a-half years after surgery she suddenly experienced excruciating pain. She was taken to hospital in an ambulance, unable to walk, and remained there for six weeks. Doctors seemed reluctant to accept that her pain could be linked to the mesh implant.

“They said perhaps you’ve got neurological overload,” she said. “They kept asking if I’ve got a stressful job. They were trying to blame anything but the mesh.”

Her GP suggested back pain might be the problem.

She returned home in a wheelchair and on morphine, and said her five-year relationship broke down soon after. “I couldn’t go to the toilet, all the drugs I was on, that’s very hard for somebody,” she said. “He couldn’t cope. I can accept it now, but it was very hard at the time.”

She couldn’t continue her job as a manager of a business that sold bathroom products to hotels because it required her to drive and regularly travel to London. As a result of the drop in her income, she also lost her house and had to move to a ground floor rented flat.

Woodrow had her mesh partially removed a year ago, but requires further surgery to remove the remaining pieces. Her health is better but she is still on pain medication and uses a stick to walk beyond a short distance.

Woodrow said she was given no sense that the procedure was designed to be permanent, recalling that her surgeon even suggested that because of her age she might need to have it replaced in the future. Pelvic mesh is not designed to be removed as it becomes embedded in surrounding tissue to act as a support.

“I wasn’t told that they couldn’t take it out,” she said. “My understanding was that it was just sitting there.”

She believes trial results suggesting that mesh is an effective cure may have overlooked the broader experiences of patients.

“They measure it by the success of you not wetting yourself,” she said. “You’re not wetting yourself, but you’ve got pain.”

Vaginal mesh implants: ‘If I lift my leg my whole body shakes’

Lisa Woodrow, 54, is one of the women who felt compelled to travel to parliament on Wednesday, after suffering serious complications from vaginal mesh surgery that led to her losing her job, partner and home.

Woodrow, a former marketing manager from Thetford, Norfolk, was offered a mesh procedure five years ago and believed she’d be a “new woman” after surgery. After experiencing difficult births – she has two adult sons – she had pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence, meaning she suffered embarrassing leaks and had to wear incontinence pads. But she was also active, enjoyed life and had recently moved in with her partner.

“I had a good job, I had a good social life, I was fit and healthy. I did my high kicks and everything,” she said. “If I lift my leg now my whole body shakes.”

Q&A

What is a vaginal mesh implant?

The implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to traditional surgical approaches for treating urinary incontinence and prolapse, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth. For the majority of women the operation is successful.

However, concerns are mounting over the severe complications suffered by large numbers of patients, including chronic pain, mesh cutting through tissue into the vagina and being left unable to walk or have sex. Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary Ethicon produces one of the most widely used mesh products, is fighting a major class action in Australia. The Guardian revealed in August that thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed during the past decade, suggesting that about one in 15 women fitted with the most common type of mesh support later require surgery to have it extracted due to complications.

After surgery, Woodrow suspected something was wrong because she had pain radiating from her groin into her back and down her left leg. Two-and-a-half years after surgery she suddenly experienced excruciating pain. She was taken to hospital in an ambulance, unable to walk, and remained there for six weeks. Doctors seemed reluctant to accept that her pain could be linked to the mesh implant.

“They said perhaps you’ve got neurological overload,” she said. “They kept asking if I’ve got a stressful job. They were trying to blame anything but the mesh.”

Her GP suggested back pain might be the problem.

She returned home in a wheelchair and on morphine, and said her five-year relationship broke down soon after. “I couldn’t go to the toilet, all the drugs I was on, that’s very hard for somebody,” she said. “He couldn’t cope. I can accept it now, but it was very hard at the time.”

She couldn’t continue her job as a manager of a business that sold bathroom products to hotels because it required her to drive and regularly travel to London. As a result of the drop in her income, she also lost her house and had to move to a ground floor rented flat.

Woodrow had her mesh partially removed a year ago, but requires further surgery to remove the remaining pieces. Her health is better but she is still on pain medication and uses a stick to walk beyond a short distance.

Woodrow said she was given no sense that the procedure was designed to be permanent, recalling that her surgeon even suggested that because of her age she might need to have it replaced in the future. Pelvic mesh is not designed to be removed as it becomes embedded in surrounding tissue to act as a support.

“I wasn’t told that they couldn’t take it out,” she said. “My understanding was that it was just sitting there.”

She believes trial results suggesting that mesh is an effective cure may have overlooked the broader experiences of patients.

“They measure it by the success of you not wetting yourself,” she said. “You’re not wetting yourself, but you’ve got pain.”

Vaginal mesh implants: ‘If I lift my leg my whole body shakes’

Lisa Woodrow, 54, is one of the women who felt compelled to travel to parliament on Wednesday, after suffering serious complications from vaginal mesh surgery that led to her losing her job, partner and home.

Woodrow, a former marketing manager from Thetford, Norfolk, was offered a mesh procedure five years ago and believed she’d be a “new woman” after surgery. After experiencing difficult births – she has two adult sons – she had pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence, meaning she suffered embarrassing leaks and had to wear incontinence pads. But she was also active, enjoyed life and had recently moved in with her partner.

“I had a good job, I had a good social life, I was fit and healthy. I did my high kicks and everything,” she said. “If I lift my leg now my whole body shakes.”

Q&A

What is a vaginal mesh implant?

The implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to traditional surgical approaches for treating urinary incontinence and prolapse, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth. For the majority of women the operation is successful.

However, concerns are mounting over the severe complications suffered by large numbers of patients, including chronic pain, mesh cutting through tissue into the vagina and being left unable to walk or have sex. Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary Ethicon produces one of the most widely used mesh products, is fighting a major class action in Australia. The Guardian revealed in August that thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed during the past decade, suggesting that about one in 15 women fitted with the most common type of mesh support later require surgery to have it extracted due to complications.

After surgery, Woodrow suspected something was wrong because she had pain radiating from her groin into her back and down her left leg. Two-and-a-half years after surgery she suddenly experienced excruciating pain. She was taken to hospital in an ambulance, unable to walk, and remained there for six weeks. Doctors seemed reluctant to accept that her pain could be linked to the mesh implant.

“They said perhaps you’ve got neurological overload,” she said. “They kept asking if I’ve got a stressful job. They were trying to blame anything but the mesh.”

Her GP suggested back pain might be the problem.

She returned home in a wheelchair and on morphine, and said her five-year relationship broke down soon after. “I couldn’t go to the toilet, all the drugs I was on, that’s very hard for somebody,” she said. “He couldn’t cope. I can accept it now, but it was very hard at the time.”

She couldn’t continue her job as a manager of a business that sold bathroom products to hotels because it required her to drive and regularly travel to London. As a result of the drop in her income, she also lost her house and had to move to a ground floor rented flat.

Woodrow had her mesh partially removed a year ago, but requires further surgery to remove the remaining pieces. Her health is better but she is still on pain medication and uses a stick to walk beyond a short distance.

Woodrow said she was given no sense that the procedure was designed to be permanent, recalling that her surgeon even suggested that because of her age she might need to have it replaced in the future. Pelvic mesh is not designed to be removed as it becomes embedded in surrounding tissue to act as a support.

“I wasn’t told that they couldn’t take it out,” she said. “My understanding was that it was just sitting there.”

She believes trial results suggesting that mesh is an effective cure may have overlooked the broader experiences of patients.

“They measure it by the success of you not wetting yourself,” she said. “You’re not wetting yourself, but you’ve got pain.”

Vaginal mesh implants: ‘If I lift my leg my whole body shakes’

Lisa Woodrow, 54, is one of the women who felt compelled to travel to parliament on Wednesday, after suffering serious complications from vaginal mesh surgery that led to her losing her job, partner and home.

Woodrow, a former marketing manager from Thetford, Norfolk, was offered a mesh procedure five years ago and believed she’d be a “new woman” after surgery. After experiencing difficult births – she has two adult sons – she had pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence, meaning she suffered embarrassing leaks and had to wear incontinence pads. But she was also active, enjoyed life and had recently moved in with her partner.

“I had a good job, I had a good social life, I was fit and healthy. I did my high kicks and everything,” she said. “If I lift my leg now my whole body shakes.”

Q&A

What is a vaginal mesh implant?

The implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to traditional surgical approaches for treating urinary incontinence and prolapse, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth. For the majority of women the operation is successful.

However, concerns are mounting over the severe complications suffered by large numbers of patients, including chronic pain, mesh cutting through tissue into the vagina and being left unable to walk or have sex. Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary Ethicon produces one of the most widely used mesh products, is fighting a major class action in Australia. The Guardian revealed in August that thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed during the past decade, suggesting that about one in 15 women fitted with the most common type of mesh support later require surgery to have it extracted due to complications.

After surgery, Woodrow suspected something was wrong because she had pain radiating from her groin into her back and down her left leg. Two-and-a-half years after surgery she suddenly experienced excruciating pain. She was taken to hospital in an ambulance, unable to walk, and remained there for six weeks. Doctors seemed reluctant to accept that her pain could be linked to the mesh implant.

“They said perhaps you’ve got neurological overload,” she said. “They kept asking if I’ve got a stressful job. They were trying to blame anything but the mesh.”

Her GP suggested back pain might be the problem.

She returned home in a wheelchair and on morphine, and said her five-year relationship broke down soon after. “I couldn’t go to the toilet, all the drugs I was on, that’s very hard for somebody,” she said. “He couldn’t cope. I can accept it now, but it was very hard at the time.”

She couldn’t continue her job as a manager of a business that sold bathroom products to hotels because it required her to drive and regularly travel to London. As a result of the drop in her income, she also lost her house and had to move to a ground floor rented flat.

Woodrow had her mesh partially removed a year ago, but requires further surgery to remove the remaining pieces. Her health is better but she is still on pain medication and uses a stick to walk beyond a short distance.

Woodrow said she was given no sense that the procedure was designed to be permanent, recalling that her surgeon even suggested that because of her age she might need to have it replaced in the future. Pelvic mesh is not designed to be removed as it becomes embedded in surrounding tissue to act as a support.

“I wasn’t told that they couldn’t take it out,” she said. “My understanding was that it was just sitting there.”

She believes trial results suggesting that mesh is an effective cure may have overlooked the broader experiences of patients.

“They measure it by the success of you not wetting yourself,” she said. “You’re not wetting yourself, but you’ve got pain.”

Vaginal mesh implants: ‘If I lift my leg my whole body shakes’

Lisa Woodrow, 54, is one of the women who felt compelled to travel to parliament on Wednesday, after suffering serious complications from vaginal mesh surgery that led to her losing her job, partner and home.

Woodrow, a former marketing manager from Thetford, Norfolk, was offered a mesh procedure five years ago and believed she’d be a “new woman” after surgery. After experiencing difficult births – she has two adult sons – she had pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence, meaning she suffered embarrassing leaks and had to wear incontinence pads. But she was also active, enjoyed life and had recently moved in with her partner.

“I had a good job, I had a good social life, I was fit and healthy. I did my high kicks and everything,” she said. “If I lift my leg now my whole body shakes.”

Q&A

What is a vaginal mesh implant?

The implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to traditional surgical approaches for treating urinary incontinence and prolapse, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth. For the majority of women the operation is successful.

However, concerns are mounting over the severe complications suffered by large numbers of patients, including chronic pain, mesh cutting through tissue into the vagina and being left unable to walk or have sex. Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary Ethicon produces one of the most widely used mesh products, is fighting a major class action in Australia. The Guardian revealed in August that thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed during the past decade, suggesting that about one in 15 women fitted with the most common type of mesh support later require surgery to have it extracted due to complications.

After surgery, Woodrow suspected something was wrong because she had pain radiating from her groin into her back and down her left leg. Two-and-a-half years after surgery she suddenly experienced excruciating pain. She was taken to hospital in an ambulance, unable to walk, and remained there for six weeks. Doctors seemed reluctant to accept that her pain could be linked to the mesh implant.

“They said perhaps you’ve got neurological overload,” she said. “They kept asking if I’ve got a stressful job. They were trying to blame anything but the mesh.”

Her GP suggested back pain might be the problem.

She returned home in a wheelchair and on morphine, and said her five-year relationship broke down soon after. “I couldn’t go to the toilet, all the drugs I was on, that’s very hard for somebody,” she said. “He couldn’t cope. I can accept it now, but it was very hard at the time.”

She couldn’t continue her job as a manager of a business that sold bathroom products to hotels because it required her to drive and regularly travel to London. As a result of the drop in her income, she also lost her house and had to move to a ground floor rented flat.

Woodrow had her mesh partially removed a year ago, but requires further surgery to remove the remaining pieces. Her health is better but she is still on pain medication and uses a stick to walk beyond a short distance.

Woodrow said she was given no sense that the procedure was designed to be permanent, recalling that her surgeon even suggested that because of her age she might need to have it replaced in the future. Pelvic mesh is not designed to be removed as it becomes embedded in surrounding tissue to act as a support.

“I wasn’t told that they couldn’t take it out,” she said. “My understanding was that it was just sitting there.”

She believes trial results suggesting that mesh is an effective cure may have overlooked the broader experiences of patients.

“They measure it by the success of you not wetting yourself,” she said. “You’re not wetting yourself, but you’ve got pain.”

Vaginal mesh implants: ‘If I lift my leg my whole body shakes’

Lisa Woodrow, 54, is one of the women who felt compelled to travel to parliament on Wednesday, after suffering serious complications from vaginal mesh surgery that led to her losing her job, partner and home.

Woodrow, a former marketing manager from Thetford, Norfolk, was offered a mesh procedure five years ago and believed she’d be a “new woman” after surgery. After experiencing difficult births – she has two adult sons – she had pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence, meaning she suffered embarrassing leaks and had to wear incontinence pads. But she was also active, enjoyed life and had recently moved in with her partner.

“I had a good job, I had a good social life, I was fit and healthy. I did my high kicks and everything,” she said. “If I lift my leg now my whole body shakes.”

Q&A

What is a vaginal mesh implant?

The implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to traditional surgical approaches for treating urinary incontinence and prolapse, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth. For the majority of women the operation is successful.

However, concerns are mounting over the severe complications suffered by large numbers of patients, including chronic pain, mesh cutting through tissue into the vagina and being left unable to walk or have sex. Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary Ethicon produces one of the most widely used mesh products, is fighting a major class action in Australia. The Guardian revealed in August that thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed during the past decade, suggesting that about one in 15 women fitted with the most common type of mesh support later require surgery to have it extracted due to complications.

After surgery, Woodrow suspected something was wrong because she had pain radiating from her groin into her back and down her left leg. Two-and-a-half years after surgery she suddenly experienced excruciating pain. She was taken to hospital in an ambulance, unable to walk, and remained there for six weeks. Doctors seemed reluctant to accept that her pain could be linked to the mesh implant.

“They said perhaps you’ve got neurological overload,” she said. “They kept asking if I’ve got a stressful job. They were trying to blame anything but the mesh.”

Her GP suggested back pain might be the problem.

She returned home in a wheelchair and on morphine, and said her five-year relationship broke down soon after. “I couldn’t go to the toilet, all the drugs I was on, that’s very hard for somebody,” she said. “He couldn’t cope. I can accept it now, but it was very hard at the time.”

She couldn’t continue her job as a manager of a business that sold bathroom products to hotels because it required her to drive and regularly travel to London. As a result of the drop in her income, she also lost her house and had to move to a ground floor rented flat.

Woodrow had her mesh partially removed a year ago, but requires further surgery to remove the remaining pieces. Her health is better but she is still on pain medication and uses a stick to walk beyond a short distance.

Woodrow said she was given no sense that the procedure was designed to be permanent, recalling that her surgeon even suggested that because of her age she might need to have it replaced in the future. Pelvic mesh is not designed to be removed as it becomes embedded in surrounding tissue to act as a support.

“I wasn’t told that they couldn’t take it out,” she said. “My understanding was that it was just sitting there.”

She believes trial results suggesting that mesh is an effective cure may have overlooked the broader experiences of patients.

“They measure it by the success of you not wetting yourself,” she said. “You’re not wetting yourself, but you’ve got pain.”

Vaginal mesh implants: ‘If I lift my leg my whole body shakes’

Lisa Woodrow, 54, is one of the women who felt compelled to travel to parliament on Wednesday, after suffering serious complications from vaginal mesh surgery that led to her losing her job, partner and home.

Woodrow, a former marketing manager from Thetford, Norfolk, was offered a mesh procedure five years ago and believed she’d be a “new woman” after surgery. After experiencing difficult births – she has two adult sons – she had pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence, meaning she suffered embarrassing leaks and had to wear incontinence pads. But she was also active, enjoyed life and had recently moved in with her partner.

“I had a good job, I had a good social life, I was fit and healthy. I did my high kicks and everything,” she said. “If I lift my leg now my whole body shakes.”

Q&A

What is a vaginal mesh implant?

The implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to traditional surgical approaches for treating urinary incontinence and prolapse, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth. For the majority of women the operation is successful.

However, concerns are mounting over the severe complications suffered by large numbers of patients, including chronic pain, mesh cutting through tissue into the vagina and being left unable to walk or have sex. Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary Ethicon produces one of the most widely used mesh products, is fighting a major class action in Australia. The Guardian revealed in August that thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed during the past decade, suggesting that about one in 15 women fitted with the most common type of mesh support later require surgery to have it extracted due to complications.

After surgery, Woodrow suspected something was wrong because she had pain radiating from her groin into her back and down her left leg. Two-and-a-half years after surgery she suddenly experienced excruciating pain. She was taken to hospital in an ambulance, unable to walk, and remained there for six weeks. Doctors seemed reluctant to accept that her pain could be linked to the mesh implant.

“They said perhaps you’ve got neurological overload,” she said. “They kept asking if I’ve got a stressful job. They were trying to blame anything but the mesh.”

Her GP suggested back pain might be the problem.

She returned home in a wheelchair and on morphine, and said her five-year relationship broke down soon after. “I couldn’t go to the toilet, all the drugs I was on, that’s very hard for somebody,” she said. “He couldn’t cope. I can accept it now, but it was very hard at the time.”

She couldn’t continue her job as a manager of a business that sold bathroom products to hotels because it required her to drive and regularly travel to London. As a result of the drop in her income, she also lost her house and had to move to a ground floor rented flat.

Woodrow had her mesh partially removed a year ago, but requires further surgery to remove the remaining pieces. Her health is better but she is still on pain medication and uses a stick to walk beyond a short distance.

Woodrow said she was given no sense that the procedure was designed to be permanent, recalling that her surgeon even suggested that because of her age she might need to have it replaced in the future. Pelvic mesh is not designed to be removed as it becomes embedded in surrounding tissue to act as a support.

“I wasn’t told that they couldn’t take it out,” she said. “My understanding was that it was just sitting there.”

She believes trial results suggesting that mesh is an effective cure may have overlooked the broader experiences of patients.

“They measure it by the success of you not wetting yourself,” she said. “You’re not wetting yourself, but you’ve got pain.”

Vaginal mesh implants: ‘If I lift my leg my whole body shakes’

Lisa Woodrow, 54, is one of the women who felt compelled to travel to parliament on Wednesday, after suffering serious complications from vaginal mesh surgery that led to her losing her job, partner and home.

Woodrow, a former marketing manager from Thetford, Norfolk, was offered a mesh procedure five years ago and believed she’d be a “new woman” after surgery. After experiencing difficult births – she has two adult sons – she had pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence, meaning she suffered embarrassing leaks and had to wear incontinence pads. But she was also active, enjoyed life and had recently moved in with her partner.

“I had a good job, I had a good social life, I was fit and healthy. I did my high kicks and everything,” she said. “If I lift my leg now my whole body shakes.”

Q&A

What is a vaginal mesh implant?

The implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to traditional surgical approaches for treating urinary incontinence and prolapse, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth. For the majority of women the operation is successful.

However, concerns are mounting over the severe complications suffered by large numbers of patients, including chronic pain, mesh cutting through tissue into the vagina and being left unable to walk or have sex. Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary Ethicon produces one of the most widely used mesh products, is fighting a major class action in Australia. The Guardian revealed in August that thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed during the past decade, suggesting that about one in 15 women fitted with the most common type of mesh support later require surgery to have it extracted due to complications.

After surgery, Woodrow suspected something was wrong because she had pain radiating from her groin into her back and down her left leg. Two-and-a-half years after surgery she suddenly experienced excruciating pain. She was taken to hospital in an ambulance, unable to walk, and remained there for six weeks. Doctors seemed reluctant to accept that her pain could be linked to the mesh implant.

“They said perhaps you’ve got neurological overload,” she said. “They kept asking if I’ve got a stressful job. They were trying to blame anything but the mesh.”

Her GP suggested back pain might be the problem.

She returned home in a wheelchair and on morphine, and said her five-year relationship broke down soon after. “I couldn’t go to the toilet, all the drugs I was on, that’s very hard for somebody,” she said. “He couldn’t cope. I can accept it now, but it was very hard at the time.”

She couldn’t continue her job as a manager of a business that sold bathroom products to hotels because it required her to drive and regularly travel to London. As a result of the drop in her income, she also lost her house and had to move to a ground floor rented flat.

Woodrow had her mesh partially removed a year ago, but requires further surgery to remove the remaining pieces. Her health is better but she is still on pain medication and uses a stick to walk beyond a short distance.

Woodrow said she was given no sense that the procedure was designed to be permanent, recalling that her surgeon even suggested that because of her age she might need to have it replaced in the future. Pelvic mesh is not designed to be removed as it becomes embedded in surrounding tissue to act as a support.

“I wasn’t told that they couldn’t take it out,” she said. “My understanding was that it was just sitting there.”

She believes trial results suggesting that mesh is an effective cure may have overlooked the broader experiences of patients.

“They measure it by the success of you not wetting yourself,” she said. “You’re not wetting yourself, but you’ve got pain.”

Vaginal mesh implants: ‘If I lift my leg my whole body shakes’

Lisa Woodrow, 54, is one of the women who felt compelled to travel to parliament on Wednesday, after suffering serious complications from vaginal mesh surgery that led to her losing her job, partner and home.

Woodrow, a former marketing manager from Thetford, Norfolk, was offered a mesh procedure five years ago and believed she’d be a “new woman” after surgery. After experiencing difficult births – she has two adult sons – she had pelvic prolapse and urinary incontinence, meaning she suffered embarrassing leaks and had to wear incontinence pads. But she was also active, enjoyed life and had recently moved in with her partner.

“I had a good job, I had a good social life, I was fit and healthy. I did my high kicks and everything,” she said. “If I lift my leg now my whole body shakes.”

Q&A

What is a vaginal mesh implant?

The implants have been widely used as a simple, less invasive alternative to traditional surgical approaches for treating urinary incontinence and prolapse, conditions that can commonly occur after childbirth. For the majority of women the operation is successful.

However, concerns are mounting over the severe complications suffered by large numbers of patients, including chronic pain, mesh cutting through tissue into the vagina and being left unable to walk or have sex. Johnson & Johnson, whose subsidiary Ethicon produces one of the most widely used mesh products, is fighting a major class action in Australia. The Guardian revealed in August that thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed during the past decade, suggesting that about one in 15 women fitted with the most common type of mesh support later require surgery to have it extracted due to complications.

After surgery, Woodrow suspected something was wrong because she had pain radiating from her groin into her back and down her left leg. Two-and-a-half years after surgery she suddenly experienced excruciating pain. She was taken to hospital in an ambulance, unable to walk, and remained there for six weeks. Doctors seemed reluctant to accept that her pain could be linked to the mesh implant.

“They said perhaps you’ve got neurological overload,” she said. “They kept asking if I’ve got a stressful job. They were trying to blame anything but the mesh.”

Her GP suggested back pain might be the problem.

She returned home in a wheelchair and on morphine, and said her five-year relationship broke down soon after. “I couldn’t go to the toilet, all the drugs I was on, that’s very hard for somebody,” she said. “He couldn’t cope. I can accept it now, but it was very hard at the time.”

She couldn’t continue her job as a manager of a business that sold bathroom products to hotels because it required her to drive and regularly travel to London. As a result of the drop in her income, she also lost her house and had to move to a ground floor rented flat.

Woodrow had her mesh partially removed a year ago, but requires further surgery to remove the remaining pieces. Her health is better but she is still on pain medication and uses a stick to walk beyond a short distance.

Woodrow said she was given no sense that the procedure was designed to be permanent, recalling that her surgeon even suggested that because of her age she might need to have it replaced in the future. Pelvic mesh is not designed to be removed as it becomes embedded in surrounding tissue to act as a support.

“I wasn’t told that they couldn’t take it out,” she said. “My understanding was that it was just sitting there.”

She believes trial results suggesting that mesh is an effective cure may have overlooked the broader experiences of patients.

“They measure it by the success of you not wetting yourself,” she said. “You’re not wetting yourself, but you’ve got pain.”