Vaginal erosion refers to an unnatural process of a vaginal mesh “eroding” into the vaginal area. Such a mesh is inserted into the vagina as a means of pelvis prolapse treatment. For years, doctors have believed that medical mesh products can help to support sagging pelvis organs, therefore eliminating the need for surgery and helping to control incontinence and other ill effects of vaginal prolapse.
Vaginal erosion is what you might call an unpredictable side effect. For the past three years, the FDA has been making “unofficial yet official” announcements regarding medical meshes, stating that they are causing just as many problems as they are cited to fix. While the FDA has not banned these mesh products (or mesh pessaries) they have made explicit warnings to patients and doctors who may be considering the option. The FDA reported that it received over 1,000 complaints indicting several top manufacturing companies.
What Are Vaginal Mesh Erosion Symptoms?
Mesh erosion symptoms come in the way of vaginal pain, infection and scarring. In fact, removing the mesh is far too painful to be done without surgery. Yes, not only does vaginal erosion require surgery (which patients are trying to avoid in pursuing vaginal meshes) but it may also reactivate many of the original symptoms; namely, incontinence, fallen bladder, pain during sex, pain and pressure and urinary/incontinence problems. This condition also comes with an increased risk of organ injury. Not only can the vagina suffer injury, but the bladder, bowels and blood vessels of the pelvis can also be damaged.
Sometimes mesh erosion symptoms can be subtle; for instance, some patients may only experience problems with vaginal discharge, occasional bleeding, or a protrusion of the vaginal surgical mesh. However, the most severe instances of vaginal erosion have been very painful, as women started experiencing adverse reactions to the mesh almost immediately after insertion or during insertion. Sadly, some women have had to undergo multiple surgeries to address many complications and permanent injuries resulting from these meshes.
Major Problems with Vaginal Erosion
Vaginal erosion can cause infection all over the internal pelvis, including the vagina, or urethra or bladder. While Bard Avaulta mesh and Ethicon Gynecare Prolift have been singled out, there could be many other mesh products that pose a serious risk to patients. Indeed, many female patients are not even aware of what type of surgical meshes are being implanted into them!
All inserted vaginal products are mesh products, regardless of whether they are called slings or tape. Until now, mesh was considered the only “safe” material that could be used for such a delicate procedure. Now that belief has been turned upside down, with the FDA’s official warning (but still no ban) on transvaginal meshes.
Female patients that are considering mesh solutions are being warned to reconsider, while female patients who have already underwent the procedure are being told to come forward with problems of pain, bowels or urine problems, and perforations of the genital area. Some patients are having to take blood transfusions and seek out drainage of hematomas or abscesses because of the damage being done by safe meshes.
At this point in time, not all meshes can be singled out as the cause of the problem, nor can science prove the reality of this life-threatening allergic reaction. (Which explains why the FDA is only issuing warnings as opposed to a ban.) There are no particular characteristics that have been identified for vaginal erosion probability. In general, doctors and scientists are examining overall health, the size and shape of the mesh material, the type of mesh, the technique of insertion, estrogen hormone levels, and other related surgical procedures being performed at the same time. Stay tuned for the latest developments!