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Tension-free vaginal tape surgery

Do not have a TVT inserted

In 2009, after several years of experiencing post baby minor stress urinary incontinence, I went for private consultation to discuss this. I was given a very basic assessment and told a TVT mesh would be suitable. I was in charge of a wonderful Skin Clinic, my own creation of 30 years pioneering beauty in the South West. I was CQC qualified and knowledgeable in consent issues with my own patients, I naturally expected honesty from my consultant. As a consultant in my own business bringing up two young daughters alone I wanted absolute assurance that this was “minimally invasive”, with no dangers. I was reassured by the surgeon explaining I would be home within 24 hours. I went for surgery, but when I awoke I was in searing pain, I had severe tremors, was swollen and extremely bruised on my pelvic area. I tried to get out of bed to go to the toilet in my private room but collapsed to the floor. Pain was increasing to something far greater than labour pain, I was catheretised and given three ice packs the size of pillows. Oral morphine was given but the pain increased.

Three days later I was discharged. I went home to my mother, but within a couple of hours my catheter blocked as it had been doing in hospital. My brother drove me back to where I was re-admitted for emergency surgery to evacuate a large pelvic haematoma. Seven years later I still suffer pelvic and leg pain, am bladder and bowel injured with embarrassing problems. I have had two unsuccessful surgeries to try to remove this vile device, but much of it remains fused to my pubic bone and the sides of my bladder.  All that I had worked for gone and my two daughters became my carers. I still cry and get depressed about this as the failure of this device has caused catastrophic and painful harm, taken away my right to work and be a happy healthy normal woman.


Susan, UK

What is the mesh made of - it's caused so many health problems

My incontinence experience started around 2002. I was referred to the Royal Berkshire Hospital and had an appointment with an urologist consultant. I had the TVT operation in 2003.  This helped with the incontinence for a while but I have NEVER been free of using continence pads from the day of the operation. 

I suffered from lower back pain and a dreadful ache in my right leg and I would have UTIs so frequently that I was on antibiotics. I had constant pains in my leg, chest, lower tummy and headaches. In 2009 I had a temporal biopsy – this was negative and given painkillers (Tramadol). I visited my GP surgery numerous times complaining of unexplained pain. I was finally referred to Neurology and diagnosed with Fibromyalgia – That year I had a right Nephfrectomy for kidney cancer. By this time I was still having incontinence problems and painful legs. I have had three cystoscopy test showing red bladder. I visited the urologist about my incontinence getting worse and was given  tablets and offered Botox – neither helped. 

By 2011 I had a growth internally and was bleeding. A gynae surgeon cauterised it and advised me to go back to Urology. I had an operation as they found 7cm of the mesh sling tape in my urethra.  By 2012 the TVT had eroded into my urethra and part of it was removed – my incontinence worsened. I suffered UTI after UTI and put on antibiotics. A mid stream urine sample showed E.coli. In  July 2013 – I had an op for a Femoral Hernia and this was repaired with a mesh.  Later another cystoscopy and an injection of Botox. In 2015 I had a suprapubic granoloma and had this cut out by local anaesthetic. It returned and was repaired again when my surgeon “pulled” out 5 inches of mesh tape that was infected. It was sent away for analysis and a clinical report showed that more tape remained. I have had tests for my leg pains but don’t know if there is still any mesh inside me. I want to know what on earth this stuff is made of to cause so many health problems.

Pamela, UK

My journey with mesh

My journey with mesh started in May 2003 when I had a Trans vaginal tape (TVT) fitted for stress urinary incontinence. In January 2011 I attended my GP several times with urine infections which also had a lot of blood in it. I was given antibiotics which did not clear up the infection. I was in a lot of pain and found it very difficult to sit down so asked my GP to refer me to a urologist.The urologist decided that I needed a cystoscopy under a general anaesthetic and he found that my TVT tape had eroded my urethra and was sitting inside my urethra. I was prescribed antibiotics, tramadol and metaclopromide. I waited for two weeks but no help was suggested by the urology department as my case was very complex. Read my full story here...

Ann, UK

The danger of the TVT bladder sling

I was a healthy and happy mum of two teenagers but had a niggling problem of suffering life’s little leaks when I exercised. It wasn’t the end of the world but when I heard about a simple little 20 minute day case operation to fix it I jumped at the chance. I was told it was the gold standard treatment with minimal risks and that I would be healed within a week. The decision to go under the knife was to change the course of my life. Forever. Read my full story here...

Kathy, UK

I wish I'd done my research before having the operation

Four years ago I went to my GP to talk about the stress incontinence I was experiencing. He immediately told me about one of the surgeons at our local hospital who had 'perfected' a bladder repair operation that would be ideal for me. Three months later I was in front of the surgeon and a month later I was having the operation to insert a small piece of mesh into my body to hold up my bladder and resolve the problem. It all seemed so easy and the surgeon was so sure about the operation and so I never thought to look into it for myself. I didn't know anyone who had had this operation so I had no-one to ask about it. Having the operation has turned out to be one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I have been in pain every day since. I have taken various medications to try to ease the problem and am now on two different ones that are working well enough just now but that may not last. I've had acupuncture and am due to have more, and I'm seeing a physiotherapist and will be taking part in an exercise programme to strengthen my left side as it has become very weak. And I'm also seeing a counsellor as I am very depressed, understandably given my situation.

It turns out that this mesh has been banned in some parts of the world. Thousands of women are in the same situation as I am because surgeons have either ignored the dangers of the mesh or have not kept themselves informed about the issue. Either way it's women who suffer. SO please if this operation is offered to you find out all you can about it and especially about the alternative procedures that can be offered. Don't just take their word for it. I no longer have stress incontinence but I think I'd rather have that than the pain I'm in now.

Julia, UK