Real Life

Half of the women who had complications from mesh implants also suffered 'relationship breakdowns'

Over 800 Aussie women are seeking damages for the vaginal implants they say butchered their insides. The psychological effects were reportedly just as bad.

By Lorna Gray
Aussie women seeking damages for vaginal mesh implants

A Senate inquiry is currently underway into vaginal mesh implants. More than 800 Australian women have joined the class action against Johnson & Johnson Medical Australia and subsidiary companies Ethicon Inc and Ethicon Sarl, over their implants used in supposedly routine pelvic floor surgery.

The women say they suffered “life-altering complications” caused by the implants. Shockingly, the mesh is being blamed for internal organ injuries as well as incontinence and chronic pain, which has left some women unable to have sex.

"The complications that Australian women are suffering include the mesh or tape eroding through, and into, surrounding tissue and organs, as well as incontinence, infection and chronic pain,” stated Shine Lawyers representative Rebecca Jancauskas.

"Many now live in excruciating pain, suffering terrible side effects that impact all aspects of their lives."

Jancauskas said it’s thought the implants have been used to treat the pelvic floors of a whopping 8,000 Australian women.

Senator Derryn Hinch described it as “the biggest medical scandal for Australian women since thalidomide,” earlier this year.

Senator Hinch spearheaded the inquiry which aims is to find out how many women have had the procedure and how many have suffered because of it.

72% of women surveyed by the Women's Health and Research Institute of Australia (WHRIA) said their sex lives had been affected.

Senator Hinch told the third public hearing in Sydney that one women had approached him with a handful of steel wool and said: "This is what my husband feels every time we try to have sex".

He also told the hearing that complications after the procedure caused "30% of partnerships [to] break up."

But Professor Thierry Vancaillie, founding director of the WHRIA, said this figure was more like half.

Take 5 magazine spoke to Lynda Garlinge , 65, who says she had a mesh implant fitted without her consent after incontinence issues. She says “nearly a decade of my life was destroyed by pain.”

“It was supposed stop any leaks, but it turned out the mesh could cause life-ruining side effects like intense pain, infections, bleeding and painful sex, not to mention even worse incontinence and constipation,” she told the publication.

The inquiry will report its findings in November.