Thankfully, for women who deal with this issue every day, new medical advances have provided a way out, which usually means surgery.
One of the most common procedures involves surgically implanting a type of mesh into the pelvic area. And now, women are coming forward saying the specific mesh used has essentially ruined their lives.
Several women are beginning to walk away from their lawsuits against the mesh-providing company, Johnson & Johnson, with millions of dollars. In the case of Pennsylvania woman Ella Ebaugh, 51, she was awarded $57 million.
When speaking to CBS 3, she opened up about just how terrible her experience has been. She said she was just barely able to be present at her daughter’s wedding because of the amount of pain she’s been in.
And despite walking away with a legal victory, she said it’s still not what matters:
“It was a very happy day, but I was still sad and depressed. I’m in excruciating pain when I’m standing, it hurts when I’m sitting.”
She said the reason she needed the operation in the first place was because she gave birth to five children, resulting in “weakened” pelvic floor muscles. But the mesh used to support the tissue surrounding the urethra eventually eroded into her urethra, causing excruciating pain.
She told CBS 3:
“My urethra is mangled, and I will suffer for the rest of my life.”
Since then, she’s reportedly undergone three revision surgeries to try and correct the problem, but some of the tissue still remains implanted in her urethra:
“I feel like I’m on fire, you know, down there.”
According to CBS 3, Ella is just one of hundreds of thousands of women who have had the same mesh implanted into their own pelvic areas. Though Johnson & Johnson is named as the responsible party, the mesh is actually produced by a company called Ethicon, which is a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
Ethicon, however, reportedly plans on appealing Ella’s verdict, and it released a statement:
Ethicon is confident in the positive impact our pelvic mesh products have had. The use of mesh to treat stress urinary incontinence is supported by medical experts, medical societies, physicians and regulatory organizations around the world.
So far, thousands of lawsuits have been filed across the country and around the world, including in the UK and Australia. In fact, in August, a woman in New Jersey was awarded $20 million after experiencing excruciating side effects from a mesh insert.
Per the Daily Mail, Johnson & Johnson stopped selling four of its mesh inserts once claims began surfacing of their side effects, however medical experts reportedly still say the mesh is effective.
Clearly, the controversy surrounding mesh inserts isn’t going to calm down any time soon. However, judging by the experiences of hundreds of thousands of women who have experienced pain and discomfort, women might now be hesitant to opt for the same procedures.