Over 800 women are taking the makers of a vaginal mesh implant and the National Health Service (NHS) to court after the contraption left them with chronic pain, as well as being unable to walk or have sex.
The implants, which are used to treat incontinence and pelvic prolapse, lifting the organ and anchoring it back in place, are made of polypropylene, a plastic substance also used in water bottles and food containers.
The mesh, which is often used as a recovery procedure for childbirth incontinence, can however pierce through the vagina, causing serious distress.
The BBC Victoria Derbyshire show found that several women had to give up their jobs due to the discomfort and pain caused by the malfunctioning implants. Other women recounted how the cuts had been so deep their partners injured themselves during sex.
Childminder Kate Langley told the program that the first surgeon to examine her after she complained “could see the [mesh] tape had come through my vagina – protruding through.
“The mesh had cut its way through – like cheese-wire,” she added.
She was admitted to the hospital 53 times due to the implant and was left with permanent nerve damage.
“We haven’t had sex for four-and-a-half years. This stuff breaks up marriages,” said another victim, Claire Cooper.
“I wouldn’t at all be surprised if there are mesh-injured women that have taken their own lives and didn’t know what the problem was. I want the procedure banned, I want the material banned.”
The 39 year-old said she considered suicide but decided against it for her children. Her partner is now her “carer.”
Over 92,000 women in Britain had the vaginal mesh built in between April 2007 and March 2015. One in 11 women experienced problems with the implant, data found by the BBC program revealed.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said it “sympathises” with the women affected, but makers insist the procedure “helped millions.”
“The greater proportion of the clinical community and patients support the use of these devices in the UK,” an MHRA spokesperson said.