Transvaginal Mesh: What Are the Symptoms of Mesh Erosion?

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Attorney Jessie Paluch, founder of TruLaw, has over 25 years of experience as a personal injury and mass tort attorney, and previously worked as an international tax attorney at Deloitte. Jessie collaborates with attorneys nationwide — enabling her to share reliable, up-to-date legal information with our readers.

This article has been written and reviewed for legal accuracy and clarity by the team of writers and legal experts at TruLaw and is as accurate as possible. This content should not be taken as legal advice from an attorney. If you would like to learn more about our owner and experienced injury lawyer, Jessie Paluch, you can do so here.

TruLaw does everything possible to make sure the information in this article is up to date and accurate. If you need specific legal advice about your case, contact us by using the chat on the bottom of this page. This article should not be taken as advice from an attorney.

Key takeaways:

  • Transvaginal mesh used in surgery may cause complications like mesh erosion.
  • Mesh erosion can have symptoms like discomfort with urination, worsening incontinence, recurrent infections and painful intercourse.
  • Older women and those with certain medical conditions may be at higher risk of vaginal mesh complications.
  • Healthcare professionals use various tests to identify this problem for effective surgical treatment planning.

What are the Symptoms of Mesh Erosion? Let's Discuss.

Question: What are the Symptoms of Mesh Erosion?

Answer: Mesh erosion refers to the complication that can occur after transvaginal mesh surgery, when the mesh material erodes or protrudes into surrounding tissues.

The symptoms of mesh erosion can vary but commonly include:

  • Painful voiding
  • Urinary frequency and urgency
  • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Urinary calculi (stones in the urinary tract)
  • Urinary fistula (abnormal connection between the urinary tract and another organ)
  • Other serious complications

On this page, we’ll provide an in depth answer to “what are the Symptoms of Mesh Erosion“, discuss factors that increase the risk of mesh erosion, review possible side effects of Transvaginal Mesh, cover the signs and symptoms of mesh erosion, and much more.

Transvaginal Mesh What Are the Symptoms of Mesh Erosion

Overview of the Symptoms of Mesh Erosion

The use of mesh (such as vaginal mesh) has raised significant safety concerns.

The FDA notes that complications from this surgical device are not rare and can range from discomfort to severe medical conditions.

Slated as a more permanent solution, transvaginal meshes offer support on the compromised pelvic organ wall.

However, they pose high risks of vaginal tissue erosion.

At times, these thin devices adhere themselves so firmly to the internal organs that surgeons find it challenging to remove them completely.

Reports suggest some women who had mesh implantation experienced adverse effects like irregular vaginal bleeding or discharge and acute pelvic pain.

Table of Contents

Understanding Transvaginal Mesh

Surgical mesh, a flexible and often synthetic material, is used to treat women suffering from a pelvic floor disorder.

It is used in pelvic floor surgery to support weakened tissues and pelvic floor muscles, but its usage comes with several safety concerns due to potential complications like mesh erosion.

What is surgical mesh?

Surgical mesh is a medical device that doctors commonly use for therapeutic purposes.

This lightweight, porous fabric comes from synthetic mesh materials like polypropylene or biological ones such as animal tissue.

Doctors utilize this implantable material to provide additional support when repairing weakened or damaged tissue in the body.

Women often receive surgical mesh implants during procedures designed to treat pelvic organ prolapse and stress incontinence, two conditions resulting from weakening of muscles due to childbirth or age.

However, its usage has stirred controversy due to potential complications like vaginal mesh erosion and excruciating pain following surgery.

How is it used in pelvic floor surgery?

Surgeons utilize transvaginal mesh during pelvic floor surgical procedures with the goal of treating conditions such as stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

The procedure involves making an incision into the vaginal wall, after which they position and secure the mesh to provide support for prolapsed pelvic organs.

Often, this device is used because it offers a feasible solution designed to restore normal anatomy and improve daily function.

The process can be complex due to its nature and location within the body.

It requires exceptional precision from medical professionals specializing in urogynecology to ensure accurate placement of the urogynecologic surgical mesh implants while avoiding any potential harm to nearby tissues or organs.

Despite its functional intentions, complications may arise post-surgery such as erosion or infection; hence monitoring symptoms for timely intervention becomes crucial for patients’ health.

Possible Side Effects of Transvaginal Mesh Implants

Possible Side Effects of Transvaginal Mesh Implants

Transvaginal mesh implants can lead to numerous side effects, including, but not limited to:

  • Mesh erosion through the vaginal wall
  • Urinary complications such as incontinence and obstruction
  • Painful intercourse due to internal discomfort or injury

Mesh erosion

Mesh erosion, a potential side effect of transvaginal mesh used to repair pelvic organ prolapse, is the process where the surgical mesh protrudes through its initial placement and into the vaginal canal.

This uncomfortable complication often presents itself with symptoms like irregular vaginal bleeding or discharge, pelvic pain, swelling, and discomfort during daily activities.

In certain cases, spotting or bleeding may occur along with pain during sexual intercourse due to this issue.

A significant concern is when mesh erosion progresses towards the bowel after transvaginal mesh surgery – an event which requires immediate medical attention.

Urinary problems

Urinary problems can significantly disrupt one’s daily life and are a common issue faced by women who have undergone transvaginal mesh surgery.

The surgical mesh, used to treat conditions like pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, can cause an array of complications which includes issues related to urination.

One may experience increased urgency or frequency of urination after the procedure.

In some cases, women may notice leakage or even difficulty in passing urine.

Occurrence of recurrent urinary tract infections is also not uncommon following the implantation of surgical mesh.

These symptoms often indicate that the implanted mesh might be eroding, compromising its effectiveness and leading to discomfort for the patient.

Pain during intercourse

Experiencing pain during intercourse is a potential concern following transvaginal mesh implant surgery.

This complication, often related to mesh erosion or exposure, can significantly impact a woman’s sexual health and overall quality of life.

Many women have identified this type of discomfort as one of their primary symptoms when experiencing issues with vaginal mesh implants.

It’s crucial for patients to promptly report such changes to their doctors, as the severity and persistence of pain may indicate greater complications requiring medical intervention.

Different treatment options could be considered to alleviate these symptoms, including removal or replacement of the problematic mesh implant.

Factors That Increase Risk of Mesh Erosion

Factors That Increase Risk of Mesh Erosion

Various factors can heighten the risk of mesh erosion post-surgery.

These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Age
  • Medical history
  • Type of mesh used


As women age, the risk of complications related to transvaginal mesh increases significantly.

This is primarily due to natural body changes such as thinner vaginal tissue and an increased chance for pelvic organ prolapse.

Women over 70 years old are especially susceptible to issues like mesh erosion, a severe complication that can have long term effects on health and quality of life.

Mesh erosion may occur into the bowel with serious consequences, potentially arising years after the initial surgery.

Therefore, monitoring symptoms of vaginal mesh erosion becomes incredibly important in older age groups.

Medical history

Certain factors within a person’s medical history can influence the risk of mesh erosion.

Women who have undergone previous pelvic surgeries may experience higher rates of complications with transvaginal mesh.

Additionally, persons suffering from chronic illnesses such as diabetes or auto-immune conditions are more prone to infections which may lead to mesh erosion.

Particle habits like smoking severely impact healing and hence increase the likelihood of complications after surgery.

Hormone status also plays an integral role, particularly in post-menopausal women where lower estrogen levels can affect tissue health around the implant area.

Finally, obesity contributes to increased intra-abdominal pressure that could potentially cause mechanical stress on the implanted mesh, leading to erosion over time.

Type of mesh used

Surgical mesh, a screen-like material, serves multiple purposes in different medical procedures.

In cases of pelvic organ prolapse (POP), doctors commonly use it for repair.

The type of mesh used, however, can greatly affect the risk of complications such as mesh erosion and infection.

Some types may cause erosions through the vaginal epithelium or tear nearby organs causing significant discomfort and health issues.

Intravesical mesh tends to be associated with adherent calculi, making its extraction quite challenging when complications arise.

Therefore, detailed discussion about the specific type of surgical mesh being implanted is crucial before undergoing any POP repair surgery.

Signs and Symptoms of Mesh Erosion

While mesh erosion must be confirmed through tests run by your doctor, there are some signs you can look out for.

Signs and Symptoms of Mesh Erosion

Notable symptoms of mesh erosion include, but are not limited to:

  • An unexpected increase in incontinence
  • Discomfort when urinating
  • Frequent infections
  • The development of urinary stones

Worsening incontinence

Experiencing worsening incontinence can be a distressing sign of possible mesh erosion following transvaginal mesh surgery.

This unpleasant symptom often manifests as an increased urgency or frequency to urinate, coupled with difficulty controlling the bladder.

The condition stems from complications with the mesh implant, which can impact one’s quality of life severely if not addressed promptly.

Issues like persistent pelvic pain typically accompany this type of incontinence.

It’s crucial that anyone noticing these symptoms seek immediate medical attention to prevent further discomfort and health risks.

Discomfort with urination

Feeling discomfort while urinating is a common symptom of transvaginal mesh erosion.

This distress can turn the simple task of emptying one’s bladder into a painful ordeal.

Constant irritation in the urethra and surrounding areas could be due to the mesh migrating and eroding into these regions.

Increased abdominal pressure during urination might also exacerbate existing complications from mesh erosion, leading to additional urine leakage.

Furthermore, severe pain coupled with recurring urinary tract infections often indicates that erosion has occurred deep inside your bladder.

Despite being rarely discussed, such circumstances demand immediate medical attention for early detection and treatment planning.

Recurrent infections

Recurrent infections occur frequently as a symptom of mesh erosion, specifically urinary tract infections (UTIs).

These instances of repeated infection can cause discomfort and additional health concerns.

Mesh erosion gives bacteria an easy pathway to travel into the body, leading to these recurring issues.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about such complications related to transvaginal mesh implants.

Uncontrolled or untreated recurrent infections may potentially lead to more severe health problems over time such as kidney damage or sepsis — thus immediate attention is necessary if frequent infections are noted after surgical mesh implantation.

Stone formation

Stone formation is one of the severe complications associated with transvaginal mesh erosion.

Stones can accumulate overlying vaginal mesh exposure, leading to significant discomfort and pain for women.

It’s important to keep in mind that these stones are not naturally occurring but rather a direct result of the mesh eroding into surrounding tissues.

They can cause symptoms such as pelvic pain, vaginal bleeding, and painful intercourse (dyspareunia).

In rare cases, this complication may even evolve into more serious conditions where the eroded mesh breaches other organs like the bowel.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Mesh Erosion

In the following section, we’ll discuss the different tests and examinations used to diagnose mesh erosion, strategies for minimizing complications during treatment, and how early detection can help in effective management.

Tests and exams used to diagnose

To examine the presence and severity of mesh erosion, health professionals regularly use several diagnostic tests.

They may opt for a cystoscopy, which allows them to view the inside of the bladder and urethra using a thin, lighted tube.

Another option is proctoscopy, an instrument that gives doctors a detailed look at the rectum.

A colonoscopy perhaps offers an even more in-depth investigation into potential complications associated with transvaginal mesh.

In this procedure, a long flexible tube equipped with a camera provides comprehensive visuals of your entire colon.

Your medical team may also incorporate radiologic imaging as part of their diagnostic toolkit.

These images offer invaluable insights into what’s happening internally—without resorting to invasive surgical methods.

Minimizing complications during treatment

Doctors aim to reduce complications during treatment for mesh erosion.

Special attention is given to avoid issues that could further harm the patient, such as bleeding or injury to surrounding organs.

Techniques include carefully checking the surgical area and using minimally invasive methods whenever possible.

Surgeons may also consider removing sections of the mesh instead of the entire implant in some cases.

The use of antibiotics helps prevent infections post-surgery.

Regular follow-ups ensure any potential complications are caught early on.

Patient education about proper care and hygiene can also aid in avoiding secondary infections after treatment.

Alternatives to Transvaginal Mesh

Those experiencing complications may be wondering what alternatives exist for treating their conditions without using transvaginal mesh.

Alternatives to Transvaginal Mesh

Below, we’ll discuss what non-surgical options could be considered and what the transvaginal mesh removal process may entail.

Non-surgical options

Pelvic floor exercises, commonly known as Kegel exercises, are a top non-surgical alternative for treating stress urinary incontinence.

These simple clench-and-release movements strengthen the muscles that support your bladder.

Another effective approach is biofeedback, a technique designed to control body functions such as heart rate or muscle tension—the idea being to increase awareness and gain control over these processes.

Furthermore, pessary devices come into play—these soft silicone or plastic rings get inserted into the vagina to provide pelvic organ support and alleviate symptoms of recurrent prolapse without any surgical intervention.

Lastly, lifestyle changes can significantly improve conditions associated with menopause and childbirth-aged related issues—a balanced diet, regular exercise regime along maintaining optimal weight help keep symptoms at bay.

Often overlooked but vital aspect relates to bladder training which involves timed voiding—scheduling bathroom visits instead of waiting for the urge to urinate.

Removal of mesh

Medical professionals may suggest mesh removal in cases where complications arise from a transvaginal mesh implant.

This decision generally follows symptoms of mesh erosion such as:

  • Persistent vaginal discharge
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse
  • Other serious complications

Mesh removal can be complex due to the nature of the material and its integration with surrounding tissues.

This procedure typically involves excising the eroded parts or, in severe cases, complete removal of the device.

Various surgical techniques are employed for this purpose based on the individual’s unique circumstances.

The process aims to alleviate pain and other associated symptoms while minimizing postoperative complications.

Surgeons prioritize patient safety by trying to ensure minimal tissue damage during these procedures.

Seeking Legal Representation: Transvaginal Mesh Attorney

Receiving legal assistance can change the outcome of your transvaginal mesh complications significantly.

Seeking Legal Representation_ Transvaginal Mesh Attorney

Mesh implants, as noted, result in serious medical issues such as erosion through the vaginal mucosa.

Recovering needs expertise and financial support that lawsuits offer.

Vaginal Mesh Attorneys understand and navigate these complex requirements better than victims alone could manage.

They can help you file claims for compensation to handle health impacts caused by failed mesh implants, including, but not limited to:

  • Pain;
  • Bleeding;
  • Infection;
  • Organ perforation (which often requires additional surgery); and
  • Other serious complications

Exploring this option is not just about seeking justice but also crucial for your health recovery plan.

TruLaw’s Experience With Transvaginal Mesh Lawsuits

If you’re experiencing complications with your transvaginal mesh implant, don’t suffer in silence.

Let the experienced team at TruLaw provide the guidance and support you need.

Reach out to us today for a free consultation — we’re ready to help you navigate through this challenging time.

Conclusion: Transvaginal Mesh Erosion

Transvaginal mesh erosion can lead to complications that significantly impact a woman’s quality of life.

It is essential to recognize the symptoms early for timely treatment and possible removal.

Understanding alternatives to transvaginal mesh may also provide safer options for those suffering from pelvic floor disorders.

With knowledgeable legal representation, women facing these challenges have vital support in their quest for justice and compensation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the symptoms of mesh erosion?

    Mesh erosion refers to the complication that can occur after transvaginal mesh surgery, where the mesh material erodes or protrudes into surrounding tissues.

    The symptoms of mesh erosion can vary but commonly include:

    • Painful voiding
    • Urinary frequency and urgency
    • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
    • Recurrent urinary tract infections
    • Urinary calculi (stones in the urinary tract)
    • Urinary fistula (abnormal connection between the urinary tract and another organ)

    Other symptoms may include:

    • Vaginal bleeding
    • Abnormal vaginal discharge
    • Dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse)
    • Pelvic pain or discomfort
    • Feeling a piece of exposed mesh poking into the vagina

    It’s important to note that symptoms of mesh erosion can vary from person to person, and some individuals may not experience any symptoms at all.

    If you have undergone transvaginal mesh surgery and are experiencing any of these symptoms, reach out to TruLaw today for a free consultation – we’re ready to help you navigate through this challenging time.

  • How often do complications occur with transvaginal mesh?

    Complications with transvaginal mesh can vary among patients.

    Mesh-related complications due to infection occur in 0-8% of cases, and it’s worth noting that the most common issues reported are mesh exposure, also known as erosion, and pain.

    These come immediately after urgency urinary incontinence.

    Chronic infections caused by contamination of the device during insertion is another complication tied to transvaginal mesh implants.

    While not all women experience complications with their transvaginal mesh implant, it remains a concern for many patients undergoing this medical procedure.

  • What are the most common complications reported with transvaginal mesh?

    Vaginal mesh erosion stands as the most frequently reported complication associated with transvaginal mesh.

    This occurs when the implanted mesh breaks through the vaginal wall, causing intense discomfort and other troubling symptoms.

    Others common symptoms of vaginal mesh erosion may include:

    • Voiding dysfunctions
    • Urinary tract infections
    • Fistulae
    • Organ perforation
    • Vaginal bleeding
    • Other serious complications

    Other prevalent complications include painful abscesses (pus-filled sores), recurring instances of vaginal discharge, and scarring within the vagina itself.

  • What are some conditions that mimic transvaginal mesh complications?

    Certain medical conditions create symptoms very similar to those of transvaginal mesh complications.

    For instance, bladder sling issues years later can lead to pain and discomfort that mirror the effects of problematic mesh implants.

    Similarly, persistent low abdominal pain, groin discomfort or thigh aches could indicate pelvic organ prolapse or stress urinary incontinence, both known for mimicking problems with transvaginal mesh.

    Another condition to look out for is Interstitial Cystitis (IC), often referred as painful bladder syndrome.

    IC can cause chronic pelvic pain, recurring urinary frequency—symptoms closely related to but not caused by transvaginal mesh erosion.

    Lastly but crucially are vaginal infections which may share signs such as constant irritation and recurrent infections with faulty meshes.

  • Is pelvic floor surgery the same as Pelvic Organ Prolapse Surgery?

    Pelvic floor surgery and Pelvic Organ Prolapse (POP) surgery are related but not exactly the same.

    Pelvic floor surgery is a broader term that encompasses various surgical procedures aimed at treating conditions related to the pelvic floor, including POP.

    On the other hand, Pelvic Organ Prolapse surgery specifically refers to surgical interventions to correct the prolapse of pelvic organs, such as the bladder, uterus, or rectum.

    Pelvic floor surgery involves a range of procedures that address various pelvic floor disorders, including pelvic organ prolapse.

    It aims to restore the normal function and support of the pelvic organs.

    Some common pelvic floor surgeries include:

    • Sacrocolpopexy:  This procedure involves using mesh or graft material to support the prolapsed organs and reattach them to the sacrum.
    • Vaginal mesh procedures:  These surgeries use synthetic mesh to provide support to the weakened pelvic floor and repair prolapse.
    • Colpocleisis:  This surgery involves closing the vaginal opening partially or completely to treat prolapse in elderly or frail patients who are not candidates for more extensive procedures.

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Experienced Attorney & Legal SaaS CEO

With over 25 years of legal experience, Jessie is an Illinois lawyer, a CPA, and a mother of three.  She spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte.

In 2009, Jessie co-founded her own law firm with her husband – which has scaled to over 30 employees since its conception.

In 2016, Jessie founded TruLaw, which allows her to collaborate with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis. This hypervaluable network of experts is what enables her to share reliable legal information with her readers!

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