Saskatchewan women raise awareness on vaginal mesh

March 7, 2013 - 2:03pm
Prince Albert women launching surgical mesh website March 7 2013. Nigel Maxwell/pANow
Prince Albert women launching surgical mesh website March 7 2013. Nigel Maxwell/pANow

Marika English and Stephanie Brad are among three women from Saskatchewan responsible for a new website aimed at raising awareness about the problems associated with surgical mesh.

"I wanted to make sure that other women didn't go through with the surgery without knowing all the risks, the real risks," Brad, who is from Domremy, said.

In 2006, she underwent an operation to treat involuntary urination. Doctors implanted a surgical mesh in her.

Then two years ago, Health Canada issued an advisory saying there were complications with the procedure. Brad now lives with excruciating pain.
The provincial ministry of health maintains there are trained doctors in Canada who can remove it. But Brad said not one doctor offered her a full guarantee that they can remove all of the mesh.

And since the launch of their website last summer, she has learned she is not alone.

"We've had a number of women email us or call us. They didn't even realize it was mesh causing their problems, and then they saw the symptoms on TV when we were describing it," said Brad.

Marika English, who is from Prince Albert, paid $30,000 to have her mesh removed by a doctor in California.

"If this was available in Canada, why would we be paying our own money, borrowing money, putting our families and ourselves in financial jeopardy," she said.

English said the mesh affected her whole life. She could not sit or even drive a car. She was forced to take painkillers just so she could attend her son's wedding.

What frustrates her even more is hearing that despite the advisory, there are still some doctors performing the operation.

"Since we have been on TV nationally and locally, we have had women phoning us that have had surgery a month ago, three months ago, seven weeks ago......Why is this continuing?"

The website so far has had 2,000 unique visitors. English said they have had 12 women contact them and they have 19 women in their database.

You can read more about the issues associated with surgical mesh at their website. There is a petition on the website.

The women said they are now considering a rally in Regina.