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Sling The Mesh: 'Talking is the only way to raise awareness'

PUBLISHED: 10:00 16 March 2019

Lorraine Lodge pictured with her surgeon Suzy Elneil. Photo: Lorraine Lodge

Lorraine Lodge pictured with her surgeon Suzy Elneil. Photo: Lorraine Lodge

Lorraine Lodge

In a corner of a Wetherspoons pub a group of women are catching up over a cup of coffee.

A TVT mesh implant. Photo: ArchantA TVT mesh implant. Photo: Archant

To anyone walking past it may seem unremarkable, but these women’s lives have all been irreversibly affected by vaginal mesh implants.

The women met through the Norfolk and Suffolk Meshies - a local branch of the national Sling the Mesh Facebook campaign group, which was set up by Archant journalist Kath Sansom in 2015 to raise awareness of the dangers of mesh and for its safety to be reviewed.

After getting in touch with each other online, the women regularly meet to offer support, share stories and think about how they can raise awareness of the mesh scandal- which has left thousands of women pain and with complications.

Chatting about everything from the side effects of medication, to battles to get referrals to specialist clinics and how the mesh can put an end to a couple’s sex life, no topic is off limits.

Jacki Thomson, 60 from Norwich said: “People don’t want to talk about the pain in their vagina, but we do now because we are so cross.”

Lorraine Lodge, 52, from Great Yarmouth said the support she had found through the group had been invaluable: “The group has been a lifeline, nobody else really understands what you’re going through.

“I went from being a quiet little mouse in the corner to talking on the BBC about it, talking makes people aware.”

Ms Lodge said she believed from her own experience there are still thousands of women who probably don’t know what’s causing their discomfort. She urged them to approach their GP, adding: “If you’ve been told you’ve had a sling, tape, PVDF, if you’ve got symptoms you didn’t have before like leg pain, vaginal pain, constant UTI, numbness, unusual discharge, brain fog.

“Any concerns go to your GP and get them to test for mesh, ask questions,” she said.

Melanie Hill, 54 from Attleborough said: “There are a lot of people who are out there and don’t realise they’ve got it.

“Keeping on talking is the only way to raise awareness.” she said.

The Norfolk and Suffolk Meshies or the Sling the Mesh Facebook groups which are both closed Facebook groups can be found online.

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