Each year in the UK, more than 70,000 adults receive treatment for a hernia in the NHS. A combination of both men and women experience the often painful and equally concerning medical issue, although adult men are more apt to be diagnosed with a hernia than their female counterparts. While hernia treatment is meant to provide a fix for the discomfort patients feel before seeing a doctor, many are bringing forth complaints surrounding the way in which hernia treatment is performed and the materials used to do so.
Late last year, thousands of women came together to bring suit against medical providers and NHS trusts throughout the region given their less than positive experiences after receiving pelvic mesh implant surgery. Doctors use pelvic mesh to treat prolapse and incontinence in women, but it has come to light that patients experience life-altering changes post-procedure. Ongoing pain, infection, and other uncomfortable side effects run rampant in female patients who have received mesh implants for treatment. In recent months, men have started to come forward with similar complaints, related to the use of mesh in hernia treatment.
Several men have established groups throughout the UK as a form of a support system in the aftermath of hernia mesh treatment. Members of one particular group in Northern Ireland shared the devastating effects hernia treatment has had on their personal and private lives, citing issues with chronic pain, unending discomfort, and hernia recurrence. Some have said the treatment left them with strained relationships while others have felt hopeless in finding a corrective solution to their ongoing pain. The common thread among the men in the group is that they feel as though their voices are not being heard as loudly as women who have faced complications after similar treatment with pelvic mesh. They’re looking to change that reality by banding together.
Hernia mesh treatment is the go-to recommendation for most hernia patients, and that has been the case for several decades. According to the NHS, hernias can be caused by several different factors, including carrying excessive weight, constipation, and other issues that place undue pressure on the abdomen. When a hernia takes place, an organ is essentially pushing through the muscle and tissue wall in the body, leading to a bulge that is both uncomfortable and potentially harmful to the individual. It is common for hernias to develop at the belly button, along the diaphragm or upper stomach area, or the inner groin area.
For men who experience a hernia, mesh treatment is used to repair the muscle or tissue wall that has been torn or damaged. The plastic-like material is placed at the torn area and over time, it connects with the surrounding tissue to keep future damage from taking place. The harsh reality is that, despite being the first course of treatment, hernia mesh repair is not all that successful in some cases.
A Need for Change
A clinical negligence expert team shares that while some hernia mesh treatments are completed without complication, the problems that can arise after the procedure is performed can be life-altering. Chronic pain is the most cited problem, followed by migration of the mesh to other parts of the body. In some cases, the incision site where the mesh is introduced to the body is a gateway for harmful, difficult-to-treat infections that can rapidly debilitate one’s ability to function. For others, the complications are even more severe, including bowel obstruction and new hernias developing over time.
Whether the hernia mesh treatment complications are mild or severe matters little to the men coming together to find support and encouragement. They have all experienced pushback from medical providers in getting an accurate diagnosis of mesh failure or movement post-procedure, and are now forced to live with the pain and suffering of an inefficient procedure. There is no easy fix to a failed mesh repair surgery, but there are alternative courses of treatment that can and should be recommended. At a minimum, men and women alike with hernias should understand the risks and complications of the treatment option, and they should be offered viable alternatives to ensure their health remains intact after the fact.