Updated 05 April 2019

WATCH: Woman tells of her ordeal after mesh surgery – went from being fit young mum to suicidal

A 50-year-old woman shares her ordeal after she underwent mesh surgery for what she describes as mild stress incontinence - but the aftermath took such a toll that she became suicidal.

Urinary incontinence is not only a condition that can cause a great deal of embarrassment, but it can potentially be life-ruining. There are treatment options, many often including the surgical procedure where vaginal mesh is implanted.

But this surgery comes with its own set of risks and can include a host of side-effects such as pain and infection, not to mention a far-reaching effect on intimacy. 

In this video, Jackie Cheetham, a 50-year old woman, shares her agony after receiving the mesh implant procedure. She explains that she always suffered from mild stress incontinence, from the age of 15.

But after childbirth, the condition worsened and she sought help from a GP when the incontinence started getting in the way of her marathon training. She was referred to a hospital, where the procedure was described as a quick same-day surgery. She woke up with groin pain and was told that it will get better. 

But over the weeks, the pain progressed to her bladder. She spent next few months in and out of hospital as the pain gradually got worse.

She lost her job, and her house - and found herself bed-ridden and unable to play with her kids. It all took such a toll that Jackie tried to commit suicide.

Her ordeal isn't the first. Health24 previously reported on other patients who experienced several complications such as unbearable pain and nerve damage.

Image credit: ITN


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Incontinence Expert

Dr Prenevin Govender completed his MBChB at the University of Cape Town in 2001. He obtained his Fellowship of the College of Urologists in 2009 and graduated with distinction for a Masters in Medicine from the University of Cape Town in 2010. His special interests include laparoscopic, pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence surgery. He consults full-time at Life Kingsbury Hospital in Claremont.

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