Living with chronic pain is one of the hardest things in the world to do. It’s like ignoring a voice that’s constantly yelling in your ear and always having to put a mask on to hide what you’re really feeling. Unless you experience this type of nagging injury, it’s hard to really understand what someone is going through.
For a chronic condition like transvaginal mesh (TVM) complications, there are other hardships associated with it. People can’t see it and you look fine on the outside; it’s hard for others to know the extent of your suffering since it’s hidden. Secondly, TVM injuries are extremely private and personal. You’re in pain but you don’t want to have to explain your embarrassing situation every time you can’t volunteer at your child’s school or go out with a group of girlfriends. TVM pain also hurts your relationships. This can be due to the impossibility of having sex with your partner due to pain or because of the emotional stress and depression that is many times associated with chronic pain.
If any of this sounds familiar, we want to first say that we are so sorry that you have to go through this. Chronic pain feels like relentless torture, and we sympathize with the daily struggle that you face. Here are some ways that hopefully help you to manage this difficult condition.
Pain Management With Transvaginal Mesh
Here are some simple tips to try to alleviate pressure in your abdominal and vaginal areas where your pain may be radiating from:
- Don’t strain when you pass bowel movements or when you urinate. This puts pressure on the nerves and can cause more pain. Discuss healthy diet options with your doctor to optimize your digestive health.
- Try to avoid sitting for long periods of time which can put excess pressure on this injured area. You might want to try a standing desk if you are able to work or if you do need to sit for long periods of time, use a coccyx-cut-out memory foam cushion which is shaped like a “u” and can relieve some of the pressure.
- Your doctor may prescribe you topical estrogen cream, antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, or even opioids to help manage your symptoms and pain. Be sure to read all of the materials these medications come with, as certain drugs have higher risks (especially opioids).
- An additional option may be to have TVM removal. Unfortunately, there are far fewer doctors that can remove mesh than those who are able to put it in. Also, tissue grows in and around mesh so complete mesh removal isn’t always possible. However, one study found that 64% of patients that had mesh removal had “significant improvement” over their pain.
Give Yourself a Break
Guilt is one of the biggest enemies that someone with chronic pain faces, especially if you have a husband and kids. You probably want to work full-time to help pay the bills and it’s heartbreaking when you’re kids want to go to the park and you just can’t get off the couch. You didn’t ask for this and your pain isn’t your fault. Guilt can lead to depression, so don’t give it the power to make things worse. And in those moments when you feel overwhelmed and frustrated, it’s okay to let out those feelings by crying in your room or yelling into your pillow. Your feelings are normal and you need to address them and work through them. When life gets too hard, be sure to reach out to your doctor to get additional help. This isn’t easy and you don’t have to do it alone.