Pelvic mesh surgery is used to medically fix incontinence issues, but in some cases there are complications, complications of all kinds.

Lila Windly underwent pelvic mesh surgery back in 2011 for incontinence and has been in pain and fighting to get it removed ever since.

“The pain has been incredible, I spent five weeks going back from the floor to the bed screaming in pain,” she says.

The debilitating pain and discomfort has also taken a mental toll on Windly.

“Depression is huge, it’s daily, when you get out of bed in the morning and you put your feet on the floor you wonder if you’re going to be able to walk today or not. It’s a huge issue.”

Windly is not alone. A study just released by the Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University shows women who have complications after pelvic mesh implants are at an increased risk of depression and suicide.

As part of the study, data was collected from 60,000 women who underwent the procedure from 2004 to 2015.

Dr Blayne Welk, a scientist at Lawson, says, “A lot of women are going into these operations to improve their quality of life and I think a lot of cases when women have severe complications afterwards [it] leads to a lot of decisional regret and a lot of emotions about, ‘Why did I do this and why can’t I fix it now?’”

The study also showed that younger women who have pelvic mesh issues are at higher risk for mental health complications.

“The complications can sometimes affect intimacy with their partners, they are often still working and raising children and I think that’s why complications have such a profound effect in that age group,” Welk says.

He is hopeful the study will also make the medical community mindful of the challenges these patients are facing.