By Niamh Shackleton
A mum-of-two who downed up to 15 bottles of wine per week has claimed she turned to binge drinking after her pelvic mesh left her in agony.
Emma Hawksworth, 36, from Southport, Merseyside, opted to have the pelvic mesh – used to help with internal prolapses – after the traumatic birth of her daughter.
But just weeks after the mesh was inserted, Emma claims she began suffering from pain, nerve pain, headaches, fatigue and bowel issues – something that left her in agony.
Now, five years on, Emma is desperate to have the pelvic mesh – made of woven synthetic netting – removed.
However, visits to several different consultants all giving different diagnosis’ – from IBS and depression to carpel tunnel syndrome and nerve damage – she has found that no amount of medication helps.
In a bid to cope with her daily agony, Emma revealed she has turned to binge drinking up to three bottles of wine per night – which costs the self-employed cleaner a staggering £300 per month.
She is now trying to overcome her drinking habits thanks to the support of her husband, Matt, 38.
Emma said: “I was left with no choice but to drink up to three bottles of wine per night to cope with the pain and stress.
“It all started around 18 months after the mesh was inserted and I was sick of being fobbed off by different consultants.
“I was just being constantly bounced around and it all got on top of me – having a drink would help me sleep at night because it would forget about the pain.
“It was about six month’s ago my husband, as supportive as he has been through everything, gave me an ultimatum to sort things because it was becoming a strain on our marriage.
“I was told the mesh would speed up my recovery period following my corrective surgery, but they were way off.”
Emma needed the corrective surgery following the difficult birth of her first child, Sophie, now nine, after she was stuck in the birth canal for two hours.
This caused Emma a lot of internal damage and following the birth, doctors performed a ‘basic repair’ but forewarned she would need more corrective surgery at a later date.
She added: “I needed cystocele front wall repair – where they remove part of my vaginal wall to strengthen it – following the birth of my first child, they said they would ‘sling up’ my bladder as well as the procedure to treat urinary incontinence.
“This procedure was quite complicated as it involved using my internal muscles and tissue to be used as the sling.
“As it was complicated, they offered to use the mesh instead as they said it was easier and had a quicker recovery time, but this definitely wasn’t the case.”
After Emma and her husband Matt decided they didn’t want anymore children after the birth of their second child, Sam, now six, Emma decided to undergo the mesh procedure.
She said: “After having Sam I told my consultant that we were happy that we had completed our family and could I have some information about this repair that I needed.
“I then went through several internal examinations and tests to determine what needed to be done, which in this case was using pelvic mesh.”
From the day Emma has the mesh, she claims she has been in constant pain, and even ended up having to leave her job as a letting agent.
Emma added: “My work and home life are massively affected by everything that has happened to me.
“I’ve had shingles twice in the last 18 months, I’ve also had two breast abscesses – once which had to be removed surgically along with all my milk ducts, and I now have food allergies to milk, beef and wheat which have resulted in two A&E admissions.
“In short, I feel rubbish all the time – I also put on three and a half stone after the operation and am really struggling to shift it, I’ve managed two stone so far but that’s taken me three years.”
Following her ordeal, and many trips to the consultants, doctors have finally recognised the mesh may be partly to blame for Emma’s pain.
She is now on a waiting list to have the mesh removed, which could take years as it took eight months for Emma to just get a referral.
Despite this, Emma plans on keeping her drinking to a minimum in the hope the mesh removal will come sooner rather than later.
She has joined a campaign led by hundreds of women in the UK who have struggled with health issues following pelvic mesh surgery and have campaigned to Parliament to ‘sling the mesh’.
She said: “I know I’m not the only woman who’s going through this pain, despite doctors telling me that only one of women have issues with pelvic mesh.
“I joined a group of Facebook and all the women have the same symptoms as me, making it obvious that the mesh is the cause.
“I’ve looked into going private but the prices are unreal and the best recommended private surgeon is based in London – I struggle with the trip from Southport to Manchester for my appointments, never mind down to London.”