A mum-of-two has shared how her life was turned upside down after a vaginal mesh surgery left her in constant pain and unable to be intimate with her husband. The Swansea woman first started experiencing symptoms of incontinence in 2010.

It began with leaking urine when she coughed, but as time went on the symptoms became more severe, and she started to have accidents which stopped her from leaving the house. She first saw her GP in April, 2012, and was referred to a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Neath Port Talbot Hospital.

Over the next few months, the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, saw the same gynaecologist until the last time in February, 2013, when she was told a clinical review was needed to assess her symptoms. Despite chasing it up, the woman did not receive any further communication from the department until January, 2016.

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Later that spring she was offered a TVT mesh and underwent the surgical procedure in October, 2017, at Singleton Hospital. The woman was 50 at the time, and the mesh had a severe impact on her sex life. Join our WhatsApp news community here for the latest breaking news

"I tried to have intercourse with my husband around six weeks after the surgery, but he could feel the mesh inside me and said it felt like a cheese grater to him. He started to urinate blood and caught an infection. We no longer have sex because it's too painful and embarrassing," she explained.

She was seen again for the first time following her operation in June, 2018, after she noticed stitches coming undone. An examination confirmed the mesh was protruding through her vagina. The examining gynaecologist told her that the procedure had gone "very wrong". She experienced a number of infections, which led to the mesh being removed in September, 2018.

The woman has now settled a medical negligence claim against Swansea Bay University Health Board after she claimed she was not properly told of the risks of the procedure. The health board has "sincerely apologised" for failings in the way her case was managed. Lime Solicitors, which represented the woman, also said that she was "lost to follow-up" care and was not told of alternative treatments to the surgery.

The Swansea woman claimed she asked about the success rate of TVT mesh and was not told of any downsides or what could go wrong. "Had I known there were complications or other, less invasive options, I would have tried them before going straight to an operation," she said.

She said she was still suffering the effects after the mesh had been removed. She continued: "My incontinence is so bad that I have to wear pads all day and all night. All I do is leak. I can be sat down and the pad will be filling up without me realising. I am often dehydrated as I leak so much fluid. I have tried drinking more but it makes me leak more, so I stop and end up getting dehydrated and feeling ill – it's a catch 22 situation.

"Before the incontinence, my social life was active. I would take my grandchildren out, go walking and I loved swimming, but I haven't been for several years as I have to wear nappies. I haven't walked my dog since having the mesh inserted because it's too painful. I feel people do not realise what you are going through. People just think I am being grumpy but they don't know that I don't want to move or laugh in case I wet myself. I look back at the things I used to do like taking the grandchildren to school and it feels like somebody else, a different person, did this."

Lime Solicitors, which represented Yvette Greenway-Mansfield in the largest known settlement for vaginal mesh, is continuing to fight for dozens of women left with life-changing complications by the net-like implant, which is supposed to act like a hammock to support the urethra. Figures suggest there were 127,000 mesh implants between April, 2008, and March 2017, but campaigners believe the actual number is higher. For the latest health and Covid news, sign up to our newsletter here

Maryam Abdullah, medical negligence associate at Lime Solicitors, who led the claim, said: "For years, women have been given the option of surgical mesh insertion as a solution for prolapse and incontinence. As a result, many women have found themselves in excruciating pain from mesh that has eroded, contracted and protruded into other areas of the body.

"Hospital trusts owe a duty of care to ensure they obtain patients' fully-informed consent to any surgical procedure and advise of the likely risks that could arise as a result. However, in our experience, many gynaecologists have proceeded to surgery prematurely before exhausting all behavioural and medical options.

"There is a real lack of knowledge when it comes to mesh and those affected are made to feel like the pain they are going through and the symptoms they are experiencing are not bad – there is almost a disbelief from medical experts. We have worked on many cases where doctors have deemed to know what is best for women instead of empowering them to make their own choices and decisions."

A spokesperson for Swansea Bay University Health Board said: “We sincerely apologise to the patient for failings in the way her case was managed, and we recognise the impact this has had. We have taken action to make improvements from the learnings from this case. However, this procedure is not currently being carried out in Swansea Bay, after it was suspended more than five years ago.”