Surgeons lacked caution in use of vaginal mesh implants, doctor admits

18/09/2017 Christopher Knaus 0

Head of Australia’s urogynaecological society says while women who suffered life-altering complications were ‘let down’, push to ban the devices are ‘hysterical’

The head of Australia’s urogynaecological society has conceded surgeons lacked caution in their use of controversial transvaginal mesh implants, which they thought were “magic” and “the best thing since sliced bread”.

A Senate inquiry is currently examining the impact of transvaginal mesh products, which have been used by tens of thousands of Australian women to treat incontinence and pelvic prolapse, common complications of childbirth.

Related: Vaginal mesh implants: ‘I really thought I was dying’

I describe my pain as being cut open and set alight

Related: What does pelvic mesh do and why are women suing over it? – explainer

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What’s stopping pharmacies doing more to reduce pressure on GPs? | David Brindle

06/09/2017 David Brindle 0

Chemists can already provide vital services, such as the morning-after pill – but a new study shows they are being chronically underused

When a woman recently walked into Thorrun Govind’s high-street pharmacy in Bolton seeking help for a common infection, Govind quickly knew what to prescribe. But because the woman said she had not had the medication before, Govind had to check with her GP practice. They insisted the woman go in.

Related: Pharmacists were meant to be the face of the NHS – but now our jobs are at risk

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Years of pain, but no diagnosis: one woman’s experience of endometriosis

Katie Beales suffered crippling monthly pain from the age of 14, but doctor after doctor failed to recognise a disease that impacts up to one in 10 women

Katie Beales began to suffer crippling pain every month from the age of 14, when her first period started, but no doctor could explain what was wrong with her. One told her she must be doing too many sit-ups. She ended up bedridden with chronic pain and only now, at the age of 25 and after major surgery, has she got her life back.

Related: ‘Listen to women’: UK doctors issued with first guidance on endometriosis

Related: What is endometriosis? A guide

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‘Listen to women’: UK doctors issued with first guidance on endometriosis

Disease, which causes crippling pain and can lead to infertility, affects 176 million women worldwide and currently takes seven to eight years to diagnose

Doctors are being advised to listen to what women tell them about crippling pelvic and period pain and look out for the symptoms of endometriosis in a bid to speed up diagnosis of a disease that can wreck lives and careers.

It takes an average of seven to eight years to be diagnosed with endometriosis, according to the first-ever guidance on managing a disease that affects one in 10 women from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) in England. Experts say the long wait is the same all over the western world. Many women are told they are making a fuss about normal period pain. Some are unable to work and the disease causes others to become infertile.

Related: Years of pain, but no diagnosis: one woman’s experience of endometriosis

Related: What is endometriosis? A guide

Related: Endometriosis: 20 things every woman (and every doctor) should know

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Pelvic mesh victims disgusted at suggestion of sodomy as solution

28/08/2017 Christopher Knaus 0

‘Only a misogynist could think this way,’ says Australian woman in response to her doctor’s solution to painful intercourse

Australian victims of faulty pelvic mesh implants have expressed disgust at doctors’ suggestions of sodomy as a solution to their ruined sex lives.

A disturbing email exchange between doctors emerged earlier this month as part of a federal court class action in Australia, which was launched by hundreds of women who had the devices implanted to treat common childbirth complications.

Related: Johnson & Johnson ​tried to prevent report about pelvic mesh devices, court hears

Related: ‘Scandal’ of vaginal mesh removal rates revealed by NHS records

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Bollywood’s hot new topics: open toilets, menstrual hygiene and erectile dysfunction

20/08/2017 Anupama Chopra 0

Forget all those swirling songs and plots about love, heartache and family values. Bollywood has more pressing concerns

‘This is not about defecation,” says the hero of Toilet: Ek Prem Katha, which translates as Toilet: A Love Story. “It is about our whole way of thinking!” What makes this startling line all the more surprising is that it is delivered by Akshay Kumar, an actor straight out of the Bollywood A-list.

The film, as the second half of its title suggests, has no shortage of such Bollywood staples as romance and love songs. But the main subject matter is one that no Hindi film has ever tackled before: open defecation. This is a singularly Indian problem. Various studies estimate that 60% of India’s billion-plus population don’t have access to a bathroom. For women, this isn’t just a question of sanitation. It’s about safety, privacy and independence.

Related: India’s women given low-cost route to sanitary protection

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The Guardian view on vaginal mesh implants: trust data and patients | Editorial

16/08/2017 Editorial 0

The devices have benefited a large number of women – but thousands have suffered serious adverse effects

The numbers tell their own tale. Thousands of women have undergone surgery to have vaginal mesh implants removed after suffering complications. Around one in 15 of those fitted with the most common type of mesh have required operations, according to NHS data obtained by the Guardian. In short, the problems are much more widespread than previously acknowledged. The removal rate was previously estimated at less than 1%.

But numbers are not enough. Each case is a woman with a disturbing story; and listening is as important as tallying them. Carolyn Churchill had to give up work after she was left in agony, with persistent bleeding. Yet she said she was made to feel like a baby for complaining. Others describe being left unable to walk or have sex – and of being assured that the implant was not responsible. So even this data under-represents the problem. Women may not be referred for removal, or may decide against it given the risks.

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The Archers – giving stealth sexual health advice for the over-50s

16/08/2017 Paula Cocozza 0

The soap opera’s latest frank storyline featuring a character visiting an STI clinic has caused a stir. But it’s a rare and helpful reminder that sexual health isn’t just for the young

The Archers has raised eyebrows with a sexual health storyline. After an incident with a fruit picker and a split condom, Oxford University student Phoebe Aldridge needed to visit the Borsetshire STI clinic. The character has shared her predicament with listeners in sufficient detail for the episode to seem like a sexual health lesson. Aldridge is 19; the average age of the Archers listener is 56. How inappropriate, some say. Others have intuited that the show is trying to attract a younger audience.

But the storyline can also be read as a clever sleight of hand. Sexual health education is overwhelmingly the preserve of young people, but the number of diagnoses of sexually transmitted diseases in people aged between 50 and 70 rose by a third over the past decade, and, according to Public Health England, there were 30,000 new STI diagnoses in the over-45s last year. This is a demographic that is not easily reached with a letter from the headmaster or a charity information leaflet (although the Family Planning Association has produced one).

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Wax on, wax ouch: pubic grooming has a high injury rate, survey reveals

16/08/2017 Nicola Davis 0

A quarter of those who groom their pubic hair have suffered mishaps from cuts to burns and rashes – some requiring medical help – researchers have found

Whether it’s shaving, waxing or laser hair removal, pubic grooming has become commonplace – but more than a quarter of those who remove hair have met with mishap in the process, research has revealed.

The study found that 76% of US adults quizzed said they removed some or all of their pubic hair, with almost 26% of those who groomed reporting that they had sustained at least one injury while doing so, ranging from cuts to burns and rashes.

Related: The disturbing truth about how we treat our pubic hair | Mona Chalabi

Related: We made a film to get women talking about their pubic hair. Here’s why

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Sexual health shake-up in south-west London unsafe, experts say

Cost-cutting plans in three boroughs will lead to more STIs, HIV and unintended pregnancies, senior doctors warn

Senior doctors have warned that a major shake-up of sexual health services in three London boroughs will lead to more unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

As concerns grow about the funding of sexual health services across England, 14 experts in the field at St George’s hospital in south-west London have written to NHS and local council leaders branding the money-saving changes “unsafe, unworkable and unsustainable”.

Related: Government cuts ‘leave sexual health services at tipping point’

Related: Cases of syphilis hit highest level in England since 1949

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Vaginal mesh implants: ‘I really thought I was dying’

Carolyn Churchill was in agony after mesh surgery, but doctors were reluctant to blame her implant, even suggesting the pain might be a mental health issue

Six years ago, Carolyn Churchill, 57, from near Pontypridd in Wales, was in a long-term relationship, worked as a chef, and spent hours each week walking with her dogs and looking after her granddaughter’s pony. She was busy and content, but was bothered by stress incontinence, which affects roughly 10% of women.

“Never knowing when you’re going out if you’re going to wee yourself. It really got to the stage where it was embarrassing,” she recalls.

Related: ‘Scandal’ of vaginal mesh removal rates revealed by NHS records

Related: Vaginal mesh left me in agony. When will women’s health be taken seriously? | Kath Sansom

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Teenage pregnancy in the US is at an all-time low. Trump could soon change that

09/08/2017 Molly Redden 0

Trump administration’s decision to cut nationwide sex ed programs is putting many young lives at risk

It was a muggy afternoon, and Nakesha Martin raised her voice to be heard over the rattle of the air conditioner. “Is that a high-risk behavior, or a low-risk behavior?” she shouted to the class.

Related: America’s abstinence-only sex ed: what is taught in public schools? – quiz

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