Still Standing was implanted with pelvic mesh years ago and has undergone eight major surgeries, five of them explant surgeries. She speaks highly of her present doctor, Dr. Charles Butrick, (here) a urogynecologist from Overland Park, Kansas. She says the ongoing care she’s received from him, both the explant and treating mesh-related pain, has given her good outcomes that continue to improve.
Professionally, Still Standing worked in hospice care for years and decided, during the worst days of her mesh pain, to go back to school and get a master’s degree in psychology with a focus on pain management.
After her studies, she was certified in Neurobehavioral Pain Management and is a certified mindfulness instructor. Neobehavior Pain Management is based on the powerful mind/body connection.
Early on she told her professors she wanted to work with women suffering from chronic pelvic pain. There will not be enough of a market for that, they warned, but during a recent workshop on chronic pelvic pain, there was overflow crowd.
“We were full. We couldn’t have gotten another person in there. Next time it will have to be two days. Women stayed and connected. They become lifelines for each other. Relationships blossomed.”
Some are so desperate, they discount what they can do for themselves. I couldn’t think for three years, I lost it all. I was in so much pain. It’s so deep and so personal. The first thing I thought about in the morning was my vagina and the last thing and all day. I couldn’t go to parties, to lunch, you tend to self-isolate. Friends look at you like you are crazy, not because they don’t believe you but because they can’t imagine it.”
When the money comes you are not any better off, so you have to start now! Do things for yourself now and if they help great, if not you haven’t lost anything.”
Besides mindfulness, Still Standing talks about lifestyle and diet changes to less acidic food to help conquer pelvic pain in an upcoming chapter. After visiting with an integrative medicine doctor as well as Dr. Butrick, she would like to share what she’s learned about the medical management of pelvic pain.
Chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a constant complaint of women implanted with polypropylene mesh in the pelvic region. Some suggestions for the medication management of UTIs might include:
Antibiotics – These must be by prescription. Still Standing says she began having UTIs after her first mesh revision. They would clear up with antibiotics but then return. “Finally I went on long-term antibiotics for seven months, but when you do that you have to add all other things, such as probiotics to replenish the good bacteria. Really, you have to find out what is irritating your bladder. Avoiding acidic foods will help.
“I would do it half assed after all what’s more comforting than high fat foods, and coke and chocolate, that’s what gives you comfort. I found it difficult to do that. When Dr. Butrick explained to me how the bladder wall, irritated with acidic foods, it will cause a lot of UTI’s. It’s just like a scrape or irritation to the bladder lining. You have to give it a break to get it to heal.”
“So finally last year I said, okay. I really started eating less acidic food - no citrus at all, no soy, anything acidic or carbonated. You can buy a less acidic coffee at World Market, because coffee is normally very acidic. Antibiotics are not going to do anything if you keep eating foods that will inflame your bladder. It’s not forever, it’s just for a little bit. I still suffer if I eat the wrong things. That’s why this doctor integrative medicine doctors has helped me a lot.” ~ Still Standing
Probiotic- If you are taking an antibiotic a probiotic is needed to counter the effect of killing bacteria in your guy. FlorAstor is one, Plexus is another.
Azo Tablets and Azo Blue - This UTI pain reliever is a homeopathic over-the-counter medicine for bladder health. The Blue version is a bit stronger. It calms the symptoms of a UTI, according to Still Standing. Source them here.
Hyophen – This prescription medication is used to relieve the urge to urinate and cramps of the urinary track system caused by an infection or surgery. Downside- cost is about $400 a prescription which may be covered by your insurance or may be too costly for many. Another potential downside - if you are on an SSRI (serotonin syndrome reuptake inhibitor) do not take Hyophen because it can enhance the effect of the SSRI and you’re your depression symptoms worse by flooding the brain with too much serotonin. Read more at Web MD (here).
Estrogen cream – This is a prescription medication. Dr. Butrick uses it to keep the urethra plumper. If it is dry, bacteria has a much easier way to travel from the rectal to vaginal area. Still Standing says she’s always been on estrogen cream because the vaginal wall thins out and has much more opportunity to erode. Estrace or Premarin are common brands. Do not use soy products, however yam-based products may work.
Cranberry tablets – If you have a UTI cranberry juice irritates the bladder so cranberry tablets are best. Azo offers one and they are found over-the-counter in stores such as Target.
Natural Calm Plus Calcium- This is a balanced Magnesium-Calcium drink. Magnesium is necessary for your muscles to relax and women with pelvic pain have tight muscles from the pain. It helps muscles relax and reduces constipation as well as helps you sleep. Still Standing says many people are deficient in Magnesium. “It changed a lot of things for me and I don’t ever get constipated.” Vitacost has it here.
Prelief – Taken to reduce the acid in foods. Available in most drug stores.
Mesh News Desk plans on forming affiliate relationships with suppliers of helpful medications for the mesh injured. Please sign up for the newsletter to stay up to date on this important new chapter and to receive coupons. Thank you!
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Polypropylene is the polymer material that make up the majority of hernia and pelvic meshes even though there are known problems with the material.
The Food and Drug Administration cannot possibly understand just how widespread mesh complications are unless you report to the agency. Mesh patient advocate, Jen Snowden, tells you how.
Why is the leading urogynecology organization saying that SUI mesh is not a problem where there have been thousands of defective product lawsuits?