Autoimmune Diseases and Surgical Mesh - Causation or Correlation?

Jane Akre
January 28, 2014
Noni Wideman

Noni Wideman

Writer and researcher Noni Wideman has been at it again, uncovering the links to many autoimmune diseases that seem to plague mesh-implanted persons. This does not mean there is a cause-effect but certainly there is a correlation seen with many of these diseases cropping up among those who have had mesh implanted to treat prolapse, incontinence or hernia. To determine whether it's a cause, there would have to be studies. Please join in if you have suffered one of these diseases following a mesh implant. Here is her latest essay. Thank you Noni!

"I'm trying to understand why so many medical mesh complication victims have autoimmune diseases exacerbated by FBR to medical mesh or triggered /initiated after FBR to medical mesh implants?

"The purpose of the immune system is to defend the body against attack by infectious microbes (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi) and foreign materials (e.g., chemicals, poisons). When the immune system attacks a foreign invader, it is very specific-a particular immune system cell will only recognize and target one type of invader. To function properly, the immune system must not only develop this specialized knowledge of individual invaders, but it must also learn how to recognize and not destroy cells that belong to the body itself.

"Every cell carries protein markers on its surface that identify it in one of two ways: what kind of cell it is (e.g. nerve cell, muscle cell, blood cell, etc.) and to whom that cell belongs. These markers are called major histocompatability complexes (MHCs). When functioning properly, cells of the immune system will not attack any cell with markers identifying it as belonging to the body. Conversely, if the immune system cells do not recognize a cell as "self," they attach themselves to it and put out a signal that the body has been invaded. This in turn stimulates the production of substances such as antibodies that disable and destroy the foreign particles. In case of autoimmune disorders, the immune system cannot distinguish between "self" cells and invader cells. As a result, the same destructive operation is carried out on the body's own cells that would normally be carried out on bacteria, viruses, and other such harmful foreign material.

"The reasons why immune systems become dysfunctional and fail to recognize the body's own cells is not well understood. However, most researchers agree that a combination of genetic susceptibility, environmental, and hormonal factors play a role in developing autoimmunity. Researchers also hypothesize that autoimmunity may be triggered by several different mechanisms as follows:A substance that is normally sequestered in one part of the body, and therefore not usually exposed to the immune system, is released into the bloodstream where it is attacked."The immune system may mistake a component of the body for a similar foreign component."Cells of the body may be altered in some way, either by drugs, infection, or other environmental factors, so that they are no longer recognizable as "self" to the immune system."The immune system itself may be damaged, such as by a genetic mutation, and therefore becomes dysfunctional."

The symptoms of autoimmune disorders vary. See specific disorder topics for more complete information. A short summary of symptoms is as follows: include:

Systemic lupus erythematosus. Symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, weight loss, skin rashes (particularly the classic "butterfly" rash on the face), vasculitis, polyarthralgia, patchy hair loss, sores in the mouth or nose, lymph-node enlargement, gastric problems, and, in women, irregular periods. About half of those who experience lupus develop cardiopulmonary problems, and some may develop urinary problems. Lupus can also effect the central nervous system, causing seizures, depression, and psychosis.

Rheumatoid arthritis. Initially this disorder may be characterized by a low-grade fever, loss of appetite, weight loss, and generalized pain in the joints. The joint pain then becomes more specific, usually beginning in the fingers, then spreading to other areas, such as the wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles. As the disease progresses, joint function diminishes sharply and deformities occur, particularly the characteristic "swan's neck" curling of the fingers.

Goodpasture's syndrome. Symptoms are similar to that of iron deficiency anemia, including fatigue and pallor. Symptoms involving the lungs may range from a cough that produces bloody sputum to outright hemorrhaging. Symptoms involving the urinary system include blood in the urine and/or swelling.

Grave's disease. This disease is characterized by an enlarged thyroid gland, weight loss without loss of appetite, sweating, heart palpitations, nervousness, and an inability to tolerate heat.

Hashimoto's thyroiditis. This disorder generally displays few symptoms.

Pemphigus vulgaris. This disease is characterized by blisters and deep lesions on the skin.

Myasthenia gravis. Characterized by fatigue and muscle weakness that at first may be confined to certain muscle groups, but then may progress to the point of paralysis, myasthenia gravis patients often have expressionless faces as well as difficulty chewing and swallowing. If the disease progresses to the respiratory system, artificial respiration may be required.

Scleroderma. Tish disorder usually is preceded by Raynaud's phenomenon. Symptoms that follow include pain, swelling, and stiffness of the joints, and the skin takes on a tight, shiny appearance. The digestive system also becomes involved, resulting in weight loss, appetite loss, diarrhea, constipation, and distention of the abdomen. As the disease progresses, the heart, lungs, and kidneys become involved, and malignant hypertension (high blood pressure) causes death in approximately 30% of cases.

Autoimmune hemolytic anemia. May be acute or chronic. Symptoms include fatigue and abdominal tenderness due to an enlarged spleen.

Autoimmune thrombocytopenic purpura. Characterized by pinhead-size red dots on the skin, unexplained bruises, bleeding from the nose and gums, and blood in the stool.

Polymyositis and dermatomyositis. In polymyositis, symptoms include muscle weakness, particularly in the shoulders or pelvis, which prevents the patient from performing everyday activities. In dermatomyositis, the same muscle weakness is accompanied by a rash that appears on the upper body, arms, and fingertips. A rash may also appear on the eyelids, and the area around the eyes may become swollen.

Pernicious anemia. Signs of pernicious anemia include weakness, sore tongue, bleeding gums, and tingling in the extremities. Because the disease causes a decrease in stomach acid, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, diarrhea, and constipation are possible. Also, because vitamin B12 is essential for the nervous system function, its deficiency brought about by the disease can result in a host of neurological problems, including weakness, lack of coordination, blurred vision, loss of fine motor skills, loss of the sense of taste, ringing in the ears, and loss of bladder control.

Sjögren's syndrome. Characterized by excessive dryness of the mouth and eyes.

Ankylosing spondylitis. Generally begins with lower back pain that progresses up the spine. The pain may eventually become crippling.

Vasculitis. Symptoms depend upon the group of veins affected and can vary greatly.

Type I diabetes mellitus. Characterized by fatigue and an the inability to break down glucose, resulting in abnormally high level of glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia).

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. First signs are stumbling and difficulty climbing stairs. Later, muscle cramps and twitching may be observed as well as weakness in the hands making fastening buttons or turning a key difficult. Speech may become slowed or slurred. There may also be difficulty swallowing. As respiratory muscles atrophy, there is increased danger of aspiration or lung infection.

Guillain-Barre syndrome. Muscle weakness in the legs occurs first, then the arms and face. Paresthesia is often present. This disorder affects both sides of the body and may involve paralysis of the muscles that control breathing.

Multiple sclerosis. Like Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the first symptom may be clumsiness. Weakness or exhaustion is often reported, as well as blurry or double vision. The individual may experience dizziness, depression, loss of bladder control, and muscle weakness so severe that the patient is confined to a wheelchair.

Celiac disease. Damage to the lining of the small intestine causes immediate difficulties in digesting food that result in diarrhea, gas, and cramps, and long-term symptoms of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, anemia, osteoporosis, and weight loss"

Jump to Comments

Downloads for this Article:

Also in this Section:

More articles coming soon...

Categories for this Page

More categories coming soon...
No items found.

Related to this Article:

More articles coming soon...