Melanie Semple lives in Newcastle with her husband Ronnie, her three youngest children, and three dogs. As a result of childbirth, Mel suffered from mild incontinence, limited to when she was coughing or sneezing, and was fitted with pelvic mesh on the advice of a doctor

Melanie Semple lives in Newcastle with her husband Ronnie, her three youngest children, and three dogs. As a result of childbirth, Mel suffered from mild incontinence, limited to when she was coughing or sneezing, and was fitted with pelvic mesh on the advice of a doctor

 The incontinence had been nothing more a nuisance, a disorder common to millions of women following childbirth. It did not dominate or dictate her lifestyle. But within weeks of the procedure, that would change

The incontinence had been nothing more a nuisance, a disorder common to millions of women following childbirth. It did not dominate or dictate her lifestyle. But within weeks of the procedure, that would change

 Melanie ceased being the active, healthy mother her family knew, and became a mass of pain, exhausted by the slightest effort

Melanie ceased being the active, healthy mother her family knew, and became a mass of pain, exhausted by the slightest effort

 Before long her day-to-day life had become dominated by the simplest functions of her body. Her incontinence became worse and she felt at constant risk of wetting herself. As a drastic measure she started to limit her fluid intake, and began to suffer bladder infections for the first time in her life. One was so severe that she was hospitalised

Before long her day-to-day life had become dominated by the simplest functions of her body. Her incontinence became worse and she felt at constant risk of wetting herself. As a drastic measure she started to limit her fluid intake, and began to suffer bladder infections for the first time in her life. One was so severe that she was hospitalised

 Today Mel has to measure every journey by the distance to the nearest bathroom. It means she often finds it easier to stay at home, and her life has become more isolated. On those days where she does venture out, she has to limit what she can drink

Today Mel has to measure every journey by the distance to the nearest bathroom. It means she often finds it easier to stay at home, and her life has become more isolated. On those days where she does venture out, she has to limit what she can drink

 A hot tub in the back garden provides relief from the constant pains in her hips and pelvis, and from the fibromyalgia with which she was recently diagnosed. A survey by the 'Sling The Mesh' campaign group has found that one-third of women fitted with pelvic mesh now suffer from this debilitating condition - way above the national average

A hot tub in the back garden provides relief from the constant pains in her hips and pelvis, and from the fibromyalgia with which she was recently diagnosed. A survey by the 'Sling The Mesh' campaign group has found that one-third of women fitted with pelvic mesh now suffer from this debilitating condition - way above the national average

 Pressing surgeons for an operation to reverse the procedure, Mel spent most of the summer confined to her bed, unable to leave the house

Pressing surgeons for an operation to reverse the procedure, Mel spent most of the summer confined to her bed, unable to leave the house

 To get the go-ahead for the operation, she had to endure numerous visits to hospital for a series of scans and tests. Many are invasive. Some are humiliating

To get the go-ahead for the operation, she had to endure numerous visits to hospital for a series of scans and tests. Many are invasive. Some are humiliating

 Mel says using a TENS machine - often used by women in labour - provides some relief from the constant pain in her hips

Mel says using a TENS machine - often used by women in labour - provides some relief from the constant pain in her hips

 Family life has been placed under strain. When her children were small, their lives were spent outdoors, cycling, walking and enjoying long adventures in the countryside. Today Mel’s daughter is surprised when her mother is well enough to get out of bed

Family life has been placed under strain. When her children were small, their lives were spent outdoors, cycling, walking and enjoying long adventures in the countryside. Today Mel’s daughter is surprised when her mother is well enough to get out of bed

 Prescribed with powerful painkillers such as Gabapentin and Pregabalin - drugs sometimes used by cancer patients - Mel has long been used to a daily intake of pills. She describes the side-effects as ‘horrendous’

Prescribed with powerful painkillers such as Gabapentin and Pregabalin - drugs sometimes used by cancer patients - Mel has long been used to a daily intake of pills. She describes the side-effects as ‘horrendous’

 Instead she has turned to alternatives such as cannabis oil in an attempt to manage her chronic pain

Instead she has turned to alternatives such as cannabis oil in an attempt to manage her chronic pain

 Mel says she lives for her ‘better’ days, where the pain subsides and her ‘brain fog’ lifts. On these days Mel is able to get out of bed and tries her best to lead a normal life

Mel says she lives for her ‘better’ days, where the pain subsides and her ‘brain fog’ lifts. On these days Mel is able to get out of bed and tries her best to lead a normal life

 But her health and regular hospital appointments have come to dominate her existence, as she struggles to manage her condition and to be a mother to her children

But her health and regular hospital appointments have come to dominate her existence, as she struggles to manage her condition and to be a mother to her children

 Jackie Cheetham, from Pickering in North Yorkshire, lives every day of her life in agonising pain. This pain began in 2006, shortly after she was fitted with pelvic mesh as part of a surgical treatment for incontinence. Jackie describes the sensation as “being cut inside by a cheese wire”. For months doctors dismissed her pain as psychosomatic and she attempted to take her own life. One in 20 women who responded to a recent survey by the 'Sling The Mesh' campaign group say they have attempted suicide, with many more having suicidal thoughts

Jackie Cheetham, from Pickering in North Yorkshire, lives every day of her life in agonising pain. This pain began in 2006, shortly after she was fitted with pelvic mesh as part of a surgical treatment for incontinence. Jackie describes the sensation as “being cut inside by a cheese wire”. For months doctors dismissed her pain as psychosomatic and she attempted to take her own life. One in 20 women who responded to a recent survey by the 'Sling The Mesh' campaign group say they have attempted suicide, with many more having suicidal thoughts

 After nearly 13 years Jackie is unable to walk long distances, or to sit for any length of time. She relies on a stick daily, and has to use a mobility scooter for long journeys

After nearly 13 years Jackie is unable to walk long distances, or to sit for any length of time. She relies on a stick daily, and has to use a mobility scooter for long journeys

 The correspondence relating to her case runs to hundreds of pages. In over a decade of discussion between health professionals, Jackie says her GP has been the only one who has consistently fought her corner. Others refused to believe the extent of her suffering. Some even advocated that she should be sectioned. Doctors initially told her mesh complications were one-in-a-million

The correspondence relating to her case runs to hundreds of pages. In over a decade of discussion between health professionals, Jackie says her GP has been the only one who has consistently fought her corner. Others refused to believe the extent of her suffering. Some even advocated that she should be sectioned. Doctors initially told her mesh complications were one-in-a-million

 Her children are now grown up, but they spent their childhood concerned every day for their mother’s mental and physical wellbeing. Jackie believes the experience has had a long-lasting effect on them

Her children are now grown up, but they spent their childhood concerned every day for their mother’s mental and physical wellbeing. Jackie believes the experience has had a long-lasting effect on them

 Gill Hedley, from Newcastle, had mesh fitted in a procedure called a rectopexy following a bowel prolapse. She says the side-effects she suffered as a result have left her unable to work. She was forced to give up her house

Gill Hedley, from Newcastle, had mesh fitted in a procedure called a rectopexy following a bowel prolapse. She says the side-effects she suffered as a result have left her unable to work. She was forced to give up her house

 Gill’s mesh was eventually removed, but in doing so the surgeon was forced to remove Gill’s rectum and part of her intestine. She has been left with a permanent stoma and faces more surgery to close the incision wound, still open two years after the initial operation. It has to be packed and dressed three times each week

Gill’s mesh was eventually removed, but in doing so the surgeon was forced to remove Gill’s rectum and part of her intestine. She has been left with a permanent stoma and faces more surgery to close the incision wound, still open two years after the initial operation. It has to be packed and dressed three times each week

 Gill says the problems caused by her mesh have had a profound and damaging effect on her mental health

Gill says the problems caused by her mesh have had a profound and damaging effect on her mental health

 Kath Sansom, a journalist from Cambridgeshire, was a keen mountain biker and high board diver. Four years ago she underwent mesh surgery following the birth of her youngest child. She says an intense burning sensation in her vagina and severe leg pains left her ‘a wreck’ within weeks

Kath Sansom, a journalist from Cambridgeshire, was a keen mountain biker and high board diver. Four years ago she underwent mesh surgery following the birth of her youngest child. She says an intense burning sensation in her vagina and severe leg pains left her ‘a wreck’ within weeks

 Kath founded the campaign group, ‘Sling The Mesh,’ in 2015 after she discovered that women from across the world had suffered similar problems. Every week, many more contact her with their stories. The campaign’s Facebook group now has over 7,300 members

Kath founded the campaign group, ‘Sling The Mesh,’ in 2015 after she discovered that women from across the world had suffered similar problems. Every week, many more contact her with their stories. The campaign’s Facebook group now has over 7,300 members

 Kath runs the operation from her living room, often working late into the night. Members’ stories frequently reduce her to tears

Kath runs the operation from her living room, often working late into the night. Members’ stories frequently reduce her to tears

 The founding of the group has led to other, local support groups being established by the women themselves

The founding of the group has led to other, local support groups being established by the women themselves

 Their meetings are attended by women suffering a wide range of problems related to mesh implants and their side-effects

Their meetings are attended by women suffering a wide range of problems related to mesh implants and their side-effects

 Groups meet in hotels, cafés, private homes and in pubs, like this one at Spalding in Lincolnshire. Besides offering vital emotional support, they provide an opportunity for women to plan the growing campaign to ban the use of pelvic mesh

Groups meet in hotels, cafés, private homes and in pubs, like this one at Spalding in Lincolnshire. Besides offering vital emotional support, they provide an opportunity for women to plan the growing campaign to ban the use of pelvic mesh

 Members of 'Sling The Mesh’ staged a protest outside the House of Lords in February last year, to mark the day Lord Hunt asked the government if they they intended to review the safety of the use of pelvic mesh implants

Members of 'Sling The Mesh’ staged a protest outside the House of Lords in February last year, to mark the day Lord Hunt asked the government if they they intended to review the safety of the use of pelvic mesh implants

 Campaigners shared their concerns with the public in Parliament Square, many of whom had never heard of mesh - sometimes called ‘tape’ - or the effects that it can have

Campaigners shared their concerns with the public in Parliament Square, many of whom had never heard of mesh - sometimes called ‘tape’ - or the effects that it can have

 Thousands of women are now part of the campaign group. They say they are determined to force a complete ban on mesh - and to save future generations of women from the pain and hardship they have endured

Thousands of women are now part of the campaign group. They say they are determined to force a complete ban on mesh - and to save future generations of women from the pain and hardship they have endured

 Five years after the mesh was fitted, a surgeon agreed to remove Mel’s mesh. It was only relatively recently that she realised it might be the cause of her failing health

Five years after the mesh was fitted, a surgeon agreed to remove Mel’s mesh. It was only relatively recently that she realised it might be the cause of her failing health

 The operation, combined with a procedure to correct her incontinence, meant hours on the operating table and many days in hospital. Surgeons found that the mesh had fused with her pubic bone, making removal far more difficult

The operation, combined with a procedure to correct her incontinence, meant hours on the operating table and many days in hospital. Surgeons found that the mesh had fused with her pubic bone, making removal far more difficult

 It was a ‘brutal’ experience, says Mel, both mentally and physically

It was a ‘brutal’ experience, says Mel, both mentally and physically

 The hope of a return to normal life was all that kept her going. But at times it has seemed impossibly distant

The hope of a return to normal life was all that kept her going. But at times it has seemed impossibly distant

 The strain of living with mesh has affected Mel and Ronnie’s relationship, but their love for each other remains deep and he is a constant source of support

The strain of living with mesh has affected Mel and Ronnie’s relationship, but their love for each other remains deep and he is a constant source of support

 In spite of everything she has endured, Mel’s spirit has never faded. She is as determined as ever to be positive; to live her life; and to educate other women about the risks of pelvic mesh

In spite of everything she has endured, Mel’s spirit has never faded. She is as determined as ever to be positive; to live her life; and to educate other women about the risks of pelvic mesh

 Melanie Semple lives in Newcastle with her husband Ronnie, her three youngest children, and three dogs. As a result of childbirth, Mel suffered from mild incontinence, limited to when she was coughing or sneezing, and was fitted with pelvic mesh on the advice of a doctor
 The incontinence had been nothing more a nuisance, a disorder common to millions of women following childbirth. It did not dominate or dictate her lifestyle. But within weeks of the procedure, that would change
 Melanie ceased being the active, healthy mother her family knew, and became a mass of pain, exhausted by the slightest effort
 Before long her day-to-day life had become dominated by the simplest functions of her body. Her incontinence became worse and she felt at constant risk of wetting herself. As a drastic measure she started to limit her fluid intake, and began to suffer bladder infections for the first time in her life. One was so severe that she was hospitalised
 Today Mel has to measure every journey by the distance to the nearest bathroom. It means she often finds it easier to stay at home, and her life has become more isolated. On those days where she does venture out, she has to limit what she can drink
 A hot tub in the back garden provides relief from the constant pains in her hips and pelvis, and from the fibromyalgia with which she was recently diagnosed. A survey by the 'Sling The Mesh' campaign group has found that one-third of women fitted with pelvic mesh now suffer from this debilitating condition - way above the national average
 Pressing surgeons for an operation to reverse the procedure, Mel spent most of the summer confined to her bed, unable to leave the house
 To get the go-ahead for the operation, she had to endure numerous visits to hospital for a series of scans and tests. Many are invasive. Some are humiliating
 Mel says using a TENS machine - often used by women in labour - provides some relief from the constant pain in her hips
 Family life has been placed under strain. When her children were small, their lives were spent outdoors, cycling, walking and enjoying long adventures in the countryside. Today Mel’s daughter is surprised when her mother is well enough to get out of bed
 Prescribed with powerful painkillers such as Gabapentin and Pregabalin - drugs sometimes used by cancer patients - Mel has long been used to a daily intake of pills. She describes the side-effects as ‘horrendous’
 Instead she has turned to alternatives such as cannabis oil in an attempt to manage her chronic pain
 Mel says she lives for her ‘better’ days, where the pain subsides and her ‘brain fog’ lifts. On these days Mel is able to get out of bed and tries her best to lead a normal life
 But her health and regular hospital appointments have come to dominate her existence, as she struggles to manage her condition and to be a mother to her children
 Jackie Cheetham, from Pickering in North Yorkshire, lives every day of her life in agonising pain. This pain began in 2006, shortly after she was fitted with pelvic mesh as part of a surgical treatment for incontinence. Jackie describes the sensation as “being cut inside by a cheese wire”. For months doctors dismissed her pain as psychosomatic and she attempted to take her own life. One in 20 women who responded to a recent survey by the 'Sling The Mesh' campaign group say they have attempted suicide, with many more having suicidal thoughts
 After nearly 13 years Jackie is unable to walk long distances, or to sit for any length of time. She relies on a stick daily, and has to use a mobility scooter for long journeys
 The correspondence relating to her case runs to hundreds of pages. In over a decade of discussion between health professionals, Jackie says her GP has been the only one who has consistently fought her corner. Others refused to believe the extent of her suffering. Some even advocated that she should be sectioned. Doctors initially told her mesh complications were one-in-a-million
 Her children are now grown up, but they spent their childhood concerned every day for their mother’s mental and physical wellbeing. Jackie believes the experience has had a long-lasting effect on them
 Gill Hedley, from Newcastle, had mesh fitted in a procedure called a rectopexy following a bowel prolapse. She says the side-effects she suffered as a result have left her unable to work. She was forced to give up her house
 Gill’s mesh was eventually removed, but in doing so the surgeon was forced to remove Gill’s rectum and part of her intestine. She has been left with a permanent stoma and faces more surgery to close the incision wound, still open two years after the initial operation. It has to be packed and dressed three times each week
 Gill says the problems caused by her mesh have had a profound and damaging effect on her mental health
 Kath Sansom, a journalist from Cambridgeshire, was a keen mountain biker and high board diver. Four years ago she underwent mesh surgery following the birth of her youngest child. She says an intense burning sensation in her vagina and severe leg pains left her ‘a wreck’ within weeks
 Kath founded the campaign group, ‘Sling The Mesh,’ in 2015 after she discovered that women from across the world had suffered similar problems. Every week, many more contact her with their stories. The campaign’s Facebook group now has over 7,300 members
 Kath runs the operation from her living room, often working late into the night. Members’ stories frequently reduce her to tears
 The founding of the group has led to other, local support groups being established by the women themselves
 Their meetings are attended by women suffering a wide range of problems related to mesh implants and their side-effects
 Groups meet in hotels, cafés, private homes and in pubs, like this one at Spalding in Lincolnshire. Besides offering vital emotional support, they provide an opportunity for women to plan the growing campaign to ban the use of pelvic mesh
 Members of 'Sling The Mesh’ staged a protest outside the House of Lords in February last year, to mark the day Lord Hunt asked the government if they they intended to review the safety of the use of pelvic mesh implants
 Campaigners shared their concerns with the public in Parliament Square, many of whom had never heard of mesh - sometimes called ‘tape’ - or the effects that it can have
 Thousands of women are now part of the campaign group. They say they are determined to force a complete ban on mesh - and to save future generations of women from the pain and hardship they have endured
 Five years after the mesh was fitted, a surgeon agreed to remove Mel’s mesh. It was only relatively recently that she realised it might be the cause of her failing health
 The operation, combined with a procedure to correct her incontinence, meant hours on the operating table and many days in hospital. Surgeons found that the mesh had fused with her pubic bone, making removal far more difficult
 It was a ‘brutal’ experience, says Mel, both mentally and physically
 The hope of a return to normal life was all that kept her going. But at times it has seemed impossibly distant
 The strain of living with mesh has affected Mel and Ronnie’s relationship, but their love for each other remains deep and he is a constant source of support
 In spite of everything she has endured, Mel’s spirit has never faded. She is as determined as ever to be positive; to live her life; and to educate other women about the risks of pelvic mesh

Melanie Semple lives in Newcastle with her husband Ronnie, her three youngest children, and three dogs. As a result of childbirth, Mel suffered from mild incontinence, limited to when she was coughing or sneezing, and was fitted with pelvic mesh on the advice of a doctor

The incontinence had been nothing more a nuisance, a disorder common to millions of women following childbirth. It did not dominate or dictate her lifestyle. But within weeks of the procedure, that would change

Melanie ceased being the active, healthy mother her family knew, and became a mass of pain, exhausted by the slightest effort

Before long her day-to-day life had become dominated by the simplest functions of her body. Her incontinence became worse and she felt at constant risk of wetting herself. As a drastic measure she started to limit her fluid intake, and began to suffer bladder infections for the first time in her life. One was so severe that she was hospitalised

Today Mel has to measure every journey by the distance to the nearest bathroom. It means she often finds it easier to stay at home, and her life has become more isolated. On those days where she does venture out, she has to limit what she can drink

A hot tub in the back garden provides relief from the constant pains in her hips and pelvis, and from the fibromyalgia with which she was recently diagnosed. A survey by the 'Sling The Mesh' campaign group has found that one-third of women fitted with pelvic mesh now suffer from this debilitating condition - way above the national average

Pressing surgeons for an operation to reverse the procedure, Mel spent most of the summer confined to her bed, unable to leave the house

To get the go-ahead for the operation, she had to endure numerous visits to hospital for a series of scans and tests. Many are invasive. Some are humiliating

Mel says using a TENS machine - often used by women in labour - provides some relief from the constant pain in her hips

Family life has been placed under strain. When her children were small, their lives were spent outdoors, cycling, walking and enjoying long adventures in the countryside. Today Mel’s daughter is surprised when her mother is well enough to get out of bed

Prescribed with powerful painkillers such as Gabapentin and Pregabalin - drugs sometimes used by cancer patients - Mel has long been used to a daily intake of pills. She describes the side-effects as ‘horrendous’

Instead she has turned to alternatives such as cannabis oil in an attempt to manage her chronic pain

Mel says she lives for her ‘better’ days, where the pain subsides and her ‘brain fog’ lifts. On these days Mel is able to get out of bed and tries her best to lead a normal life

But her health and regular hospital appointments have come to dominate her existence, as she struggles to manage her condition and to be a mother to her children

Jackie Cheetham, from Pickering in North Yorkshire, lives every day of her life in agonising pain. This pain began in 2006, shortly after she was fitted with pelvic mesh as part of a surgical treatment for incontinence. Jackie describes the sensation as “being cut inside by a cheese wire”. For months doctors dismissed her pain as psychosomatic and she attempted to take her own life. One in 20 women who responded to a recent survey by the 'Sling The Mesh' campaign group say they have attempted suicide, with many more having suicidal thoughts

After nearly 13 years Jackie is unable to walk long distances, or to sit for any length of time. She relies on a stick daily, and has to use a mobility scooter for long journeys

The correspondence relating to her case runs to hundreds of pages. In over a decade of discussion between health professionals, Jackie says her GP has been the only one who has consistently fought her corner. Others refused to believe the extent of her suffering. Some even advocated that she should be sectioned. Doctors initially told her mesh complications were one-in-a-million

Her children are now grown up, but they spent their childhood concerned every day for their mother’s mental and physical wellbeing. Jackie believes the experience has had a long-lasting effect on them

Gill Hedley, from Newcastle, had mesh fitted in a procedure called a rectopexy following a bowel prolapse. She says the side-effects she suffered as a result have left her unable to work. She was forced to give up her house

Gill’s mesh was eventually removed, but in doing so the surgeon was forced to remove Gill’s rectum and part of her intestine. She has been left with a permanent stoma and faces more surgery to close the incision wound, still open two years after the initial operation. It has to be packed and dressed three times each week

Gill says the problems caused by her mesh have had a profound and damaging effect on her mental health

Kath Sansom, a journalist from Cambridgeshire, was a keen mountain biker and high board diver. Four years ago she underwent mesh surgery following the birth of her youngest child. She says an intense burning sensation in her vagina and severe leg pains left her ‘a wreck’ within weeks

Kath founded the campaign group, ‘Sling The Mesh,’ in 2015 after she discovered that women from across the world had suffered similar problems. Every week, many more contact her with their stories. The campaign’s Facebook group now has over 7,300 members

Kath runs the operation from her living room, often working late into the night. Members’ stories frequently reduce her to tears

The founding of the group has led to other, local support groups being established by the women themselves

Their meetings are attended by women suffering a wide range of problems related to mesh implants and their side-effects

Groups meet in hotels, cafés, private homes and in pubs, like this one at Spalding in Lincolnshire. Besides offering vital emotional support, they provide an opportunity for women to plan the growing campaign to ban the use of pelvic mesh

Members of 'Sling The Mesh’ staged a protest outside the House of Lords in February last year, to mark the day Lord Hunt asked the government if they they intended to review the safety of the use of pelvic mesh implants

Campaigners shared their concerns with the public in Parliament Square, many of whom had never heard of mesh - sometimes called ‘tape’ - or the effects that it can have

Thousands of women are now part of the campaign group. They say they are determined to force a complete ban on mesh - and to save future generations of women from the pain and hardship they have endured

Five years after the mesh was fitted, a surgeon agreed to remove Mel’s mesh. It was only relatively recently that she realised it might be the cause of her failing health

The operation, combined with a procedure to correct her incontinence, meant hours on the operating table and many days in hospital. Surgeons found that the mesh had fused with her pubic bone, making removal far more difficult

It was a ‘brutal’ experience, says Mel, both mentally and physically

The hope of a return to normal life was all that kept her going. But at times it has seemed impossibly distant

The strain of living with mesh has affected Mel and Ronnie’s relationship, but their love for each other remains deep and he is a constant source of support

In spite of everything she has endured, Mel’s spirit has never faded. She is as determined as ever to be positive; to live her life; and to educate other women about the risks of pelvic mesh

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