Fury as doctors suggest anal sex as solution for victims of faulty pelvic mesh implants

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Women in Australia who were left in chronic pain from vaginal mesh implants have reacted angrily after doctors suggested anal sex could be a solution to their problem.

Scores of Australian women have launched legal action against manufactures Johnson & Johnson after claiming the implants left them in debilitating pain and ruined their sex lives.

In a series of emails released as part of the on-going court case, doctors discussed the possible solutions offered to women or couples – with one suggesting “sodomy could be a good alternative” to intercourse.

ABC News reported that, in the email thread, gynaecologists associated with the pharmaceutical company also spoke of feeling uncomfortable discussing sexual acts with women who came to them for help post-surgery.

The comments sparked fury among members of the Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group who contacted Guardian Australia with their responses.

One woman said she and her husband were “gobsmacked” after being advised to try anal sex as a less painful alternative, another accused it of being a kind of abuse.

She said: “Despicable! Only a misogynist could think this way.”

And one woman added: “The suggestion that women who are unable to have vaginal intercourse should practise anal instead completely devalues a woman’s right to a full and healthy sex life as an active, empowered and fulfilled participant. It suggests that a woman is nothing more than a receptacle to satisfy men.”

The mesh implants – known as trans-vaginal tape – are a common treatment for post-childbirth complications such as prolapse or urinary incontinence. But the routine procedure has left some women unable to walk or have sex and requiring invasive removal surgery.

Last week it emerged that one in 15 women in the UK had to undergo surgery to remove the implants after they were left in agony. 

But Johnson & Johnson have maintained that women suffering with mesh complications remain a  “small minority” of patients. The case continues in Australian federal courts.

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