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Ask Dr. Zand.

Q. I have had a chronic urinary infection for many years. I had a continuous back ache. Sometimes I thought it was from a back operation 15 years ago. It always was from various UTIs. I would have my urine tested and it always tested positive. I decided to go to a urologist. I knew they would come up with the right answer. I was given a nurse practitioner by my health insurance. I went to her for a couple of years.

One of the last infections I had was one that an oral antibiotic would not help and I needed to go to an infectious disease clinic and have an antibiotic intravenously. From then on, I would take my urine sample to this clinic and they would call me and tell me I had an infection and they would call my drug store with the proper medicine. I did see the doctor a couple of times. At no time, was I examined internally by any of the doctors or nurses.

After telling my cardiologist my problem, he gave me the name of a urologist he knew could help me. I made an appointment with the doctor. He took down my history and then examined me. His exam gave me the answer I needed years ago. I had a bladder suspension in 2007 and the mesh that was used in the bladder suspension had eroded into my bladder and vagina causing me to have continuous infections and no antibiotic would cure my problem.

His treatment plan was to remove the mesh from my bladder and vagina and do a bladder suspension. I have had the mesh removed from my bladder (including a large stone and two foreign objects) and will have the vagina repair within the next couple of weeks and then have the bladder suspension. Three surgeries.

I hope you will print my experience, as I am an 82 year old woman that has had pain and discomfort for many years from mesh erosion. I hope women who read this will make sure they are properly diagnosed by insisting on an internal exam.--Mary E., Venice, Florida

Dear Mary,

Thank you very much for this very upsetting letter. I read it and, initially, was very sad and then MAD. It's unimaginable that it took all that time for somebody to give you a physical exam. This points to a LARGE black hole in our medical system.

There are many men and women who suffer from medical "inattention" these days. Much of the inattention comes from a need for speed and the "next," take-a-number, expedient medicine. Patients are oftentimes not given a physical exam, which is inexcusable. In this case, had you not finally been given a simple physical exam, you could have ultimately died from septicemia. All of this was created by a common, relatively simple surgical procedure gone wrong--followed by NO physical exam.

Your experience will shed light for women, not only with this health issue--but all women who are on a cycle that doesn't seem to change and need further medical attention--like a physical exam. If you ever have surgery and any kind of recurrent infection afterward, go back to your surgeon and make them fix the problem.

Have a question? Send it to: Ask Dr. Zand, P.O. Box 8051, Norcross GA 30093. Or e-mail to While I can't diagnose or treat your illness by mail, I'll answer as many questions as I can in the newsletter.

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Publication:Women's Health Letter
Article Type:Report
Date:Feb 1, 2016
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