Hernias are a very common health condition with a host of different types and causes, and most doctors use a hernia mesh implant to treat them. The purpose is to cover an opening or support weak tissue causing the hernia.

Many times, the surgery to repair the hernia goes just as planned, but too often it does not. If you have a hernia mesh implant, you may be wondering what warning signs you should look for to know if your implant is causing you trouble. Here are five things to watch for:

  1. Soreness and pain. Pain is the most common sign that something is wrong. Sometimes it is the only sign and should not be taken lightly. You may also see bruising, swelling, or skin rashes near the surgery site. 
  2. Bowel obstruction. Sometimes scar tissue or parts of the intestines fuse to the mesh, which creates a blockage that obstructs your ability to relieve yourself. This condition can be serious and may need further surgery to correct.
  3. Erectile dysfunction. Depending on where your hernia is located, you may suffer from problems with sexual functioning, including problems with arousal, sensation and orgasm. These problems are more common for men. Some men’s testicles also become sore and smaller in size due to a lack of blood flow caused by the mesh.
  4. Infections and fluid build-up. All operations have a risk of infection, but hernia mesh implants can cause chronic infections around the mesh area. The mesh can also create a build-up of fluid around the mesh, which may be a sign of infection.
  5. Return of the hernia. Doctors use mesh implants for hernias because they tend to reduce the chance of the hernia returning. The mesh can cause certain problems that bring on a recurrence of the hernia, however. The problems include adhesion, fistula, migration and perforation.

The industry has moved to using more synthetic meshes, which have been linked to more failures. When a mesh implant fails, further surgeries may be necessary to remove the mesh or correct the problem. This can be a costly and painful solution for the patient. The FDA is aware of many of these problems with mesh implants and has prompted industry recalls on several mesh devices.

If you have a hernia mesh implant, and you have noticed any of these signs of complications, see your doctor right away to find out what treatment options you may have.