Pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI) are common conditions. The use of mesh in the surgical treatment of these conditions in Australia is unclear.

To examine the use of mesh in POP and SUI procedures in an Australian national cohort of older women.

We conducted a population‐based cohort study using data from the Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) database. The cohort consisted of older women who had POP and SUI procedures between 1 July, 2005 and 31 December, 2016. Women who received mesh were identified by matching device billing codes with the Australian Government’s Prosthesis List.

In total, 3129 women experienced 3472 hospitalisations for POP and SUI procedures, with 74% of the women aged 75 years and older. There were 2276 (66%) hospitalisations with single POP repairs, 608 (18%) with single SUI procedures and 588 (17%) with concomitant POP and SUI procedures. Mesh was used in 23% of single procedures for POP, in 89% of single procedures for SUI and in 90% of concomitant POP and SUI procedures. The use of mesh in POP procedures decreased from a peak of 33% in 2008 down to 8% by 2016, whereas the use of mesh in SUI procedures increased from 77% in 2006 to 91% by 2016.

Mesh was commonly used in SUI procedures, whereas use of mesh in POP repair was less common and the use decreased rapidly after 2011, when warnings about use of mesh in POP were first issued.