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Unread 01-26-2004, 10:10 AM

I'm a 51 year old mother of 6 boys, ages 13-27. I had my hysterectomy back in March of 2003 along with a bladder tack (Burch procedure). I also had a major problem with bowel movements. Actually, for a while they were non-existant. Instead I was in such pain and wasn't sure what was going on until I was referred to a G.I. and was told it was a case of severe constipation. In the meantime, I too strained alot thinking it would help. The problem eventually cleared up and I felt like I'd gone to heaven - it was so nice not to be in that agonizing pain anymore.
But 3 months after the surgery I began feeling that dreaded bulge again. I thought for months that the bladder had prolapsed again. It wasn't until Oct. 30 when I finally went back to my OB-GYN that I found out it possibly had nothing to do with the bladder but instead could be a rectocele. Actually the doctor didn't use that exact term he just said that the rectum was slightly prolapsed. He asked if I had to help the bowel movements out and I told him no. I'm assuming that this could mean the rectocele is not so severe yet. He did say that it would not get better on its' own but in time would only get worse. He also mentioned something about the vaginal walls collapsing or prolapsing somewhat.
Since October I've been agonizing over having surgery again. I would love to have this bulging sensation to be gone. There's no pain involved but I get awfully tired when I have to walk too much. I think it's because in addition to the walking and being on my feet I'm constantly trying to "hold it all in" at the same time that's wearing me out. It does get better with intercourse. It almost feels like it all gets pushed back into place, at least for a day or 2.
What I would like to know from anyone who's been through this kind of "reconstructive surgery" and it's been quite awhile since their surgery - how they are faring and if the surgery seems to be "holding up"? My biggest fear is that after going through this major surgery thing once more that it's not going to work in the long run. I'd love to hear that it can work and it can last and I can feel "normal" again for a long time, hopefully.
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Unread 01-26-2004, 11:29 AM

Please note that I have the same concerns. Just got on to this post to see what you get back.

Unread 01-26-2004, 11:36 AM

hu judi... i have exactly the same problem as you... had a tvh and bladder repair last feb... around the 8 week mark i could feel the dreaded bulge and went to my doctor who said it was swelling!!!! back again after a further 4 weeks as i knew it was not just swelling.... my doctor then confirmed my worse fear... bowel prolapse.... i am on our uk nhs waiting list for surgery... as time goes on it has got much worse and i am desperate to get it fixed... i do not regret my surgery but just wish i didn't have to go back in.. it's rather a pain to walk/stand and the only comfort i get is when i lay down..... i wish you well.... mary. xx
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Unread 01-26-2004, 01:45 PM

This will sound bizarre, but my mom has had that problem and at 73 does not want anymore surgery. Her doctor gave her a pessary. It sits in the vagina and minds its own business and keeps things in place. She had to go back a couple of times to find one that was the right kind for her and fit correctly (they make several different kinds these days), but she's pretty happy with it now.

It might be worth asking your doctor about it to see if it will tide you over.
Unread 01-26-2004, 01:48 PM

My doctor refers to a pessary as something for old ladies in nursing homes. He said that it can't be used in my case because 1) I'm still active sexually. 2) I no longer have a cervix and 3) it is only a short term fix.

Has anyone else heard anything about pessaries?


TAH/BSO with bladder repair
Unread 01-26-2004, 02:07 PM

My mom is still active sexually (the things your mom will tell you while you're making a cake these days! ) and hasn't had a cervix since her own hysterectomy 20 years ago. It might be worth considering a second opinion. I hope you hear from someone with direct experience soon.

I think she just removes the pessary when it's (ahem) going to be in the way.
Unread 01-26-2004, 08:56 PM

Hi Denise,
As a matter of fact my doctor did bring up the subject of a pessary and dismissed it as an option "because I was too young" and it wouldn't be a permanent fix.
I'd read that they don't work for some and sometimes they are more trouble than they help.
I did look into getting a second opinion and haven't ruled that out yet. Our insurance is HMO and the list of OB-GYNs total 3 in my directory for our area.
It's not that I don't trust the doctor who did the hysterectomy - like I said earlier I'm dreading having anymore surgery and I guess I am trying to make sure that if it does come to that it will hopefully be the only one needed to finally resolve the problem I'm having. I know there are no guarantees in life but I just thought if I could hear from other sisters who've had the repair for their rectocele and it's been awhile since their surgery and know it worked for them it would give me the confidence to go ahead with my own.
Unread 01-26-2004, 10:00 PM

Having my Rectocele surgery at 10am this morning. I ill let you know how it was when I get home and can sit at the computer

Unread 01-27-2004, 07:46 AM

It's just my opinion, but if someone has a prolapse of one organ - chances are she is prone to another prolapsed organ! Why do doctors not understand this? I'd much rather go through the preliminary "embarrassing" examinations than have to endure subsequent surgeries! I've had two surgeries for prolapses and now have that familiar "uncomfortable pressure" if I've done done too much again. I could just scream! My mistake was having a young, inexperienced gyn perform my original surgery. My advice to any woman anticipating prolapse surgery - research your doctor. Find someone who specializes in pelvic floor reconstruction - preferably a uro-gyn. The uro-gyn who performed my second surgery would have done things very differently, but by then it was too late and could only try to "fix" what my gyn had originally done.

I was fitted for a pessary between my two surgeries and can honestly say it was not all that bad. When fitted correctly, you do not even know you're wearing it! It provided nonsurgical relief while figuring out what to do. I've read about pessary wearers having to go to their gyn to have them removed and cleaned. Well, mine was a round ring which I could easily insert and remove myself. (Therefore, it was easy to remove for intercourse.) Since I'm in my early 50's, I eventually got tired of it and opted for another surgery ... but the point is - if FITTED CORRECTLY, a pessary is not bad at all, it bides you time to figure out what to do, and it provides RELIEF to get through your daily activities!

Wishing you good health,
Unread 01-29-2004, 09:50 PM

I too have been diagnosed with rectocele. Had TAH January, 2003. My surgeon has referred me to a colorectal surgeon. I have an appt next Friday. Am anxious in a way to see what he has to say. Jude

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