Anonymous, New Zealand
I had my prolapse in my late 30s, more than 10 years after the birth of my child. I had a vaginal birth involving forceps, ventouse, episiotomy and a difficult manouvre as my daughter got stuck. After birth I had 2 weeks of constipation, straining, and agony when trying for a bowel movement. Still, it took some years for my prolapse. After some intensive squats at pilates and a cough, I noticed a protrusion from my vagina when I tried to complete a bowel motion. I knew what it was right away as my mum had recently had a hysterectomy due to a prolapse. My GP recommended I see a pelvic floor physio, which I did and followed all the exercises I was given. Months followed and I turned into a wild-eyed, messy haired anxious wreck. My whole existence revolved around making sure I was able to go to the toilet but also being terrified of the process. It was as if my life was in limbo. I felt unattractive and self-conscious, especially during sex. After no improvement, my GP referred me to a gynecologist who had been recommended by a friend. Once you start talking, it is surprising just how many women have experience with prolapse.
The gynecologist examined me and said I had a mild rectocele. She referred me to a different pelvic floor physio who was connected to her clinic. This physio was miles better than the one I’d seen previously. After months and no improvement, I went back to the gynecologist who listened to my concerns with empathy and arranged surgery. I should also mention that my pelvic floor kept tightening up. I think it was my unconscious reaction to the prolapse. This was incredibly painful. The physio helped me greatly with this through internal massage (sounds worse than it is) and gave me exercises to manage the issue. I had a Posterior Colporrhaphy in October 2017. I was afraid of surgery, but it was much easier than I imagined, and I was well looked after. Living with prolapse is much worse than having surgery.
Recovery was quick and easy. I am careful to stay regular, but my life doesn’t revolve around going, or not going, to the toilet anymore. Sex is great! My husband feels like he’s with a new woman. Prolapse should be talked about far more than it is. I knew to do my pelvic floor exercises after the birth of my child, but I was ignorant as to what issues prolapse could cause, other than urinary incontinence, or that there were different types of prolapse. I was never given any indication that I would be at higher risk of prolapse due to my difficult birthing experience or constipation after birth. I can honestly say that getting my surgery changed my life. Even if you are told you have a mild prolapse, it can still be debilitating. I’d encourage anyone to thoroughly investigate all options available and talk to your friends and relatives. Support each other and get help when you need it. There’s no need to suffer the effects of prolapse when it can be a relatively easy fix.