Vaginal repair operation at 45

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Hi. I have a grade 1 posterior vaginal wall prolapse. I was referred by my GP to the hospital. I went through a Defecating Proctogram which was undignified, then months of physiotherapy. My physiotherapist advised me not to have the op unless I need it, that was her opinion until she saw it! She thought the front walls were prolapsing too.  Needless to say the vaginal wall is still prolapsed. I went back to the hospital and said my symptoms hadn't alleviated. I still pee a little when I cough, sneeze or laugh, but don't use a pad. I have trouble making a bowel movement, which means it all seems to get stuck in the bend, or bulge caused by the back wall being weak. It takes anything from 30 to 40 mins to feel 'clear'. I have to do the unthinkable and insert two fingers inside my vagina to push the back wall in order to clear my back passage, something that disgusts me. I am 45 and refuse to go on like this. It isn't age that caused it in my opinion, its because I gave birth to 3 big babies, my youngest is 10. I have a narrow pelvis and was advised to have a C-section if I have anymore, needless to say I'm not. My last baby had double shoulder dystocia and I had an episiotomy and the doctor had to manually manoeuvre her shoulder out with his hand! As a result my vagina looks like its been turned inside out. Think of blowing up a balloon and letting the air out. You still have a balloon, but its out of shape and stretched, or think of a new rosebud and put it next to a rose in full bloom, you get the idea. The consultant said I am only a grade 1 and they don't like to operate because there is a chance the prolapse could return. Because of my symptoms, ie the trouble making a bowel movement, they are willing to do the operation under general anaesthetic. Has anyone else on here had the op with a grade 1? I feel like I don't have the right to have the op under the NHS as it is only a grade 1 and there's worse cases. It has affected me psychologically and physically though and impairs on my life, work especially. I work in a nursery and can't keep dashing off to the loo. My husband said it looks and feels different, but he doesn't mind, even though I feel disgusting. Is it wise to have the op at a grade 1?


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22 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Alisa,

    I’m 52 and had surgery at 50. I personal think the younger you are the better chance you would heal better. Older you get the thinner your tissues and skin get. Working in a nursery you would probably want to take at least 6 months off. The better you take care of yourself afterwards the longer it will last.

    I had a friend that had her surgery at 45, she’s still good at 53.  I’m still feeling mine although it’s not that bad, but isn’t what it use to be. If I’m on my feet to long I feel that dragging feeling.

    I think mentally we shouldn’t  have to feel like you are feeling. I remember how I felt when it happen. I was in tears for months! 

    Good luck to you, hope you find all your answers,


    • Posted

      Thankyou Grace. I think they are trying to delay it due to nhs funds etc. My argument is that I begged them to do a C-section with my baby as I knew her head wasn't engaging and that means she was too big to fit through the pelvic bones. I had to have an episiotomy in an emergency situation, no anaesthetic. I heard the doctor having a go at the midwives as they left it til I got her head out, so it could've ended badly. I said to the doctor at the hospital that they cut me up to have her, so they should put me back together. Even though I was stitched up properly after the episiotomy, the inside of my vagina isn't the same. Its got worse in the last 2 years. The leaflet she gave me says 4 to 6 weeks off work. I'm hoping the surgery will be done soon. It is a horrible feeling  x

  • Posted

    You have as much right as anyone to have this operation. It’s not a nice way to live and don’t ever feel ashamed. I’m 32 and went through everything you did. Defecating proctogram, and various other tests. It was the worst time of my life and I felt so embarassed by it all. 

    I had my surgery for posterior repair last October. I’m glad I did. It was a hard time and it’s taken a while for me to feel normal again but I’m getting there. 

    My advice is go for it. It’s affecting your quality of life and it’s clearly getting you down. 

    I’m glad I had mine done. And I would do it again if need be. 

    • Posted

      Thanyou KP1407. 32 is really young. In my opinion they should do the op before it gets bad, whatever your age. I understand about it recurring later, but I will do my best to ensure it doesn't. I thought it would be a local, but its a general anaesthetic. I read on the leaflet it was 4 to 6 weeks off work. Its a long recovery, but I can't go on like this. I don't understand why they only operate on bad cases, rather than do it before it gets bad. Funding? Maybe they will schedule it for the summer hols, I'm off then.  x

    • Posted

      Could possibly be funding. What area are you? I was under Birmingham women’s hospital and I have to say they were always great from the start. I never really had an issue with being offered surgery. They always said it’s an option and if I wanted it they would do it. But that I had to be sure I understood that because I’m young it has to last longer, so could fail in later years, and also they wanted to make sure I was done having children as any more would ruin the repair. Both of which I was aware of. I was just sick of living like I was. 
    • Posted

      I'm in Surrey. Its a very healthy Trust, so they have the money. I think its just how they are with womens health. Do nothing until you can no longer live with it. She was surprised I had the symptoms I do with a grade 1. The bowel thing is a nightmare. I've been reading about it and other women have had my symptoms with grade 1. God knows what a grade 2 feels like!

    • Posted

      Hi Alisa! I think they don’t want to operate the grades 1 or 2 because they say the patients with “mildest” prolapses won’t see a difference after the op. For a surgeon, the benefits of an op should be more than the risks. 
  • Posted

    I am 37 and my surgery is on 21 March. The consultant took one look and booked me in there and then. Everything you have said I have the same and it is horrible especially having to use fingers ! 

    I’m worried about recovery time too. It says 6-8 weeks but I read lots of people take longer to feel back to normal. My youngest is only 17months! 

    I hope you get something sorted soon x

    • Posted

      Good luck Vicky. Its horrible, the trouble is so many women don't talk about it. I know a few others who have the same thing, but don't want surgery. I'm not looking forward to it, but believe it'll get much worse. Surely being younger will help us to heal quicker? I was hoping I would only be off work for a week, but it'll be much longer. I would say about 8 weeks to feel normal as we are both under 50.  

    • Posted

      Hi, in my own case it took me 3-4 months recovery and even then I would not have felt like going back to work. (I'm retired so didn't have to!) The gynae said it would be 3-4 months minimum due to the posterior wall and perineum repair plus sacrospinous fixation to repair prolapsed vag vault. After the op a surgeon came to see me on ward round and said that everything was very low, no one said that prior to surgery so I don't think they can always tell. I was never given a grade. These surgeons have probably never had this type of surgery themselves so cannot possibly know what we go through. Men can never understand in my view as they don't ever have this type of problem. Some of them are empathetic but I think some just want to add to their list of successes as it looks good on the CV's. If you can find a very experienced urogynae consultant snap him/her up. Look on your local hospital website to see what experience they have had in the past. Then see if you can request the one you prefer. At private first appointment may just clinch it, often they put you on their NHS list. Unfortunately NHS lists are quite long in most areas, (big towns/cities)! This is partly funding and partly staff problems I believe. "Crisis" in the NHS! Good luck and best wishes, Poll X rolleyes

    • Posted

      Thanks Pollyanna. Yes funding is short and lists are long on the nhs. I have to go with whoever they pick. I just hope they know what they are doing  x
  • Posted

    My heart goes out to you. I am wondering if you really have a grade 1 prolapse. It sounds much worse. It is difficult for doctors to assess and I know from my prolapse it can change in severity from day to day and usually gets worse as the day goes on.  I was originally told I had a grade one bladder prolapse and a couple of months later I had a really leaky bladder and sores around the vagina - so much for it being a grade 1.  They never told me in the end what grade it had become. My surgeon just said it was not as bad as it could be!  

    Something to be aware of is that you run the risk of getting much worse as you approach the menopause. That's what kicked my prolapse off.  I believe you are much better getting it sorted out sooner rather than later as  the prolapse is likely to only get worse. In my case I developed a bowel prolapse as well as the bladder prolapse due to very long delays getting a diagnosis. I had a hysterectomy and front repair a couple of months ago but the bowel prolapse was not fixed and I am having similar problems to you passing a BM. So, my advice is to find out what exactly is wrong with you - all the prolapses and make sure you have everything fixed at once.  Also, stop feeling guilty about being worthy of this operation - you are as entitled to it as anyone else! 

  • Posted

    Alisa Ian so sorry you find yourself needing this forum but it’s great for support and info.

    Yes you are young but in my opinion you are healthy and have maximum elasticity to your tissues. It has to be better in terms of healing and recovery outcome.

    I had my op last November for grade 2 rectocele and grade 1/2 cystocele with perineoplasty.

    At around 47 I found intercourse became painful but was not aware of prolapse. By fifty it was almost impossible. I could feel both prolapses. I was seen through the health system in Spain - told it wasn’t that bad and to go back to my GP if it got worse!

    Two years later back to GP. By now I couldn’t pass a stool without splinting and rocking or inserting fingers. I could feel the prolapse standing and when I walked. Dreadful. Any intimacy with my husband just disappeared as I felt totally unattractive, not to mention it was by now extremely painful and full intercourse was not an option.

    I waited and got messed about a bit and decided to ask a private go to refer me.

    I need an amazing surgeon who has looked after me well.

    I’m nearly 13 weeks post op andhace just started mopping the floor and getting washing in and out of the machine - but not lifting heavy baskets.

    I think about what I do and still have to pace myself but think in two more months I’ll feel much better.

    I had very little pain after the first day post op andthebiggest difficulty was sitting . It was Christmas Day 8 weeks after op I sat on a dining chair to eat - with a big cushion. I still can’t perch on a chair or sofa but feel almost normal.

    Intimacy has resumed and it’s a pleasure to pop to the loo without any problems at all.

    The biggest thing is learning to accept it is along recovery. Accept help, rest and rests and don’t feel guilty .

    The geading for me was made with me laying g down si it could be that you’re not actually a grade 1. Did they get you coughing hard on examination?

    I feel you owe it to yourself to have the surgery. Asalrwady said your recovery is sure to be good in view of your age but remember you need a full 12 weeks for the first stages of healing to occur. It takes a year for tissues and muscles to fully recover. You must never lift heavy weights again even after surgery or there is a much greater risk of recurrent prolapse.

    It could be when you’re sixty you may need further surgery. No one knows but it is your quality of life now. One in two women who have children have a prolapse at some point in their lives. (I told my kids they should pay 😂wink

    Wishing you the very best. Let us know how you get on.

    All I can say is I am so pleased I had it done despite the low moments and the frustrations. X

    • Posted

      Hi Paddiwhack and thankyou for your reply. I was examined laying down. I coughed on examination whilst laying, so I don't know whether the grade is a grade 1 or worse. I am a nursery practitioner so the long recovery worries me and I'm a part-time cleaner. I'll have to have a think about how to get through the recovery, but don't want to wait for years to get it done  x

    • Posted

      Where there’s a will there’s a way, sovthey say.

      If you can s cure sufficient time for recovery and get support it will be beneficial in the long run I am sure.

      This forum will help support you through. Let us know ho you get on. All the best to you. X

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