When I saw today’s prompt I wracked my brain for an easy way out. See I have plenty of secrets but not plenty of ones I want to share, hence them being secrets! Then I thought what if I shared a secret I was ashamed of but that might just help someone else out there feel a little less ashamed. So after much humming and haring here goes.
My daughter is 15 months old and I have had to wear panty liners every single day since her birth. My periods only returned a few months ago but that is not why I have to wear them. I wear them because I have a prolapse which came about after I gave birth but was not picked up on by either myself, the midwives or the doctor who gave me the all clear to exercise at week 6. I did ten minutes of light exercise, went to use the bathroom and discovered the prolapse hanging out of me. (If you don’t like graphic detail you might wish to stop reading now). I initially thought it was a tumour. I immediately thought I had cancer. I called the doctors and got the next available appointment which wasn’t for a few weeks. By the time I attended the doctors appointment wonderful Google had informed me that more than likely it was in fact a prolapse. Armed with this information I went to the doctors who examined me laying down and found nothing. I had to ask to please be re-examined stood up for them to realise it was more than just “the state your body gets left in after birth.”
Doc told me to just leave it a few weeks and see if it went away (although she says that’s unlikely) I leave it, it gets worse. Bigger and more uncomfortable to walk and do every day tasks. When I return (to a different doctor each time) I have to ask for them to do something please. Not until I mention it is effecting my mental wellbeing is anything done. I am given a pessary which is the wrong size and then I react badly to it. This goes on for months because the initial doctors appointment was at 8 weeks after the birth. If it had been before it would have been classed as related to the labour and apparently I could see I gynaecologist but as my appointment missed out the widow by 2 days, it was classed as not connected so no appointment for me except with the frankly useless GP’s who flipped from telling me to just do some pelvic floor exercises and see if it helps to advising I might need surgery and the removal of my womb.
After many many months I eventually get referred to physiotherapy who tell me the pelvic floor exercises will do nothing as they are shot to hell already and I need to start with a kegal machine. Unfortunately the NHS doesn’t have any available. Their plan of action? Wait until the next stock take, mark down that there are none and hope they get new ones and then they will phone me. All the meanwhile when I sneeze or cough or lift anything (say like a baby?) then I pee a little. My confidence is shot to hell.  I use to think I could take on anything. I was exceptionally well self assured  (hopefully in a good strong way not an annoying way!) but now I lack all confidence. I second guess everything I do. I never think I am good enough at anything I try to do. I feel a failure most days. I think an awful lot of that stems from my disgust at my body after having my babies. Now I don’t mean the stretch marks and wobbles. Yes of course I would like to look better in a bikini etc but actually I’m down to a size 8/10 (small boobs , bigger bum now post babies!) again so looking at me you might think I haven’t come off having two kids too badly but I feel an absolute hatred towards my body and myself because of this prolapse. I can’t do the exercise I want to get stronger  (and I use that as an excuse too), I feel about 80 years old having to change panty liners all day long, and I have no sex drive at all. So as of right now I vow to get this sorted. It is not enough for the medical experts to say it is only a “mild” prolapse and it “could be a lot worse”. It appears that although usually seen in older woman, actually prolapse are very common after giving birth. I don’t actually meet any of the criteria that makes it more likely to have one and yet here I am. So if you too are suffering or even think you might know someone who is, please talk about it. Please try and get help. We shouldn’t have to just accept it and suffer daily. I don’t know how I will fix mine but I am done just waiting for it to dissappear.

Pelvic organ prolapse is bulging of one or more of the pelvic organs into the vagina.

These organs are the uterus, vagina, bowel and bladder.

Symptoms may include:

  • a sensation of a bulge or something coming down or out of the vagina, which sometimes needs to be pushed back
  • discomfort during sex
  • problems passing urine – such as slow stream, a feeling of not emptying the bladder fully, needing to urinate more often and leaking a small amount of urine when you cough, sneeze or exercise (stress incontinence)

Some women with a pelvic organ prolapse don’t have any symptoms and the condition is only discovered during an internal examination for another reason, such as a cervical screening.

When to see your GP

Pelvic organ prolapse isn’t life-threatening, but it can affect your quality of life.

See your GP if you have any of the symptoms of a prolapse, or if you notice a lump in or around your vagina.

Internal pelvic examination

Your doctor will need to carry out an internal pelvic examination. They’ll ask you to undress from the waist down and lie back on the examination bed, while they feel for any lumps in your pelvic area.

Some women may put off going to their GP if they’re embarrassed or worried about what the doctor may find. However, the examination is important, only takes a few minutes and is similar to having a smear test.

Further tests

If you have bladder symptoms, such as needing to rush to the toilet or leaking when you cough and sneeze, further tests may need to be carried out in hospital.

For example, a small tube (catheter) may be inserted into your bladder to examine your bladder function and identify any leakage problems. This test is known as urodynamics.

Your doctor will decide if further tests are needed before treating the prolapse.

Types of prolapse

If pelvic organ prolapse is confirmed, it will usually be staged to indicate how severe it is. Most often, a number system is used, ranging from one to four, with four indicating a severe prolapse.

Pelvic organ prolapse can affect the front, top or back of the vagina. The main types of prolapse are:

  • anterior prolapse (cystocele) –where the bladder bulges into the front wall of the vagina
  • prolapse of the uterus and cervix or top of the vagina –which can be the result of previous treatment to remove the womb (hysterectomy)
  • posterior wall prolapse (rectocoele or enterocoele) –when the bowel bulges forward into the back wall of the vagina

It’s possible to have more than one of these types of prolapse at the same time.

Why does prolapse happen?

Prolapse is caused by weakening of tissues that support the pelvic organs. Although there’s rarely a single cause, the risk of developing pelvic organ prolapse can be increased by:

  • your age – prolapse is more common as you get older
  • childbirth, particularly if you had a long or difficult labour, or gave birth to multiple babies or a large baby – up to half of all women who have had children are affected by some degree of prolapse
  • changes caused by the menopause – such as weakening of tissue and low levels of the hormone oestrogen
  • being overweight, obese or having largefibroids (non-cancerous tumours in or around the womb) or pelvic cysts – which creates extra pressure in the pelvic area
  • previous pelvic surgery – such as ahysterectomy or bladder repair
  • repeated heavy lifting and manual work
  • long-term coughing or sneezing – for example, if you smoke, have a lung condition or allergy
  • excessive straining when going to the toilet because of long-term constipation

Certain conditions can also cause the tissues in your body to become weak, making a prolapse more likely, including:

Can a prolapse be prevented?

There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of prolapse, including:

If you smoke, stopping smoking may also help to reduce your risk of a prolapse.

How is prolapse treated?

Many women with prolapse don’t need treatment, as the problem doesn’t seriously interfere with their normal activities.

Lifestyle changes such as weight lossand pelvic floor exercises are usually recommended in mild cases.

If the symptoms require treatment, a prolapse may be treated effectively using a device inserted into the vagina, called a vaginal pessary. This helps to hold the prolapsed organ in place.

Surgery may also be an option for some women. This usually involves giving support to the prolapsed organ. In some cases, complete removal of the womb (hysterectomy) is required, especially if the womb has prolapsed out.

Most women experience a better quality of life after surgery, but there’s a risk of problems remaining or even getting worse.

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4 thoughts on “S – Secrets”

  1. Oh Fee, that’s so shit! I can’t believe you missed that window by two days and that this is having such an effect on your mental health. I hope you get it sorted soon 😣

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