As I write this I am at the tail end of week 5 post-op. Tomorrow will be the 6 week mark but technically 6 weeks will end on Monday the 25th.
My prolapse symptoms are gone but I am struggling with how weak I feel. I recently reviewed my DUTCH test results and it showed that my estrogen is in the post-menopausal range! Here I was thinking I was being proactive and doing the surgery before I reached menopause. I was quite shocked by that result but it could explain some of the laxity I feel in my pelvis. I will be starting vaginal estrogen again (I was only on it for 2 weeks prior to surgery) the week of the 25th.
I am surprised by how weak I feel. I was strong going in to surgery and I felt like the repair to the vaginal wall would make things feel more 'tight'. So far I don't feel that. I know that my strength will continue to improve and I am going to be fitted for a pessary so I feel that may make a difference.
I am more aware of my...
Week 4 was definitely easier than week 3. I was less stressed and stopped over-analyzing every little sensation. My good friend and pelvic floor physio Julia reminded me that sensations are good - they are a sign that the body is adapting and healing.
I continue to be very intentional with my exercise and am following the Core Confidence Exercise Program with a few additional exercises added in. Every morning and every evening I do 2 sets of 10-12 of all the following exercises
I also do supine butterfly with support under my thighs, stacked butterfly (also called stacked cobbler), and a thoracic rotation pose. I have done a few cat cow here and there too.
I walk 3-4 times a week and...
This week has been the hardest. This week I have been obsessing about every little sensation and wondering if everything is ok?
Did I break it?
What was that?
Is it my bladder?
Have I done the right thing?
That is balanced out by me showing gratitude to my body and feeling like everything will be ok.
I have been up and I have been down. Prolapse is an emotional f*cking roller coaster.
The incision seems to be healing well (I can only see the outer part) and the tenderness has subsided. It has now been replaced with a sense of fullness. I feel my vulva and I don't love that. Hoping that will continue to subside. I have stopped with the polysporin and will soon be switching to Vital V from Moonmaid Botanicals. Such a beautiful salve.
I also felt just a tiny bit inside and felt the stitches. They haven't dissolved yet so many some of the sensations I am getting are from that? Who knows. I am just trying to be...
All in all recovery from prolapse surgery has been easier than I had anticipated. Sensations vary from day which means my emotions and anxiety does too! Here is a recap of my second week post-op.
Pain and Discomfort
I was off pain meds at the start of my second week and I no longer had the pressure pain when I felt a bowel movement coming on. I had stopped doing my sitz baths but added them back in later due to the discomfort in my perineum. I have a couple spots that are really tender. I also notice a pulling sensation when I sit in certain positions and when I wipe after a BM. The stiz baths and red light therapy and polysporin have helped.
Walking and Restorative Exercise
I have been a bit more active - went for 3 decent walks this week. After the first one I felt ready to sit and my vagina was a bit achey. I took the next day off and then did another one followed by a day of rest. My pace was slower but it felt good to move...
A week ago I had prolapse surgery to repair my rectocele. You can ready about my decision to have surgery here .
Here is an account of my first 7 days post-op.
Day of Surgery
I had my surgery at about 1pm on Monday Dec 7th and was home by 4:30pm. I was sent home with a catheter and some packing in my vagina. I was also given some sexy hospital panties that were actually quite comfy and better than the mesh ones you get after giving birth.
I was quite dopy and even felt a bit woozy in the car but managed to not barf. I came home and went right to bed where I stayed for the rest of the day and night. My husband brought me some bone broth which was comforting,
The benefit of the catheter is not having to get up to go to the bathroom but I could really only sleep on my back which I like for short periods of time so I found that I did not sleep all that well the first night. I made sure to take my pain meds and stool softeners before I...
I made the decision to have prolapse surgery in late October. I announced it early November with a bit of apprehension…. But I felt so much love and support from my community.
I let the shame of deciding to have surgery go while at the same time witnessing that others feel that same shame. I am hoping to help others navigate the decision so they too can drop the shame.
Of course I still questioned if my decision was the right one. I felt anxiety build in my body.
When I feel anxious, I feel it in my chest. It is like an ache. My heart beats faster and harder and then I feel the ache grow because I am anxious about being anxious.
Does the ache mean something? Is it my body telling me something? Do I really want this?
What if things are worse? What if it is everything I want it to be? What if? What if? What If?
Listening to the Chopra Meditation app I heard a saying that stuck with me…...
My decision to have rectocele repair surgery was a BIG one and a lot of though and research and care provider consults contributed to it. I feel a missing element of prolapse surgery is pre-hab and re-hab guidance. I hope to help change that with the aim of preventing surgery for some and improving the outcomes of those that go ahead. Here are some considerations for pre-op and post-op that may help you with your decision making and/or prep and recovery.
What is a rectocele?
A Rectocele is a type of prolapse indicated by the rectum bulging into the vagina. They can contribute to discomfort, difficulty voiding, feeling like ‘something is in there’, difficulty inserting a tampon or keeping it in. They can also be asymptomatic. Many people don’t even know they have a prolapse and the grade (1-4) of prolapse is not always indicative of the severity of or presence of symptoms.
What is a rectocele repair?
The most common rectocele...
Let me just start by saying...my number one treatment for pelvic floor dysfunction is pelvic physical therapy. It is my answer to anyone who asks “What should someone do if they experience pelvic floor discomfort?" or "What kind of treatments are there for pelvic floor dysfunction?” In my opinion, pelvic floor physical therapy (or pelvic floor physiotherapy if you are in Canada or the UK) should be the first line of defense for things like incontinence, prolapse, chronic back pain and even diastasis recti.
While many pelvic floor related challenges are common, like post-partum leakage or stress urinary incontinence, they aren’t necessarily “normal”. Folk wisdom suggests these are things that should be endured, but the truth is that there is help available and you can significantly improve your quality of life by taking the time to treat pelvic floor dysfunction with pelvic floor physiotherapy...
This post is about my decision to have surgery for my prolapse, a rectocele, that I have lived with for over 8 years now. Surgery is something I have been debating for 4 years and I did not come to this decision lightly but I know it is the right choice for me.
16 years ago I gave birth to my first son. I believe that was the start of my rectocele.
My goal for childbirth was to have a vaginal birth with no epidural and no tearing.
I did everything I knew about to prepare for birth with the aim of avoiding episiotomy and tearing like my mom had experienced. She also dealt with incontinence and because at the time with my limited knowledge about pelvic health, I equated tearing with incontinence, I felt that because of the fact that I did not tear must mean that my pelvic floor was doing well!
Or so I thought….
I Wish I Had Known
Knowing what I know now, I would have understood that just because there was no external tearing...
Have you been told to do kegel exercises to help with your incontinence? Urinary incontinence in women is very common and kegel exercises are often the initial prescription but Kegel exercises are a bit of an elusive exercise that people know they should do but are never sure if they are doing them correctly.
Kegel exercises were designed by doctor, Dr. Kegel, who used a biofeedback device called a perineometer, to help women learn how to contract and relax their pelvic floor after childbirth. Read that again...contract AND relax.
Studies have shown that over 50% of women are doing kegels incorrectly and many are simply trying to squeeze as hard as they can and end up using their inner thighs or their glutes instead of their pelvic floor and they fail to consider the relaxation portion. But it is not their fault.
What's happened to the kegel over time is that its regularly prescribed, but rarely taught and seldom do people have a proper pelvic floor evaluation to...