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My Bits Fell Out!

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Have you ever heard of vaginal prolapse? I hadn't either, until it happened to me. Here's my story.

vaginal prolapse

Allison Henry: My first pregnancy was totally normal and healthy and fine. When my daughter was 11-and-a-half months old, I got pregnant with my second child.

About ten weeks into my pregnancy, I was doing prenatal yoga and it felt like someone had rammed a pitchfork up my butt, so I stopped. It was an intense, sharp pain, but it passed. As I was feeding my daughter lunch a short time later, it felt like I had peed my pants, and when I ran to the bathroom, I saw I was gushing blood everywhere. It was the biggest scare of my life.

I rushed to the OB/GYN, and they said I hadn't lost the baby, thank God. But they couldn't figure out what was wrong, and I kept bleeding for 15 weeks straight. When I was 25 weeks pregnant, they put me in the hospital for three-and-a-half weeks on bed rest. That was the first time I had stopped bleeding in four months, and I was so relieved. When they released me, they put me on hospital-level bed rest at home, but even walking from the couch to the bathroom made me start bleeding again, so they had to put me back in the hospital. My son was born six-and-a-half weeks early, at 33 weeks.

What they ultimately found out was that I developed a hematoma outside the placenta. The baby was fine, thank God, and after he was released from five weeks in the NICU, we thought the whole ordeal was behind us. Boy, were we wrong about that.

One day in the bathroom, I felt something kind of strange when I was wiping. There wasn't really a hole there -- it felt kind of flat. I thought it was a little weird, but I had a 19-month-old and a newborn to care for, so I brushed it off. I wasn't bleeding, I wasn't in pain, so I didn't address it.

Over the next year, I noticed this more and more and more. I would feel that something was poking out of my vagina when I was wiping.

In the meantime, I had a massive emergency appendectomy, I got gangrene, and I was hospitalized. It took me about eight months to heal from that whole thing, so I didn't really address what was going on with my vagina.

One night, I took a look down there, and it was like my insides were on the outside and they were coming out. I knew I couldn't put this off any longer. I went to my doctor and said, "My vagina is falling out of my body!"

I was referred to a pelvic floor specialist. She took a look and said, "Holy crap -- your vagina is falling out of your body, and it's dragging your bladder and your rectum along with it!"

It turned out I had complete uterine prolapse, where the uterus is falling out of the body. I also had rectocele, where the walls of the vagina are weakened, and your rectum is pushing into the back wall of your vagina. That explained why I had been constipated for months. They also told me I had cystocele, where your bladder pushes through the other wall of your vagina. I had been having trouble peeing -- even though I always felt like I had to go. This was apparently why.

The uterus is supposed to be 8 or 11 centimeters up inside your vagina. When I was lying down in the doctor's office, mine was 3 centimeters up, but when I was standing, it was plus-five centimeters! It was literally falling out of my body.

I had to have surgery, and they took my uterus out. All the ligaments that hold the uterus in place were completely shredded by all the blood I'd lost in my second pregnancy. My husband and I had thought about possibly having another child, but that took care of that.

Then my doctor had to resupport and restructure the back wall of my vagina so it wouldn't collapse again. She put my rectum and my colon back in their proper place. She had to untwist my bladder and place it right-side-up. It had twisted and turned upside down.

On top of this, I had a labia reduction, which was brutal. All of "Dr. 90210"'s patients who say it doesn't hurt are lying. I'd rather get my teeth pulled out than do that again!

After a few days of recovery, I was released from the hospital ... but unfortunately my story doesn't end there.

Every complication that could happen to me happened.

I was throwing up, constipated, and completely backed up for days. I had a UTI, and I was on antibiotics for that and painkillers.

Then seven days after my surgery, I was watching "Snow White" with my daughter when my son came into the room. He didn't like the seating arrangement and sort of lunged on top of my daughter. I had to push him off her, and when I did, I heard a loud ripping sound. Oh, no. I looked under the comforter, and my entire bed was covered with blood. It was like a horror movie -- you could see the blood filling the entire white bed. Since it was under the covers, thank God the kids didn't see anything.

I screamed, "Call the doctor! Call the doctor!" In 15 minutes, I had passed 10 huge palm-sized blood clots.

My stepmom rushed me to the emergency room, and the ER doctor was trying to figure out where the blood was coming from, but couldn't see because there was too much blood gushing out. He was poking around down there -- and I was still extremely tender from my surgery. It was the worst pain of my life.

He called my doctor and said: "I can't see where it's coming from. She's bleeding so fast and so much, I can't see. I'm killing her!"

So they prepped me for emergency surgery. It turns out when I pushed my son off my daughter, I ripped through eight way-deep internal sutures. My doctor had to go in and stitch everything back up once again. After having two surgeries in one week, I was beyond sore afterwards. I was in so much pain.

They put me on an antibiotic that I was allergic to -- I got a full body rash and was covered in red bumps from my head to my ankles.

The cumulative effect of all the anesthesia in my body did me in. I lost 30 pounds. Not that I minded being super skinny, but I was so sickly skinny, it was scary.

Six months later, I started having this weird discharge that had a funky odor. I was still in pain. It turned out my body was now rejecting the second set of sutures, and I had to have -- guess what? -- another surgery!

That was a year and a half ago. Since then, I've had some bladder issues, and they had to go in and slough off some of the scar tissue that had grown on the inside walls of my bladder as a result of my surgery.

The experience has been a total nightmare, but I'm happy to say I'm on the mend. We just had a cocktail party to celebrate me feeling healthy. And I do have the vagina of a 13-year-old virgin, with a perfect labia, as a bonus.

Within 10 or 15 years, there's a 90 percent chance I'll have to have another reconstructive surgery to resupport the walls of my vagina, because the results don't last forever. But that's something I knew going in.

There are definitely other women out there who've had this, or are experiencing the symptoms now. My advice is to go to the doctor sooner rather than later. If I had gone sooner, I would have had a much less complicated surgery. But I was dealing with a toddler and a preemie, and I thought I'd just deal with it later. It took me years to see my doctor.

If I had addressed this when it was just partially prolapsing, there's a possibility I could have had kids again. So don't wait like I did. If something doesn't feel right, get checked out right away.

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171 comments so far | Post a comment now
judithsnowflake November 7, 2009, 2:11 PM

I hope you continue to be in good health.Thank you so much for being so kind and telling us about it. knowing something about this could help a lot of people before it becomes too bad of a condition.thanks

Gina November 7, 2009, 2:22 PM

Thank you for sharing this riveting story. Im sorry you had to go through this but Im glad your recovering. Amazing story.

Marina Allard November 7, 2009, 2:34 PM

After my pregnancy with my daughter, I had problems walking, I would feel like my vagina had weights on it from the inside, I started poking around and found that my uterus was hanging in my passage, I could feel the mouth of the uterus with the tip of my fingers. I laid on my back and started rubbing my tummy upwards with both hands i did it several times a day for a few days and my uterus went back into place, then I did exercisesto strenghthen the walls. the pain of that ordeal was horrendous

MWP November 7, 2009, 2:48 PM

My mother has the same condition. Her bladder fell out several years ago and she needed surgery to re-attach it. Now she’s having a similar surgery for her stomach. Her MD claimed that if she had gone on estrogen replacement therapy, this may -may- not have occurred. Who knows?

Berrie November 7, 2009, 3:53 PM

Thank you for sharing this story. I have never heard of anything like this. It will definitely help a LOT of women by them reading this. I am glad you are doing better now!

kim November 7, 2009, 4:56 PM

i am so glad that you are better. my best friend had a bladder prolasp about a year ago. although she is fine now i was so afraid for her. but i know what pain she went through, all the time caring for 2 small toddlers and one older child. she had surgery to put her bladder back and came through very well thank god.

Dana November 7, 2009, 4:59 PM

I know exactly what you went through. I just had a hysterectomy & anterior repair ( bladder prolapse) done in August. I knew for a while what was happening to me but was too embarassed to tell my doctor. Besides, I was hoping with Kegel exercises I could correct it myself. It doesn’t work that way. I wished I had had gone earlier but thankfully my surgery went well. Good Luck!!

rafiqah November 7, 2009, 5:28 PM

It happen to my mom. She had surgery to replace it back in her. Sorry to hear that it happened to you and at such a young age.Hope that everything is o.k know.


Same Thing to me... November 7, 2009, 5:52 PM

I understand where she is coming from. I have a prolapsed bladder and rectum .. I have the same symptoms. 35 and my hormones are in the post menopausal levels. and I have a 4yr. old. I was healthy until about a year or so after giving birth. It’s all going DOWNHILL (pun intended) I will more than likely also have to have a hysterectomy. :( I feel for all women in this position.

momo November 7, 2009, 8:53 PM

This happened to my 80+ mother in law. Her uterus was hanging out about 6 inches and her bowels were blocked and she was incontinent. This had been going on for months and she was too ashamed to tell anyone. She refused to leave the house and seemed to be getting more and more frail every day. We knew something was wrong but we couldn’t figure it out. She finally developed a severe infection and almost died. The prolapse was discovered at the hospital. SHe had pelvic floor repair surgery and her recovery was quick, complication-free and not terribly painful. She was able to walk down the aisle at a grandchild’s wedding last month. She made a remarkable recovery. Thankfully, she did not have the terrible complications in this story. Please, ladies, if you think something is wrong, check it out and don’t delay.

Tracey November 7, 2009, 9:09 PM

I had a mild uterine prolapse and was scheduled for surgery which I cancelled because I was too scared to undergo a partial hysterectomy. I know the problem can occur again.I was so frustrated when gyno just kept instructing me to do kegels but apparently the kegel exercises have somewhat worked because it has not happened again where I can actually see my uterus protruding from my vagina.
I also wanted labioplasty and vaginoplasty but I do not have $10,000.00!

Ugh. November 7, 2009, 11:02 PM

Well, I’d already long ago made up my mind to never have children.

Now I am REELLLY REELLY REEEEEEEEEEEELLY never, ever, ever having children.

Cathy November 8, 2009, 12:11 AM

I had this happen to me TWICE and it is not fun at all. Have had 2 major surgerys for it. One in 1990 and one in 2009. I might be like a virgin again but it aint as great as you think it is. It hurts to have sex now and standing or lifting hurts. You always have the fear of ripping it loose. My vagina was removed and my bladder and bowels are held in place by mesh.

Donna November 8, 2009, 5:04 AM

I know what your going through I had the same problem after my hysterectomy. I was told I should have done kegals after the birth of my kids and after my surgery. I wasn’t told that. I use a pesirery ring now it helps a lot, my doctor says I need to do the surgery after I retire, right now I’m required to lift 50 poundas for my job, doc says i can’t lift over 10 after the surgery.

Donna November 8, 2009, 6:17 AM

I had something similar as well. I tried to tell my doctor that something was wrong, that having intercourse was painful, I was bleeding too much during periods, and in between periods, was leaking urine, and on and on. For two years, I complained. Yes, when lying down, the vagina, uterus, and bladder fall back up. I could feel my cervix when wiping. They would do pelvic exams and say “nothing appears to be wrong”. I finally demanded to see a OB/GYN specialist and in five minutes, he told me I had a prolapsed uterus and bladder. They did surgery and found that I also had numerous fibroid tumors. I had a complete hysterectomy in 2001 and my bladder is now lifted up with mesh. Intercourse is not painful anymore. Women, we know our bodies better than anyone and if the doctors won’t listen, keep at them until they do something, or go to another one!

Does it matter November 8, 2009, 7:29 AM

This happened to my Mom. She lived with it forever it seems because she had no health coverage and Doctors refused to help her when she got Medicare. I Finally went with her and they fitted her with a pessary. Then she got breast cancer and they charged too much for the Meds she needed to fight it and she died from the Meds they did give her.

Blog Tactic November 8, 2009, 8:25 AM

Great insight. Dropping by from Huffington

Anonymous November 8, 2009, 8:26 AM

I also have severe vaginal prolapse after a hysterectomy I had a few years ago. I know I need more surgery, but I am so angry at my doctors for not making sure this didn’t happen in the first place, I don’t even want to go back to see them, plus, it sounds like there’s no guarantee of the surgery being successful and that repeated surgeries will be necessary

jess November 8, 2009, 8:36 AM

wow, u are an amazing woman! you are truly an inspiration.

Elaine November 8, 2009, 9:31 AM

Thanks so much for sharing your story. And I am sorry there are such JERKS making mean comments. Please know that your willingness to share your story has and will help many. God bless you!

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