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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.



next: Missing Fla. Baby Found Alive Under Baby Sitter's Bed
171 comments so far | Post a comment now
myraloye November 12, 2009, 11:34 AM

Allison, I applaud you for your courage and survival, and scold every commenter who has tried to turn your experience into a joke. A similar thing happened to me and to my mother, and I’m just thankful that our cases did not turn out as horrifying and painful as yours.

And for all those people who have made ignorant remarks here, I have to say this. Pregnancy alone does NOT always cause this condition! I’m sure that sometimes genetics play a factor, as well as lack of muscle-strengthening exercise, and, in some cases like with hernias, heavy lifting can cause it, especially if the body’s muscles have not been strengthened and conditioned to handle it first.

MY uterus fell out of my body, along with a rectocele, due to a specific task I was given to do at work.

Yes, I had already had one child, who was 5 years old at the time, and no, I was NOT pregnant. In fact, I had been separated for 4 years, and had no boyfriend. But I was also one of those who considered “exercising” as “torture”. I had been in fairly decent shape before the birth of my child, and had been in the U.S. Air Force in aircraft maintenance before that.

However, I never did ANY muscle-strengthening exercises before or after childbirth, and, like so many Americans nowadays, was a Junk Food Junkie. My mother was also one who did not believe in exercises other than the ordinary household chores and yardwork. After having 4 children, her excuse for “looking pregnant” was that “ALL of the women in our family have big bellies.”

Needless to say, I was NOT in the right physical condition to perform the job task I was being asked to perform for my new job working for Lockheed Support Systems, Inc., at a naval air base. I had been out of the Air Force for 6 years by then, had had a child, had been a housewife, then had worked in Maintenance Control pushing paperwork for a year, then on the Aircraft Wash Crew for almost another year before being transferred to the Electrical Shop. I had been in the Electrical Shop a total of 1 month before I was told to install an aircraft generator, which weighed 50 lbs.

The thing is, the ONLY way to install that generator in the belly of the aircraft was to hold it OVER YOUR HEAD, while stepping onto a rickety wooden step ladder. At the time, my arms were not strong enough to hold it over my head for as long as it would take to get the part to where it had to go. So I struggled for a full 20 minutes, trying to find a way to get it up there without holding it over my head. I finally had to give up, because there just wasn’t enough room to maneuver. But in the process, I felt a sharp pain stab my abdomen.

At the time, I blew it off to just being me using some muscles that weren’t used to being used, and figured it would eventually go away.

The pain itself DID go away, but a week later, my uterus was literally dragging on my underwear as I walked.

Okay, my job involved climbing all over military aircraft. It wasn’t really painful, but it WAS uncomfortable and frightening, so I went to the doctor.

The doctor did a pap smear, which came back Stage 1 Abnormal. Gee, I wonder why? heh

My choices at that time were: (1) have my uterus and rectum put back into place (repaired), in which case there was no guarantee that it would never fall down again; (2) leave it like it was, meaning that I would most likely have to leave a $13.10/hr job with excellent insurance and go back to working at minimum wage as a single mom; or (3) let them remove my uterus and repair the rectocele.

That was THE hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my entire life.

Even though there was no man in my life at the time, I had been hoping to eventually find someone and have more children. But I also NEEDED to keep the job I had, so that I could provide for the one child I already had. There was also uncertainty about the pap smear results.

So I let them take my uterus.

I have suffered from horrible “severe, longterm depression” ever since, and after 20 years, I am STILL “single”. After all, the way I saw it…through the skewed eyes of deep depression…was that “no man would ever want me, since I could not give him a child.” I was 29 when I had the partial hysterectomy and rectocele. I lost the job anyway a year later, when the contract with the Navy came up for renewal and Lockheed lost the bid.

I did not have a loving, supportive husband to help me get through it. But then, my case was not as life-threatening and painful as Allison’s.

As for my mother, she had always been a “bleeder” during her periods, and had to spend much of her pregnancies in bed. After I was born (she was 42 by then), they had to remove her uterus to stop the bleeding. As she got older and developed Type 2 Diabetes, her bladder became enlarged and shifted, and threatened to fall out of her, but she refused to have surgery to correct it. Unfortunately, SOME women are just born without the natural elasticity that’s supposed to put everything back into place after childbirth. Others lose that elasticity due to poor food choices and lack of the right kinds of exercise. Just something to think about.


Mom of two November 12, 2009, 12:39 PM

Thankfully, I noticed a vaginal prolapse early on, but many women don’t realize that urinary leakage is not “normal” years after you give birth - I had torn some muscles during delivery that were not detected and repaired and now have to do physical therapy exercises at least every other day to avoid wearing Depends.

Victoria November 13, 2009, 12:10 PM

So obviously there was no sex in her life for a few years….I mean if that was going on she might have been warned way faster that SOMETHING dire was wrong.

massageamom November 15, 2009, 8:28 PM

75% of women wind up with some sort of urinary incontinence down the road mostly due to childbirth, worst case scenario uterine or bladder prolapse. please read my article The New Vagina Monologue at massageamom.com. We need to take health care reform to a new level by knowing how to take better care of ourselves.

Kathy  November 16, 2009, 7:08 AM

I am so sorry you have had to go through this! Your body was literally quitting on you, it sounds like. When I had my first child at the age of 19, I was walking to work, 2 miles away, 4 days after I had him. I felt something fall, down there. Went to the doctor and she said my uterus or vagina fell and to do bed rest for a week. I had never heard of this before. Thank goodness, I never had any more problems after that but I was interested in your story after seeing the title of it due to my past “familiar” experience.
I’m glad you are able to share your story which means you are doing well.

RyRy November 16, 2009, 8:30 AM

Post Pictures!!!!

Before and after!

Anonymous November 21, 2009, 5:22 PM

HEEEEEE HEEEEEE

Anonymous December 11, 2009, 6:58 PM

You said it was a year before you found out your uterus had prolapsed. I’m wondering, did you not have sex in that year? How did your husband not know something was wrong? That part seemed odd to me?

Mike Oxsmall December 27, 2009, 2:22 AM

I came.

Alicia December 31, 2009, 9:40 AM

Same thing happened to my two year old daughter. Most doctors do not know about this condition. I cried over 6 months trying to understand what was happening to my daughter. They (doctors)even tried to bring me up on charges. One doctor at Children’s Hospital (Oakland) knew what was happening to my daughter. Surgery…fixed this problem. My daughter is 13 yrs. old now and have not any problems since. She even remember wearing pads when she was two. I did ask the doctor if constipation was the reason and he said no. My daughter was constipated for some time. Doctor don’t know everything…that’s why they call it practice. My daughter is a healthy young teen now…just have to keep an eye on constipation…she still have this problem from time to time.

tracey childers January 5, 2010, 8:16 PM

What the hell is wrong with you? You feel something poking out of your vagina and you don’t immediately go the doctor? What a moron. And you have the balls to post a photo of yourself so everyone will know who you are and be aware of not to touch you with a 10-foot pole. You are so stupid that you deserve to have your arse fall out.

Jen January 15, 2010, 7:38 AM

Can you still have sex after that or is your vagina irreprably too sensative and weak?

nicole January 21, 2010, 2:12 PM

There are woman in Africa and other poor areas that deal with what you went through daily yet they don’t receive surgury or any medical help for that matter! What is rare here in the US is common everywhere else and a joke to some here. All those who laughed at this horrindous story you would not laugh if it were you!

Rosa Lynn Akins January 29, 2010, 1:53 AM

That is so amazing that you survived all that. Thankyou for sharing your story. I am sure it will help lots of woman. It is very kind of you to share such a personal story to help others.

anonymous February 9, 2010, 7:08 AM

thats soo odd!
i hate discharge!

Blueiris February 12, 2010, 5:27 PM

Honey, your remark about having a “13 year old’s vagina” is not only creepy but wrong. VAGINAS are MUSCLES. They go back to their original shape no matter how many dicks have penetrated them. Thanks for continuing that myth.

Hannah March 21, 2010, 1:36 AM

You must have Kaiser…

Me-Mo March 25, 2010, 10:46 PM

All Labia are Perfect.
Women have enough insecurities about their labia,with out hearing someone having a stupid labioplasty and then saying they have perfect labia now.I’m sorry you went through all you did,and I’m glad you are getting healthy and sharing your story so other women will get help if they think something isn’t quite right.But saying you have perfect labia now,can add to aoung women’s insecurities,causing them to consider an unnessary surgery.And as you said it was extremely painful.So ladies rember,your labia are beautieful just as they are.Don’t let anyone convince you that they aren’t.

Scared April 21, 2010, 4:39 PM

This makes me not want to have children anymore.

acai maxx May 8, 2010, 11:38 PM

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