Read about a mom of twins who had uterine prolapse surgery to treat a diagnosis of uterovaginal prolapse and stress incontinence.
I’ll never forget the Saturday morning where my oldest son and three-year-old twins where watching cartoons. I was expressing frustration because one of the twins had an accident where he peed his pants. All of a sudden, I sneezed and looked down. I too had an accident. My son looked at me confused and asked, “Mommy, did you just pee your pants”? And I replied yes.
Suffering for Too Long
After my first child, I never really felt too different down below, but after delivering my twins, something just didn’t seem right. I remember going to my gynecologist for my yearly exam when my twins were two and bringing up to her that I was urinating a little when I sneezed and jumped. I admitted to her that there were a few times I had full-blown accidents. Certain pelvic exercises didn’t feel normal. I had this constant pressure sensation in my pelvis and at times I could swear my insides were falling out.
I was told, “Go do some Kegels and don’t worry about it”. I remember feeling completely blown off and angry. Here I am at age 35 and already experiencing incontinence! It took a lot of courage for me to bring this up to her and I left feeling defeated.
Needless to say, things didn’t improve. I did my Kegels, I did Pilates and even hired a personal trainer to help strengthen my pelvic floor. Nothing seemed to work.
I started to plan my entire life around toilets. If we were going to be in the car for a long time, I would refuse to drink because I didn’t want to have to stop a million times. I no longer enjoyed going out for walks or being outdoors because I was fearful of having an accident.
I started having more UTI and bladder infections as well. Something just didn’t seem right, but I learned to accept my new normal since my OBGYN didn’t seem concerned.
One day while at work, I happened to pass an office that said Women’s Center for Pelvic Health. Out of curiosity, I Googled the office and learned it was an office where I could see a urogynecologist. I continued to read and learned that a urogynecologist is a physician that is trained in urology and gynecology. I immediately called and made an appointment. A few weeks later, I met the first doctor who actually listened to me.
Finally a Diagnosis
I arrived for my appointment which was definitely intense. The doctor, who I will call Dr. Z, did a pelvic exam with me lying down and standing up. She had me cough and push down like I was having a bowel movement. It was definitely embarrassing, but she did her best to keep me comfortable.
After the exam, she completed her assessment by asking a lot of personal and detailed questions. She brought me to her office and discussed her findings. I was also able to talk with her about my 15-year battle with endometriosis, which was a fight I was losing (and I could write an entirely different article on.)
We spent over 45 minutes talking and she listened closely. At one point, I broke down and started to cry because, for the first time in years, I felt safe and validated. Finally, someone heard me! I was diagnosed with uterovaginal prolapse and stress incontinence.
Uterine prolapse occurs when pelvic floor muscles and ligaments stretch and weaken and no longer provide enough support for the uterus. As a result, the uterus slips down into or protrudes out of the vagina.Mayo Clinic
Learning About Uterine Prolapse Surgery
A few weeks later, I had to return and complete an additional test called a urodynamic study. This was another unpleasant test that involves a catheter and filling up your bladder with fluid to confirm the incontinence. Let’s just say it was indeed confirmed. We proceeded to schedule uterine prolapse surgery, which included a hysterectomy (after our detailed endometriosis conversation), a uterosacral ligament suspension repair, rectocele urethropexy, and a cystoscopy salpingectomy. Dr. Z told me to enjoy my summer and, once fall arrived, relief would be on the way.
Over the summer and even a few weeks before surgery, I started to panic. I made the mistake of joining too many Facebook groups that shared post-surgery horror stories of uterine prolapse surgery which caused my anxiety to skyrocket. I went back and forth, trying to convince myself that I’ve lived with this pain and discomfort for years, couldn’t I wait a little longer? Maybe I am overreacting…
Pre-op for Uterine Prolapse Surgery
My pre-op appointment arrived, and I met with the nurse practitioner. She reviewed all of the procedures and I was honest about my internet searching and anxiety. The NP responded with nothing but compassion and respect. I left the office feeling confident and ready.
November 13, 2019: I had my uterine prolapse surgery and will for the rest of my life be thankful for Dr. Z. It’s been a hard recovery and I still have a way to go, but I woke up and my chronic lower left pelvic pain was gone.
I ended up having endocervical polyps, adenomyosis, and cysts as well, which was part of the reason I was in so much pain. After the catheter was removed, I immediately felt different. The pressure feeling in my pelvic area was gone, and I no longer had to run to the bathroom the moment I felt the urge. I can’t put into words what a relief that is. My quality of life just got a million times better.
Don't Hesitate to Get a Second Opinion
This is a very personal article and I’m feeling a little intimidated putting this out for the world to see, but I hope that this encourages one person to reach out for help if they’ve experienced anything like I had in the past. I hope that women have more open conversations about our bodies after children and that there is nothing to be ashamed of.
And finally, to all of the doctors and nurses out there who help women with diagnosis like myself, thank you.
Megan Cannone is a military wife, mother of 3-year-old twins and a 5-year-old. Megan currently lives in Maryland and works as a social worker part-time in Oncology. In her spare time, Megan enjoys going to the gym, kissing dogs, spending time with family and friends.
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