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Bowel Disorders Message Board


Bowel Disorders Board Index


JouJou, Kelley, Mindy, DRKJR and everyone else,
Sorry for getting off topic in the original thread. That was my fault. I started another thread elsewhere.

Jou Jou,
How are you doing? Are you feeling better after your surgery? How is eating and what are you eating to help with your movements? I am curious what to expect in that aspect?
Lisa
No problem Lisa, This thread is no way done with 3 more people needing surgery.
Jou Jou,

Glad your doing better. I know it is hard to have a big gaping wound, but it will heal up. I start work on Thursday. I am ready to get out of the house and have some adult time! I am feeling pretty good. I had a sore BM today, a little harder than usual, need to get to the store for more fruit! Hang in there! You will be back to yourself in no time.
Kelley
Kelley and JJ,
What kind of diet change have you had to adjust too? I know i will be on a liquid diet but you both have mentioned high fiber. What is your diet like now? Any major restrictions?
Kelley, I was wondering if you had started back to work. Good luck tomorrow. I hope you will not be too worn out. My mental outlook is improved, but the wound opening has increased my pain, so I am back to taking Darvocet about twice daily. My diet is currently a regular diet, plus fiber supplement (Benefiber) in the morning. I am having very frequent, unformed stools, so I am NOT taking stool softeners. I will return to those if my bms ever firm up or begin to get hard. My bm pattern right now is nothing like what it was before, and I hope it will not stay like this. I was NPO for 4 days and on a liquid diet for 3-4 days, followed by just a couple of days of "soft, bland" diet. I believe that Kelley had a different progression with her diet and will be in a better position to give us info about any long term modifications she will need to continue. My understanding is that, following wound recovery and a return to "normal" bms, the right diet will contain ~25 gm fiber daily. Kelley, I tried the FiberOne bars before surgery-not my favorite but tolerable, and good for 9-10 gm fiber! Thanks for the tip. Edamane peas are another good source of fiber. JJ
Lisa and JJ,

My diet following surgery was a clear liquid (broth, tea, juice, water, jello, italian ice--YUK!!) for 2 1/2 weeks, then a full liquid for a week (creamy soups, oatmeal, applesauce, pudding BETTER!) then a high fiber regular diet. I take Benefiber everyday. I used to take 1 tsp twice daily, but found I was missing and becoming non-compliant on my evening dose, so now I take 2 tsps every morning. I also drink a cup of coffee in the morning with my fiber and have had only 1 Bm everyday now first thing in the morning since starting this routine. We will all probably need to be on a fiber supplement for the rest of our lives. I am actually more regulated and feel better since taking it. I eat a lot of veggies, fruit, and pretty much anything I want to now. I have good soft formed Bm's with this. The only issue I have since my surgery is flat, ribbon like stools that come in a lot of pieces (sorry for the graphic mental picture) When I told my doctor, he said I will probably always have stools that look like this because that is the shape of my "outlet" now since surgery (I love that term! :) I am not overly concerned. I just wondered if they would ever bulk up more because they are relatively small (nickel sized in diameter) My only other complaint is that my "hole" for lack of any other term is still not closed! Every time I get the mirror, I think it will be all healed, and it seems to be stalled in the process. My dr. said it just keeps ripping open when I walk so it is taking a long time. It is only the outer skin layer left--Oh well, if that is all I have to deal with that's ok. Hope everyone is well.

Lisa, the main thing with the diet is to go slow and be careful in the beginning. The pain pills constipate you, and after being without regular food for so long, it takes your bowels a while to "wake up" and get regulated properly, I had 3 episodes of slight uncomfortable impactions in the first couple weeks, but have been fine since. I was not very good with my diet yesterday and went and found I bled a little. It is a life-long change for us, but one that is well worth it!

JJ,

I know your stools are soft and have been loose, but how is your control? Are you seing any difference yet? I think around 4 weeks, I started to see a real improvement.
Take care everyone,
Kelley :wave:
Kelley,

I am holding onto your words about the 4 week mark. My stools have gotten firmer and occur usually twice daily, which is much more frequent than before the surgery. Like yours, my stools are narrow and ribbon-like, though mine are round, not flat. I am not sure that I can completely control them. I am always at home, a few feet from the toilet, so I haven't really tested myself, but sometimes the pressure seems to be more than the ability to hold it in, and there will be a small amount of bm already there when I get to the bathroom. On the other hand, I haven't had any completely out of control accidents since the first few days following surgery. I am hopeful. Right now the worst thing is the open incision. It seems to be getting worse/longer along the incision line. I am trying to take it easy until my dr appt on Monday. What do you think I can expect to see with this incision over the next week or so? I so want to get up a bit more without worrying about it coming apart. Is it ever necessary to have skin grafts down there? How was your return to work? Did you feel up to speed and full strength? Thank you for hanging in there with those of us who still need so much encouragement and support. I would also like to share information about food products and fiber sources. JJ
Hi JJ,
How much are you doing at this point? Are you resting or trying to do things around the house? I am trying to judge what to expect with 'bed rest' and taking it easy. Do you think you opened up due to doing too much or it is inevitable?

Kelley,
Let us know how returing to work went.
Lisa
Hi,

I thought I would add my input for what it's worth since I have been on this board for years. I have kept up with and been reading all the posts.

Being a male I have not had the same problems recovering but some related ones --I have had hemorrhoid surgery and looking at your anus with all the stitches is an area that you don't want to mess with until it is healed. And, 5 years ago I had-- 2 1/2 feet of my colon removed because of chronic diverticular bleeding and literally lost half my blood before surgery. Recovery was not easy because 4 inches of my abdomen incision came loose and it has to heal from the inside out.

I have been taking psyllium-- a water soluble fiber supplement for 23 years -- I started with Metamucil but now use the Equate brand from Wal Mart -- orange flavored & sugarfree. Natrual fiber are broken down with digestion-- so it does ferment and produce gas --Benefiber that Kelley takes should do the same since it it guar gum and a natrual soluble fiber.
I have found that with any natual fiber that you take -- it will produce gas until your intestines gets use to it. So, start off slowly with any change in your diet.
It may help to do a search on--- Controlling Intestinal Gas-- there are many sites available about the do's and don't about gas.

The thing that makes a stool soft is the amount of water/fluid it absorbs and that is only done with soluble type fiber. Soluble fiber is the inner part of all grains, beans and peas. Also, root veggies like potatos including sweet potatos, carrots, beets, and turnips, And of course soluble fiber supplements. So, the selection is not alot!!

Insoluble fiber is the type fiber that causes muscles contractions and moves digested food through your intestines. All fruit and veggies are almost totally insoluble, all nuts & seeds. The outer part of grains is bran and is included in alot of cereals. Fibercon is considered an insoluble fiber supplement.

To have normal stools -- you need a combination of both type of fiber.

I have taken stool softeners and I don't like them because they make your stool too pasty and it takes too much cleaning in an area that is best left alone as much as possible until the healing is better.

All PAIN medications causes constipation to some extent. So, the less you take the better off your recovery will be but if you absolutely need it -- take it. Also, drink enough water --your body is made up of 70% water and nothing works without it -- including your intestines.

Kelley -- I don't know how you have time to work with 3 children 5 yo and less-- but how did you make out today-- at least it's Friday!!

I wish you all Well --- Harry
Hi Lisa and JJ,

Work was good last night. I was tired....It's hard being up at the crack of dawn with 3 kids, and then up working until midnight, and not in bed until around 1 am and asleep at 2 am just to do it all again. I am sort of down because I also have an autoimmune disorder (possible lupus) and that has been bothering me a lot lately. I also seem to keep ripping myself open at the small unhealed spot near my rectum. It has become frustrating. I was playing with my 1 year old yesterday, and made a fast move chasing him (a little) on my hands and knees, and I instantly felt a twinge of pain. The last little spot just will not heal. Now I am sore again, and it is slightly uncomfortable sitting. I just want it to close up. I want to resume intimacy with my husband and am scared to death of doing more harm, plus the scar tissue on the perineal incision still hurts. I don't know if that spot needs to be cauterized again or what. I am on the verge of feeling "normal" if this wound would just leave me alone and close up! On a lighter note, I do enjoy my job and it was nice to see my friends and get away from my darling little children. I have an appt with a new dr. for my autoimmune problems, so hopefully I can get that under control and start feeling better in that aspect. I vowed that 2007 would be the year I took care of myself and I am on my way!! Take care everyone,
Kelley
Harry,

Thanks for your wonderful insight and wisdom. I also have read a lot of your posts including your sticky thread. It has been very helpful with the whole bm and fiber department. You have a wealth of knowledge, and it is wonderful for you to share it all with everyone on this board.

Jou Jou,

The wound was and has been the hardest problem for me to deal with also. Unfortunately, you cannot stay in bed forever. Around 3 weeks, I started to do more-- being careful with bending, picking up heavy objects, and straining too much. I really didn't sit very much at all for what seemed like forever because my wound just hurt :mad: The sitz baths really help with the healing. The warm hydrotherapy is also used to heal burn victims wounds and it really will speed things up. I always soaked in very warm water for 30 mins 4 times a day. Keeping as clean as possible is also key. Drainage breaks down the skin more, so keeping the area dry and clean is important. You are doing everything right. I do think that the dehiscing is inevitable in this type of surgery. My surgeon told me until he was blue in the face that it would heal, and it has Except this bothersome last little bit. As far as diet, I eat a bowl of raison bran, oatmeal, or shredded wheat every am, activia yogurt, 1 or 2 fiber one snack granola bars, 2 tsp benefiber, and fruit, veggies amd meat or fish. I pretty much have consistantly soft bowel movements as long as I do the raison bran or high fiber cereal. I also snack on raisons, dried fruit, and prunes. I also had 2 bm's per day until about 2 mos or so, now I have 1 per day in the morning I don't have the horrible leaking gas issues anymore. I think as Harry said, it was my body getting used to the increased fiber. I have found that I can hold my gas in most of the time now also. For a while, It was aweful and very embarrasing. Its a good thing my husband thought it was funny :) Glad to hear you are doing better, keep up the good work at healing!
Kelley
Hello All,

Harry, thanks for the input. I am going to follow your suggestion of doing more research on controlling intestinal gas. More information is better than less!

Kelley, I'm glad that your return to work was ok. Of course, you are tired. You seem to have such a consistently positive attitude; I'm sure that that goes a long way in helping you return to normal as well as deal with the auto immune issue. Do you think the auto immune problem affected your recovery from surgery, at all? Thank you for the reminder about drainage breaking down the skin. I am using gauze to absorb the drainage, and I am now going to be even more vigilant. You have become my role model, of sorts. I tell myself, "If Kelley healed enough to return to work, so will I". Some of the tissue surrounding the incision itches at times. Did you experience that? I am trying a little Boudreaux's Butt Paste around the area (not on the incision itself) to try for a little relief. I am not yet prepared to tackle a high fiber diet, I don't think. The thought of a bulky stool is very scary right now. I will definitely ask the dr on Mon how quickly he thinks I should proceed with adding high fiber sources. Thank you again for all your encouragement. I am praying for your last open area to heal and that you soon break through that verge to full fledged normalcy! At this point, can you pick up and carry your children? My youngest is about 35 pounds. I hope you quickly resume your full strength and energy for work!

Lisa, I think the incision opening was just inevitable, as I was literally doing NOTHING except turning in bed and getting up for the shower or bathroom. I did have dry heaves on the first day that I got out of bed, and that is very stressful on every know and unknown muscle everywhere. For the first week following surgery, the whole area from anus to vagina was horribly bruised, swollen, and impossible to really see what was happening. When the swelling subsided slightly, there appeared a gooey, yellowish area along part of the incision line. The next day, that was gone, but instead there was a deep gaping gash. Now, at 2 1/2 weeks, the gooey yellow stuff has appeared again further down the incision line. The open incision is extremely sore and does drain a fair amount. As for bed rest, please plan to get help for the first 2-3 weeks following surgery. You will need it! Thank God that my mother and mother in law have taken turns helping us. They do the laundry, cooking, and driving the kids to school and activities. I am sick of being in bed but more worried about prolonging the recovery time. When I asked the dr how to prevent more of the incision from opening, his only recommedation was "take it easy". After my appt this coming Mon, I am hoping to get up and begin to do more around the house. I cannot sit at all. I hope this helps you prepare for what may be a similar experience. I also experienced some short-lived but very discouraging depression immediately following the surgery and return home. Preparing mentally for what can only be described as a tough (initial) recovery might help. Good luck! JJ
Hi Jou Jou,

Yes, I definitely have experienced a lot of itching. As the stitches heal, it causes them to become very itchy. The drainage can also cause severe itching. I found myself waking up at night with a lot of itching. I really didn't use anything for it. I remember severe itchiness when my internal rectal stitches were starting to heal. I still have this going on even now. My son is about 24 pounds, and my lifting restrictions were lifted at 5 weeks (I think only because my Dr. knew how hard it was to not lift my sweet little boy!) I didn't lift my 36 pound daughter until probably 8 weeks or so. I spent a lot of time cuddling with her- her climbing to me instead. As far as your opening goes, mine pretty much "stabilized" a few days after the initial tear. It got bigger over the course of a few days, and then pretty much stayed the same. Soon after, It started healing up. It will granulate from the inside out. Basically, it should look "beefy red". You will start to see some healing soon. I looked at it every day with the mirror to make sure I wasn't doing more harm. The yellowish stuff will come and go--it is just drainage. I don't think the lupus had anything to do with the healing really. The problem is that stress makes the lupus flare, so the stress from the surgery and recovery has been hard. I also was going to begin immunosuppressive therapy but couldn't until after the surgery because that would have caused major problems with the healing. My surgeon said I am far enough along in the healing process that I can go on the immunosuppresants now to get some relief. My appt with the rheumatologist is monday, so we will see. If I can get this under control, I will truly feel like a new person. I feel like God only gives you what you can handle. Just go slow with your diet. You should start adding in protein soon, because it will help with your healing. I also drank tons of water and that helps with the bowels. If you ever feel like you are getting stopped up, Take a little milk of mag. It helped me tremendously, and didn't seem to give me diarhea at all. I think it is normal to have some ups and downs with getting your gut working normally. Just listen to your body. It will also help when your up and around walking more. (The nurse in me is coming out!) The 3 worst things for your digestive tract are immobility, narcotic medications, and surgery/anesthesia. As you wean off the meds, get some light walking and exercise in, and start eating, everything will start working better. Hang in there, your doing great! I re-opened my wound pretty good in a new spot :dizzy: I am back to trying to get this thing closed. My husband wants me to put neosporin on it???? I don't know. Talk to you soon.
Kelley
Hello all,

Well, I had my mother (a retired RN) look at the incision today (talk about retreating to childhood, having mommy check my butt), and she seemed to think the goopy part was "granulating tissue", YAY! Another appt tomorrow will give me a better gauge of my progress. The forward most part of the incision (near my vagina) is just a deep open gaping gash, the edges aren't together; I am still most concerned about it. Plus, after a tour through some of the other threads, I am becoming concerned (paranoid? hypochondriacal? God, save me from that!) about my bms. They are regular and soft, but not bulky. They continue to be narrow, ribbon-like, and very long. It's like playdough being extruded through a shaping tool. Is anal stenosis a likely complication from this surgery? Should I be trying to encourage a bulky stool? I will do it if that will prevent long term consequences, although the thought of a bulky stool is scary. Also, some of the other posts mentioned "self-propelling" stools. What actually is that? On most of my trips to the bathroom (for a bm), there is some urgency involved, yet I still have to deliberately empty my bowels. I am not talking about severe straining, just "normal" pushing to evacuate? Does this seem on target? What is the right balance between being able to hold in stool (I sometimes can and sometimes can't still) and not having to push too hard to get it out? I am now at 2 1/2 weeks post-op. Kelley, did you have control at this point? And what were your bms like then, if you don't mind me asking? I am feeling better and more encouraged about some things and more worried and anxious about others. One thing I am sure of, that this surgery, as tough as it is, doesn't seem nearly as horrible as what some on this board have experienced! I am earnestly praying for all of us who are supporting each other through this. Thanks again for the responses and support. JJ
JJ,

Your stools sound exactly like how mine have been and how they are now. The playdough explanations was right on target. When I talked to my dr, he said that was normal and probably would be how they will stay. I take the fiber, eat a good diet, and this is just how my stool is. It is the least of my worries as long as I can hold them in. He said the outlet has been re-shaped and the stool is the shape of the outlet. Let me know if your dr. sais anything different, I would love to know. My dr. in the beginning didn't want to use stool softeners due to the risk of anal stenosis, and he just didn't think it was needed. I would relax, I think your doing great. I didn't have an issue with the vaginal area opening up--mine was just the rectal area. It is opened up again and bleeding with BM's now--UGH! I remember testing myself a little at about 3 weeks or so, and feeling like I I had a little control, but I could see a big difference at 4 weeks. I also pretty much always had to push to have a bm. When I started on solid food, I become impacted 3 times (severe bloating, stomach ache, fullness) and pushed so hard to have a bm that I swore I was going to rip the entire surgery apart. This didn't happen. I became scared and waited patiently for the milk of mag to work, walked around a lot, and drank a lot of water. I also backed off of eating. ( my worry is pushing too hard and developing a fissure) My bm's only fell out in the first few days. Ever since, they are sort of like tooth paste in long strands. I think they are as bulky as they can be taking into account the outlet size. Hope this gross info helps you;) Take care,
Kelley
Hey girls!
Hang in there Jou Jou! You sound like you are on track and I can't believe it has already been two weeks. I am praying for you and just keep thinking of the life you will have this summer. I will need you this summer when I have my surgery.

Uggh, I am so nervous and was starting to rethink it more. But I am determined to go through with it. I tried to go walking at the mall with my husband this weekend and I kept thinking my son had an accident because I was smelling something. I kept checking his diaper and nothing. When i went to the bathroom, I realized it was me! Oh how horrible I felt. After this weekend, I was so mad that I am going through with the surgery. Not being able to walk around the mall with my family was so depressing. We had to leave so I could go home and clean up. I can't wait to get past it all!

JJ and Kelley,
What are stairs like for you both? When i get home from surgery, I have about 15 stairs to walk up in my house. My husband was asking me how we are going to get me upstairs? Will I be able to walk up them slowly after one week? Should I consider staying in our downstairs guest room for a few weeks? What were/is your experiences?
Hi Lisa,

I have to say, we all have probably been through the same humiliating experience. Keep positive, this is fixable! I don't think you will have a problem with the stairs at all. You just need to go slow. My house also has a lot of stairs. Once up, I stayed there for about 2 1/2 weeks, Then made sure I went slowly up and down. You will be fine. Like we are seeing with Jou Jou, and myself, the dehiscing of the incision is the biggest inevitable worry, and the hardest part of this surgery to deal with. I put a call in to my colo-rectal surgeon this morning who I fired a couple weeks ago :) (I wasn't supposed to have to see him again) about my wound that has re-opened because I was chasing my 1 year old around and playing! So frustrating. I am in mild discomfort again, and think it needs to be cauterized again. It is bleeding with Bm's, and I am so tired of it! I actually want to have sex again, and I don't feel like I can until this is totally healed. Keep positive, Your surgery will be here before you know it.
Hugs and prayers,
Kelley
Hi all,

I have not tackled the stairs yet. My kids' rooms upstairs are probably a disaster!! But I am letting it all go for awhile more. I do feel that I COULD go upstairs if necessary, taking it slow and gentle. I am finding that as I feel slowly better, I sometimes move less than gingerly. MISTAKE! I am trying to force myself into slow motion movements because the slightest stretching (and this can happen even just turning over in bed) is both painful and scary. Lisa, I think that is what finally prompted me to have this surgery; just one last, too many times of leaking bms. I am hopeful for the future, but I do not yet have full control over the bms. The sensation to go now comes on much stronger than before the surgery, and though I don't completely lose control before making it to the bathroom, there is usually a bit already there when I get to the toilet. I hope this is temporary!! I am definitely not ready to leave home and put anything to the test yet. I was hoping to make it to church for Easter, but I don't think I will try it. Between not being able to sit at all and not being in full control, I am home bound for awhile longer. I have another follow up appt this afternoon; I'll let you know how it goes. I must say, that I wasn't sure at all if I would make it through this ordeal just a short while ago. What a difference a week or two makes! You ladies needing this will get through it! One difference between my experience and Kelley's (I think I read this in one of her previous posts): this has been much more painful and limiting for me than recovering from childbirth, even the one that caused my problems. On the other hand, there is no little angel waking me every hour or chewing my nipples to bits! Let's keep talking; I know it is helpful for me! Kelley, how did you manage your periods during all this? The idea of using a tampon isn't very appealing (that whole perineal area is still traumatized), but neither is the idea of yucky discharge. Yuck, Yuck, Yuck! JJ
Jou Jou,

I just got over my second period. It has been gross to say the least. I have not done tampons at all. The discharge made the itching almost unbearable! My little open wound seems so much more irritated since having my period. It was not pleasant. My last period was very small, and late (I think the surgery and stress caused the delay) and I was still using the gauze between the cheeks at that time, so the discharge was wicked away more. This time, the moisture was a real problem. I changed the pad constantly to stay dry and even showered off several times during the day to relieve the itchiness. I made an appt with my ob/gyn for Wednesday to have him look everything over and give me some "sex" suggestions. I don't know why, but I feel much more comfortable with my OB talking about sex than the colo rectal surgeon. I am hoping he can help me and give some suggestions about the scar tissue. I almost want to have a couple stitches put in this little hole to make it go away :( I will let you know how things go. Please ask your dr. about the ribbon like stools for me also! Thanks
Kelley
Okay Kelley, Clearly, the whole period thing will just have to be endured. My dr. said that he would like my bms to more normal in bulk. The words he used were a "soft, fluffy bm". "Fluffy??????" He suggested that I experiment with the amount of fiber supplement and my diet to increase the bulk, and he reassured me that if I have an increase in bulk, my rectum won't tear open when I pass it. Soooo, I'll start tomorrow with a change up in my diet; I don't just what yet...More later. JJ
Hi Ladies,

I am new to the discussion, but the issues are not new to me. I had a sphincteroplasty 14 months ago in Feb 06. I delivered a beautiful baby boy 4 months before my surgery. I sustained a 4th degree tear, but I also had the horror of dealing with a rectal vaginal fistula too. In case you don't know what that is, it is a small tunnel (hole) between your rectum and vagina. So you pass stool and gas through the vagina. Not pleasant to say the least. I was devastated and depressed. The sphincteroplasty along with perineum reconstruction was supposed to heal the fistula and fix the defect in my external sphincter muscle. It has been a long road to healing, but I feel pretty much normal now. The fistula reoccured, but it is pretty small now. It still drives me crazy and I have to figure out next steps. As far as healing from the surgery, it took a good year. I also had the incision site break down and had an open wound. I thought too that it would never heal, but it did. Hang in there! I was very diligent about keeping the area clean by taking a bath a few times a day and keeping lots of gauze in there. My surgeon said because the area is so moist, it is hard to heal. I believe it took about 3 months to totally heal.

After surgery, I had lots of urgency problems too and even had
gas escape from time to time. I started biofeedback 7 months after surgery, although you can start a lot earlier than that. I would highly recommend this as it is just a tool to show you how to do kegels the correct way. It really helped make the muscle stronger and more flexible. The urgency has gotten alot better and I can hold my bm's pretty well. Although, I don't try to hold it like I did before the trauma. Just in the last week I have had gas escape for the first time in months, which is disheartening. I talked to my surgeon about this and she told me that my internal sphincter muscle still has a small defect and this could be why I have trouble with gas. Arghh! The gas is only a problem if it is a lot and preceeds a bowel movement.

My surgeon also told me not to worry so much about control because if I start to have a lot of problems that Sacral Nerve Stimulation is a promising new procedure that has low risk, is minimumly invasive, and has a high success rate. Has anyone's dr. mentioned this?

Overall, I am glad I had the surgery. It was difficult to get through and took a lot of patience to let my body heal at it's own rate. You'll get there too but you have to let time pass. I have been through 2 other surgeries (a c-section and a bowel resection in 1999) and I have learned that time is your best friend for mental as well as physical healing.
robyns686,

Thank you for your input and sharing your story. It has been 11 weeks for me since my surgery. I still have a small wound present that I am trying to get healed up. My bm's are pretty much normal (for me) now. They are painfree, and I have had absolutely no leakage problems since about 2 weeks post op. I have tested myself pretty extensively, and am very happy with my results. I do have occasional gas issues, but after what I have been through, it really doesn't bother me. I have been finding lately from others on this board, and another person that I met, that there success has not been as good as mine. I had a huge defect to begin with (over 1/2 of my internal and external muscle was completely torn away, plus unilateral nerve damage) To say the least, I am thrilled with my results and hope others can gain the same success that I have. This is just not a worry for me any longer. My dr. said that there are artificial sphincters being made right now, and a lot of cutting edge technology in this field. They are actually growing sphincters in petri dishes! I hope to never have to deal with this issue again, but if I do, it is nice to know there may be better, newer procedures out there. This is definitely been a tough recovery period. (my family and friends say that I am in no way a good judge of pain tolerance--I had 3 children without a drop of pain meds and no epidural) When I do complain, my family knows it is pretty bad. I guess living with a daily, chronic, painful disease doesn't help) (Lupus) I have just learned to deal with my daily pain. I did take a lot of painkillers during this recovery. I feel like I lived on Percoset for 2 mos! Hang in there everyone!
Kelley
robyns686
Where did you have your surgery? Which Dr did you use and did you like them? I am scheduled for my surgery on May 21 in Minneapolis in MN with Dr. Mellgren at the Pelvic Floor Center. Do you know anything about this facility or Dr in your area?
Hello Ladies,
I had my tests (ultrasound and mamometry) last Tuesday and needless to say, I have yet to hear from my Dr. to go over the test results. I am very anxious and frustrated and I want to see what needs to be done. Am I being too impatient? :dizzy: I know things take time, but it has been a week. I called last Thursday and they said they would give my message to her nurse, and I still have not had a call back.

Kelley and JJ,
It is good to hear you are both getting better. It has been quite a recovery process and I have to say I am scared to death, but I also know I can't live with this the rest of my life. I am only 41 with two great boys and a husband, and I am way to young to be bothered by this.

Kelley,
One more question. Did you lose alot of weight in the beginning with the liquid diet and your food intake?

Thanks girls for listening. Hopefully I will have some more news soon.
Mindy :wave:
Hi Mindy,
Good to hear you had your tests done. I had my results right after the tests that day with a consultation. I don't know why they would make you wait so long. But i know what it is like to wait for such a thing as medical tests. Hang in there. I would call again...but that is me. I call until I get the results. I am very impatient. I hope your results are positive and shed light on your issues. Let us know what they say.
Lisa
Declansmom- I went to the Pelvic Floor Institute too. I was very impressed. It was stared by Dr. Susan Parker, but she is no longer there. They were very patient and caring and extremely thorough. My surgeon was Dr. Spencer, who was fabulous. I don't know Dr. Mellgren, but he is part of the same group of surgeons as Dr. Spencer and they are all excellent. I would stay away from Dr. Goldberg because he has a very rough bedside manner. I just started seeing Dr. Ann Lowry because of the fistula problem and she comes very highly recommend by a few professionals that I have talked to. You are in good hands there. When you go in for your tests, there will be a Dr. there to let you know some of the results and for a consultation. I talked to Dr. Parker, but like I said she is no longer there. They gave me plenty of time for discussion. Ask lots of questions!
robyns686,
Thank you so much for replying. I had my tests done there in Feb and loved them compared to the healthcare here in KC. I am traveling up there in May again to have them do the surgery. I feel so much better hearing from you and knowing i made the right decision to go up there again for surgery. I was second guessing myself since it will be an 8 hour drive, but after hearing from everyone on this site, it is better to have it done right the first time.
Any advice for when I go? I will see Dr Mellgren and Dr Spencer.
declansmom- sorry, I didn't realize you already had the tests done. It 's hard to write a response when you can't see the messages. I had my surgery at North Memorial Hospital, not at the Pelvic Floor Center. And from what I understand you wouldn't have your surgery there either, but at the hospital where your dr. practices. I believe dr. Mellgren is at Fairview Riverside Hospital. I delivered my first baby there. It was a good hospital. One thing else I'd like to add is that the practice your dr. is with is active in cutting edge research in incontinece. They were, I believe, the first group to do a comprehensive research study using the Artificial Sphincter.
robyns686,
Yes, my colorectal Dr here said she would not do the surgery and wanted me to go back to them to do it since they are on cutting edge and much more experienced. You have really put my nerves to rest on my decision to go to MN. Thank you!! It is good to hear you had a successful surgery. I will go to Fairview to have the surgery and am more at ease now. My next step is finding a hotel for my family.
You absolutely made the right decision and you have a good dr. that put pride aside and referred you to the right dr. I don't know hotels very well around there. I am glad I could help a little. I haven't spoken to anyone about these problems except my family. It feels good to offer some help.
Hello all,

Robyns686, thanks for contributing. It is good to hear from someone who has a bit longer view of this recovery. My own surgery was just 2 1/2 weeks ago. Already, I am convinced that I will actually live, not die, from this procedure. Ha, ha. My biggest concerns are the open wound and whether I will ever be fully continent. Yesterday, the dr. said it is still too soon to know whether my control will improve or not. Did you find that the control was something that gradually improved or was it an up and down kind of progress? You mentioned that the recovery was a good year for you. What do you think was the most lingering side effects? (What might I be dealing with after the initial wound healing?) Also, Kelley & Robyn, did you ever have repeat tests of any sort after the surgery to test function or muscle integrity? I have read just a snip online about Sacral Nerve Stimulation, but my dr. never mentioned it at all. Can this be effective for patients with pudendal nerve damage? My tests revealed unilateral nerve damage with also a delay in functioning side. I am trying not to be anxious or overly introspective, but I must admit that I continue to ask myself, am I going to be better or worse after this? Kelley, of your acquaintances that have not had good results, what have been their complaints? Lisa, it sounds like you are in good hands; I'm so glad that you feel reassured; it is important to have confidence in your dr. Mindy, hang in there; I'm sure you know that you must be your own advocate in getting the care (or test results) you need. My mantra: time is my friend, all wounds heal. JJ
Lisa,

I am so glad you found someone who can help put you at ease about your upcoming surgery decision. It sounds like you have made the right choice, and I wish you the best.

Mindy,

I am not a big person to begin with (118 pounds) In the 2 weeks prior to my surgery, I underwent 3 full bowel preps with golytly for the tests, colonoscopy, and then before my surgery so I lost a bit of weight before the surgery. These preps made me very weak, and dropped my blood pressure very low. All this combined with the no eating caused me to drop a lot of weight fast. I weighed about 110 before surgery, got down to a scary 103 after, and as soon as I started eating a regular diet, got back to my 120. I had to schedule my surgery and all the tests within a very short time period because I had the availability of help from my out of state family during that time. (It probably was not ideal to have 3 bowel preps within 1 1/2 weeks!!) My surgeon was wonderful and rushed all the results from the tests and fit me in immediately to accommodate my situation. I found out how bad my tear was and how low my pressures were from the manometry immediately while the tests were being done. Hang in there, keep pushing for your results.

Jou Jou,

My surgeon said that it was pointless to have tests done after if I wasn't having any problems. I sort of wanted to know if everything was fixed, but he said they were expensive and the insurance probably wouldn't cover the cost after surgery. He said the true test was my own personal control. Between the colonoscopy and the tests, mine were over $20,000. :eek: Glad I only had to pay $15 :) I don't even want to know how much the hospital stay and surgery was! I am actually feeling better today. The dr. told me to go back to soaking in the tub to help close up my wound. The water sure does help! It is looking a little better, and definitly feeling better now. I go to the Ob/gyn tomorrow. Take care
Kelley,
Thanks so much for your response. I too am not very big (115 pds) so I was alittle concerned about the weight loss and the weakness factor. I am sure through it all you will survive. I called again this morning and I told them I called last Thursday and nobody has called me back. She said she would give the message to the nurse to call. But nothing! I have my appt. with the other Dr. next Wednesday and I want to take my test results with me. I don't know what else I can do. I really think it is kinda rude to leave someone hanging. I am very frustrated. I am so glad you are doing so good, it helps to talk to someone.

JJ,
I think of you and your ecovery often and I know you are through the worst of it. I am so thankful for this board and all the ladies on it. Continue to be strong, I know you will.

Talk to everybody soon.
Mindy:wave:
Mindy,

I'll add my thoughts to Kelley's about the weight. At 105, I don't have a lot of pounds to spare, and like you, was worried about possible weight loss. I spoke to another patient who did indeed lose about 15 pounds immediately following surgery. That was not my experience. Although I have not actually stepped on a scale, I think my weight is about the same at this point. My clothes fit the same way. Any loss in the days following surgery must have been minimal and I'm sure I have rebounded. My diet progression was quicker than Kelley's, and I'm sure that will be a factor for anyone having this done. My blood pressure was also VERY low while in the hospital, but other than a little more volume in the IV, I didn't require any intervention. By discharge day (7 days post op), it had returned to normal. I was also pretty concerned about being NPO for so many days; I thought it would be hard. It was easy! Food was about the last thing from my mind in those 4 days following surgery. I was never hungry. In fact, when I finally got cleared for a clear liquid diet, I didn't even want anything. Being able to have ice water did feel nice to clear my throat. To summarize, I wouldn't worry about the lack of food and weight loss. You will do fine. One thing that I haven't read anything about in this thread is the very unpleasant prep before surgery. I will tell you my experience so that maybe you will be better prepared. I was admitted the morning before the scheduled surgery so that I could have the "clean out" in the hospital. Trying to drink an entire gallon of golytely (should be called goheavily!) was an ordeal. After awhile it made me nauseated, but I kept trying to force it in. Nothing happened for many hours, but when it finally did, yikes! Hour followed hour of URGENT bms. I often couldn't make it the 5 feet from bed to toilet. I must have soiled 6-8 pairs of undies plus numerous gowns. I tried to protect my clothes and bed by building a protective barrier of pads, paper towels, tp tucked in my cheeks. It sometimes worked and sometimes didn't. On several occasions, I was mopping feces off the floor, toilet, my legs. If I had had some depends, I would have happily used them to prevent the mess and distress. I was in tears. Another mistake that I made was allowing the IV to be placed in my right hand. Being right handed, I had to use the IV hand to do my (very frequent) personal cleaning. What a mess! On more than one occasion, I got feces on the IV tubing, although I was being careful. I finally learned to drape the tubing around the back of the neck to keep it from falling into the pathway of my hand movements. This helped some, but try to insist that the IV be placed on your non-dominant side. Once that IV had to be changed, I insisted that the IV's go on my left side. Keep the IV pole between you and the bathroom so that you don't use valuable time trying to get it in position. By the time that the golytely started working, I had sent my husband and kids home. For me, it was easier to deal with this bowel prep without any company. I will also suggest using Desitin or some kind of skin cream to prevent chafing down there. You don't need to go into surgery with an already chafed area. When is your surgery scheduled?

Kelley, your posts continue to encourage me. Good luck with the Ob/Gyn. I hope she/he can give you the kind of support and guidance you need to get back in action! Good luck with that, too. I know that I will be feeling anxious about it once my healing is much further along. It is a long way off for me, still. Both of my drs' patients that I spoke to before the surgery did tell me that they were able to be fully functioning in that regard.

Take care, JJ
Wow, thanks for all the great info. I too am only 110 lbs and was curious about the weightloss.

Kelley,
Were you admitted the day before to do bowel prep? My surgery is scheduled for a Monday morning. As far as I know, I will do my bowel prep the night before and then go to the hospital.

JJ,
Have you had to do a bowel prep for a colonoscopy before? How would you compare that? I had to do a prep for my colonscopy and that was an interesting experience. I never thought my bowels would become clear liquid. Is that what you expereinced too?
Lisa, I have never had a colonoscopy, so I cannot compare. All of my diagnostic tests just required enemas. After all the golytely induced bms, I also had 2-3 enemas the morning of the surgery. The results after all that were mostly clear liquid bms with tiny flecks of stool still present. The upside of all the prep was not having a bm for several days following surgery and the stinky smell typical of bm was absent until just yesterday! If I had to repeat the golytely experience, I would invest in some disposable undies. Maybe I'm silly, but the last thing I wanted to do was clean the hospital floor and toilet and have poop running down my legs. The induced bm's seemed to happen in waves, so there would be some time in between the waves when I could recover my composure and try to get ready for the next wave. All the best to you as you gather your information and make preparations. JJ
Ok Lisa and Jou Jou,

Here is my bowel prep info. I was not admitted to the hospital until 2 hours before my scheduled surgery. I did the golytly bowel prep with dulcolax pills starting the night before the procedure. My dad has had many colonoscopy's so he pretty much gave me the lowdown. I pretty much just sat on the toilet for 2 hours with magazines, books and a stool with my wonderful drink on it. I drank with a straw with my nose plugged and was still nauseated. I didn't leave the toilet until I ran clear. I did not have any messy issues because I was on the toilet the whole time. I wore a pad that night and protected my mattress, and had some small what I called "liquid episodes" for a couple hours the next morning. I had the same thing happen with my colonoscopy except I did the 26 pills for prep instead. I tolerated taking the pills better, but it dragged on for hours and hours. I didn't start going for 3 hours and then was literally on the toilet still at 2 am and I started at 7 pm!! I hated the taste of the gallon golytely, but the effects were quicker and when I was done, I was done. It didn't drag on like the others. I also did the same prep for my tests. I became very weak and was definitly dehydrated by the time I got to the hospital. I was dizzy, had a migraine, and could barely walk. They started an IV and I felt better. My preps were all within 1 1/2 weeks and that is why I was so week. Lisa, If you had the prep for the colonscopy, it will be the same. I also think my surgery cleanout was a little bit easier because of the 2 prior preps. There wasn't much left in there to begin with. I used wet toilet wipes to prevent chaffing. I was awfully chaffed for the colonscopy, the nurses commented how badly they felt for me. :( The surgery prep was better because I was more careful with wiping. You will do fine.
Kelley
Kelley,

It sounds like your bowel prep was a little quicker than mine, and you were probably better prepared from your previous experiences. I hope that Lisa and Mindy's experiences are closer to yours than mine, but it is helpful to know the possibilities of both. The horrible golytely had me going from about 7 pm through most of the night. I don't think I could have stayed on the toilet the whole time. How is the wound healing going for you? And are you still sensitive along the scarring? All the best, JJ
Hi Ladies,

Well today was NOT the best day for me. I saw my ob/gyn and he did a thorough vaginal and rectal exam to see how everything was healing, and why I may be having the pain issues. I did not know this, but I had a huge incision with stitches in my vagina! I don't know why I did not know this, but anyway, there were some "bumps" in there that turned out to be a buried stitch that was inflamed. He un-buried it. He said the scar tissue just takes time to heal. He also did a rectal exam (it was not painful) and was very impressed with how tight I am. He did a lot of silver nitrate cautery on my wound and I have to go back to see him in 2 weeks. He said he would continue this until it is completely healed. That was exactly what I wanted to hear! My surgeon is so busy that I sit in the waiting room for 1 1/2 to 2 hours before every appt, so I am going to continue going to the ob/gym to have this followed. He at least is offering to help get it healed up. He numbed me up a bit, but it hurt like @#$!! It is still very sore now. I don't remember it hurting like this when the surgeon did it, but today, he was much more aggressive. He wanted to get all "new" tissue so it would heal better. Now, the reason I am so down....I got home, picked up my daughter from school, and went to the rest room to find you know what in the undies! I am sooooo discouraged! Here I was, telling everyone (including my dr. today) that I have been 100% fully continent! And now this! I am so bummed, and don't know if it has anything to do with the exam today or not. It wasn't a full blown bm, but that tapioca smear that we all know. I feel so depressed right now I could cry. :( I hope that since this is the only time it has happened that it had something to do with the dr. visit. I usually empty my bowels in the morning around 9am or so and my dr. appt was at 8am and I couldn't go until about noon. Maybe I just need to better about sticking to my routine. I wanted to empty out before the appt, but when you don't have to , what do you do???? Anyway, thanks for listening everyone--I hope I haven't ruined everyone's day with my news.
Kelley
JouJou - I would say that control was a steady progress and that it seemed like biofeedback really helped. I never really had any accidents after my surgery except for the very occasional gas leakages. One of the longest lingering effects is the fear, which has been the hardest to overcome. I am getting there though. It's dealing with my own anxieties and fears about the future. Also, I have a cosmetic issue with the rectal area. I have lots of extra skin around my rectum that I didn't have before. I believe the doctors would call them skin tags. Not a pleasant sight and it makes me insecure during sex. Everyone is different though so that may not occur for others. I believe Sacral Nerve Stimulation is not currently FDA approved and is going through safety testing and long term testing. It is currently being used to treat urinary incontinence. I believe it helps even in the case of pudendal nerve damage and it seems to work best if you have an intact sphincter, which is what a sphincteroplasty would do for you. Most of the studies I have read about spincteroplasty surgery is that it is pretty rare that women are worse off than before the surgery. Most see an improvement that ranges from fair to excellent with most in the good range. The Cleveland Clinic did a long term study and that is what they found. The success rate does correlate however with the skill of the surgeon. I repeated an ultrasound because of the fistula and that is when I found out that the internal muscle still had a defect. From what I understand, it is a bit harder to fix the internal muscle because it is much thinner and can't hold sutures as well. I would ask your dr about that hough becuase I am not expert. The more I learn the less I understand.
Hi Kelley, I am so sorry that you have had this experience today. I guess we can see from Robyns686, besides our own first hand knowledge, that we will live with a certain amount of uncertainty and fear for awhile. However, it seems that you could almost certainly blame your visit to the ob/gyn for the accident today. Besides being probed in a variety of ways and having your tissue aggressively manipulated, you also were numbed in that area. I am hoping that you see an immediate return to your previous good track record of complete continence. I am with you when you say, what do you do when you don't have to go? It would be so convenient to choose when to empty the bowels, but my system has never worked that way, before or after surgery. At least he is giving you some help for the remaining areas to be healed. Aren't you glad you had this appt before returning to sex? Good luck and keep us posted on your progress.

Robyns686, thank you for your continued input. It is good to know that most women will see at least some improvement rather than being worse than before. I did have some biofeedback before the surgery and will likely have another session or two once the wound is healed. I'll admit that the biofeedback did not seem to help at all before, but I did have a very large defect of both internal and external sphincters. Perhaps now that they have been mended, the biofeedback will help more. I'm not sure that I really still know how to do a correct Kegel. At what point in your recovery did you have biofeedback?

I, too, have some skin tags (knobs of scar tissue) around my anus and it looks like there will be knobby scar on the perineum, too. I don't think the appearance is too horrible, but the knobs make it difficult to completely clean after a bm. Although I am far from any such action, my surgeon did say that there were "cosmetic" remedies that could be considered at a later date. Has that been a consideration for you?

Again, I am very happy that this thread/board remains active. It is so helpful.

JJ
Hi Jou Jou,

Thank you for the kind words and for making me feel better. I all of the sudden want to go into "hibernation mode" again and not even tell my husband about this experience today. I too, hope the visit to the dr. was the reason this happened to me. I read your post about the knobby skin tag. I guess I also have one at the rectum. It is a hard big knot of scar tissue. It is sensitive to touch and seems to pull at my rectum at times. I also sometimes get these weird twinges of shooting pain that sort of make me jump sometimes and say "owe" I forgot of course to mention this to the dr. today. I wonder if it is that spot on my rectum. Mine is not very noticable because it is tucked into the cheeks per se. JJ, do you also have stitches in your vagina? Did you know that prior to surgery? I am sure my dr. told me at some point, and I just don't remember. Anyway, I am glad to get the all clear about the sex, and my ob gyn was wonderful to talk to about it. He never makes me feel bad and gives good suggestions which is what I needed. Take care,
Kelley
Kelley,
I am sure that with all the trauma that your ob/gyn did along with the exam, I am sure it is because of that... Try to keep your chin up, you have done so great. You have shown no signs of incontinence except yesterday, and look what you went through. I know it is hard, but you have been so strong and such an inspiration to all of us, I know it will be ok.. :)

I told you I called the Dr. again on Tuesday, the nurse called me back at 4:45pm and told me that the Dr. has been in surgery all day and that he has the test results. I told her I really want to know and she said he would either call that night (tuesday night) or the next day (wednesday). Well, as you can see it is Thursday and and still nothing. I keep getting madder and madder and at this point I just want my test results (I don't even care if I see him) so I can take them with me to my other appt. next week. My husband is getting very irritated also.. I can't tell you how much it really ticks me off. Don't they think people would want to know? Sorry I just need to vent :mad:

JJ, I have not scheduled my surgery yet, as I have not even gone over my test results with my Dr. to see what the next step is. Very frustrating. I hope you are feeling better with every day that passes. I think of you often as well as the other ladies on this board. You are in my prayers.

Kelley,
How long before you were able to drive a car?

Everybody Take Care and if I don't talk to you before Easter, I hope everybody has a wonderful Easter with their family :)
Mindy
Kel123 - I know I just joined the discussion, but I would like to offer some support. You are only 3 months out of surgery and you are probably thinking that you should not have any troubles and be healed by now. At 3 months my bum was still somewhat numb. A had a couple surgeons tell me that the tissue, nerves, etc take about 12-18 months to completely heal. If you think about it, why would your sphincter muscle be working perfectly. It just went through major trauma. If you cut your muscle in your leg and then reattached it, you would have to go through months of physical therapy to get it strong again. I wouldn't worry too much. It is going to take a while to feel normal down there. You'll be surprised how much better things are in a month or 2 more. I am sure it had something to do with your appt too, especially if you had some novacaine. I remember all kinds of funny sensations down there, aches, pain, sharp pains -like muscle spasms, sometimes I even thought I was leaking when I wasn't. I don't have those sensations anymore and it feels very normal. I know exactly how you feel, things like that send me into a spinning universe of anxiety and I cry and cry. So, even though I know it's hard to not worry, don't be too hard on yourself.
Kelley,

Of course you need your husband's support, but at the same time, it's perfectly ok to "hibernate", emotionally or physically, for a little bit until you recover your composure. I find that I need time alone to process my anxieties, trials, etc and then am able to talk more freely with my husband. I was so sensitive about the problem that I only described the surgery in the vaguest terms. What an eye opener he had from my surgeon immediately following surgery!!

My understanding before surgery was that the incision would be y shaped from the back of the vagina to both sides of the rectum. What I don't know is if the incision was all the way through the skin layers inside the vagina and rectum or just the muscles underneath the skin. I'll ask on my next appointment (next week).

I, too, have the occasional quick shooting pain originating from the rectum.

I am pleased to say that my progress is continuing. I now have bm's just once a day-what a relief! The consistency is not what it was before surgery, but I am still working on normalizing my diet, so maybe in time...The urgency is still present, sometimes I can delay a few minutes, sometimes I can't. I'm not sure that I will feel comfortable leaving home until there is some more predictability about when I'll have a bm or whether I'll be able to hold one without disaster.

Hang in there, Kelley, and let us know how your next few days are.

JJ
Jou Jou, Mindy and robyns686,

Thank you both so much for the support and kind words. I guess I was doing so good that this little step back was really discouraging for me and hard to handle. I think I am also going through a little bit of depression about my lupus. I feel like crap all the time at 34 years old! It is just not right to crap on yourself, have severe arthritis and feel like a semi truck ran over you every night at my age. I am very hopeful that I can feel better with my lupus when I have my appt on Tuesday. My appt last week was canceled due to the doctor having an emergency. I guess I felt like I was able to close this chapter in my book, and move on to the next and when it reopened yesterday, I was very sad and upset. Thank you all for everything, you definitely have lifted my spirits.

Robyns686, Thank you about the insight into the "true" recovery period. When the dr. sais that it will be a 6-8 week recovery, you pretty much feel like you should be healed and all better by that mark. There is still an obvious feeling of just having surgery in my rear, and as much as I am trying to move on, It feels like it is taking forever. I know I just need more time. It is good to know that my feelings are normal, and things seem right on track with where you were at this time. When did you resume sex??? Was it painful? I am so scared, but it is getting to be that time. My husband is wonderful, and I know he will take it slow and be understanding, but I am still nervous. Thanks for the continued support.

Jou Jou,

Glad your doing so well. Have a wonderful Easter everyone!
Kelley
Kelley,

As I think you told me previously, time is (still) your friend. You WILL feel better. You are so close to having your skin back to being intact; you can move forward with treatment for your lupus; you have better control than you did before the surgery. Hang in there.

Kelley & Robyn, If you don't mind giving me some advice? I had no bm yesterday (which would have been perfectly normal before the surgery), and this morning, I had an actually formed bm-the first since surgery. It was a little tough to get it out. It was not hard, but it required some deliberate moderate to strong pushing. There was some urgency beforehand, but when I got to the bathroom, there was no leakage (YAY) but also it wasn't very easily expelled. Kelley, I know that you had some incidences of impaction & constipation. I am trying to gauge the right balance between avoiding constipation and still achieving a formed stool. Might the need to strain be because this was the first formed bm post surgery? Did you find that your muscles had to relearn how to evacuate? Any thoughts?
JJ
I am just finding this site...and I cried when I read your posts. I had my first and only child in August of 2005. I had a very long labor 27 hours, that ended with a 3rd degree episiotomy. The jerk of a doctor that delivered me (I was supposed to have a midwife, but due to their rotation schedule, I was in labor on an "off" day) didn't want to be there and seemed bothered at the fact that it was 2:00 in the morning and my progress was still slow, even after 25 hours of labor. I began to notice that things were really wrong about a month after giving birth. I thought it was from the long labor and that it would go away, but it just got worse. I had terrible gas...and I couldn't control it. Plus, I had couldn't tell when I had to BM...and I would get there too late. Then when I actually made it to the bathroom, I never felt like I expelled everything and five minutes later I was back trying to go. When I'd finish, I'd wipe and wipe ...and still stain my underwear because I didn't get it all.
In January (2006) I couldn't deal with the problem or being silent about it anymore. I decided to do something about it. I researched online & found references to urogynecologists (funny, I didn't find this site). So I tried there first. It took months to finally get an appointment & then have tests done (anal manometry & ultrasound). As I was told in a round-about way by a this doctor, that the ob that delivered my baby didn't stitch me up properly, and therefore left me with an incomplete sphincter muscle (1/4 of it isn't connected). After the tests, my urogynecologist took forever to call me back...and I got discouraged & nervous & was angry at him that I put myself out there like that.... so when he finally did call me back I told him that I would be in touch with him. (what also didn't help was that he told me i'd have to have a c-section if i wanted another baby...and that scared me to death! i thought i'd wait to have the surgery till after baby two...but now it's almost a year later and a baby isn't in my immediate radar). I decided to go to a different doctor. I have an appointment may 11 and am hoping he'll be able to schedule the surgery soon after (so i don't change my mind again). Since I found this site earlier today, I've been trying to read all of the related posts..but i'm so new to this that I am having a hard time following some of them. Can anyone point me in the right direction? My extended family is scheduled to go on a week-long vacation June 9-16 and I'm afraid that I won't be able to go if I have the surgery beforehand...but then again, I really don't want to put it off till after. Any advice? Any advice on the surgery since most of you seem like veterans?
Hi rm,

I'm sorry that you are having these similar problems. I found this site a few months ago when I was finalizing my tests and plans for a sphincterplasty. There is some great information on this board and the posters are so supportive and willing to share. You cannot go wrong by gathering information and reading other people's experiences. Using the search feature will get you moving in the right direction of finding threads and posts that address your problem. Although it takes time, I would strongly suggest that you read the "I survived sphincterplasty" thread (part 1) from beginning to end. You will get a real life view of how others are handling the problem and surgery and recovery.

I am the mother of 3, and my problems began after a 4th degree tear/episiotomy with my first. My ob/gyn recommended that I wait til I was finished having children before I pursued a remedy. I lived with my problem for almost 10 years. About 3-4 years ago, I began pursuing a remedy; for a variety of reasons I didn't follow through until this spring.

Like you, I couldn't always control gas (and this got progressivley worse over the years), nor could I seem to fully expel all the bm when I went. Thus a bm lasted all day with endless wiping and ruined undies and chafed rear, etc. You know.

Now, until you have the surgery (if you do), you may find that you can minimize the problem by increasing your fiber and water intake. (If I could achieve a really solid stool, I was more likely to get it all out at once with nothing left over to leak out later). Also, a few of us on this board have had biofeedback with different levels of success. But it is worth a try-painless, much less of an ordeal than surgery, and MAY be helpful. Using some kind of ointment (ie-desitin) on your rear, moist toilet wipes, pads (I kept all these with me in my purse) will help you with your hygiene. Some people (not I) are even able to train themselves to go at a predictable time every day. While it doesn't make your rear function any better, the predictability would make managing the problem more consistent.

I will not be having more children, but if I were, I would WANT a c-section. I know that they are no walk in the park and carry risks, but there is no way that I would risk damaging the sphincters or pudendal nerves again.

When you read the 1st thread, you will get a better idea of the recovery time. I had my surgery just 3 weeks ago and am only now getting up and around the house some. Your timetable of June 9 seems a little tight (to me). I hope you will get some information and encouragement to address this very distressing problem. I would have felt so alone had it not been for this board. Good luck, we're here for you.

Kelley, I'm thinking about you, and wondering how you are.

Happy Easter, all.

JJ
JJ,

I did have to re-learn how to push a Bm out correctly. I found sometimes to help push it helped to put my hand with some pressure down my back above the buttocks a little. If I pushed and held pressure at the same time, I was able to expel easier. I did this for a while, and It seemed to help me learn to "push" in the right place, and Bm's have gotten easier. I also occasionally have days where I am almost to Busy to go, and I always regret it. I need to make the time and almost try very hard to force myself to have a BM everyday. It will get better. I will write more later, Hang in there, I have family here for Easter so will write more in a bit.

RM75,

Welcome! I am sorry you have this dreaded problem. This site is wonderful and will give you a wealth of information and support. I will address your post a little later because I have family here right now, Hang in there! I had my surgery 3 mos ago, and started the original thread. There was virtually no support before I started this, and am so glad for what it has become. We will all be here for you!
Kelley
Joujou and kelly - I sent my kids off to northern mn with their dad to visit their grandparents , so I actually have time to myself. Sure feels weird to not have any demands on my time. I would have gone, but I have been very stressed out lately and needed some down time. I believe it was about 4 months post surgery that we resumed sex. It hurt a little, but not as much as I expected. My son was my first vaginal delivery because I had a C-section with my first. Wish I had a C-section this time too. I wasn't ready for all the changes that occurred in that area, so sex for me after the surgery was very scary because everything had changed, not just my bum. Which I am sure is true for anyone, regardless of a tear. It's feels like a whole new body part and it's strange. I like my old self better. Things definately got tighter with kegels, but still not the same.

At first it was hard to push a bm out too, but that has gotten easier. I take Loperamide because I have chronic diarrhea due to a bowel resection in 1999. I have crohn's disease, but it is extremely mild and I haven't had to take any medication for it since 1999. That is why this 4th degree tear and fistula is such a cruel twist of fate, having had bowel troubles all my life from a disease and now from an injury. I have had explosive bm's since my surgery in '99 and I have had sphincters of steel with no incontinece issues. It wasn't until I experienced this trauma that my surgeon recommended Lopermide for the diarrhea. What a god send! I wish someone would have told me about it 15 years ago. My life would have been so much easier. So, luckily the diarrhea is no longer an issue because the lopermide really helps. Sometimes though the bm's get a little hard, so I have to be careful not to overdue it.

I spent a lot of time on the internet last night researching internal sphincter information because I am so disturbed about mine still not being intact. I don't know why my surgeon never mentioned it to me. I didn't know enough at the tiime of surgery to ask about it. I was in a daze and struggling with depression. I just can't believe how much you are responsible for getting all the information and that you can't trust the doctors to tell you everything. I know dr Spencer is an excellent dr, but he knew I was anxious about everything, so I think he kept things from me so I wouldn't worry so much.

Kelly, I feel very old too. I feel like since my injury 18 months ago, I have aged about 20 years. I am only 39, but I feel like I am 60. This is all so much to handle with a little one to take care of. Things have happily gotten so much easier for me, but the emotional scars and fear of the future still linger. I get so angry at my OB. He has been practicing for 30 years, you would think he would know how to repair a 4th degree laceration. He barely even tried. Half my perineum was gone. It was obvious just by looking at it. Thankfully, it has been repaired now, but what an idiot!!! I can't believe woman have to suffer such trauma. I wish there was someting we could do to stop it from happening!
rm75- Sorry hear about all your troubles. I see that you live in Ohio. If I were you, I would head over to the Cleveland Clinic division of Colon and Rectal Surgeons. They have some of the best in the world. Since the success of this type of sugery is so dependent on the amount of experience of the dr, I would be very careful who you choose. I wish I was near the Cleveland Clinic because I really need help with my RV fistula and there are a couple surgeons there that come very recommended.

I guess I would say that a vacation in June might be pushing it a little. Especially since you might not be able to schedule the surgery right away. This is something you don't want to rush, particularily with finding the right surgeon. I had my surgery done with a colon-rectal surgeon. I am not sure about the others. Sometimes a colon-rectal surgeon works along side a urogynocologist, so you might want to ask your dr about that.

My surgeon was so good about communication and taking the time to answer my questions. I always found out about my test results right away, I can't imagine going through something like this without the support from my doctor and his office. If I have a question, I want it answered right away. So if you are having communication problems from the start, I would see that as a red flag and go somewhere else.

Take care for now and you should read all the posts. Lots of good information and support.
Thanks ladies for the responses about relearning how to have a bm. The fun never ends! Robyns686, there is just too much to take in about the surgery and condition. I guess we are probable all learning more about what was/is going on with us AFTER the surgery. My surgeon has a very good reputation, but he is definitely a minimalist with his information. Even the best preparation couldn't possibly address the minutae (sp?) that becomes so worrisome while recovering. It certainly seems that you are having a full plate of unfortunate circumstances, between the fistula, c-section and vaginal births, defective internal sphincter. I feel for you. That's one of the reasons why I am so grateful for this site. I'm sorry that you are feeling stressed, but I hope that your time to yourself (crazy indulgent luxury!!) will give you a pick up! My understanding from a variety of sources is that repair of the sphincter muscles at the time of childbirth involves stitching the ends together, end to end, not overlapping them, as in sphincterplasty. My ob/gyn was patient and attentive during my labor and carefully stitched me for about an HOUR afterward, and I still had the problem.

Robyns686 and Kelley, I am about the same age as Robyn, but my children are older (youngest is 4). When My children were younger (and I had 3 in under 5 years), I felt absolutely exhausted and old all the time. I was, as you know, also dealing with my "little problem" all the time as well. Even though I have only just try to take care of the incontinence, I had already found that I felt better (even younger), more energetic once the children were beyond the baby stage. Mothering them has not gotten any less busy but it has gotten less physically exhausting. They do grow up quickly; hang in there, and you may find that, regardless of your health problems, you will get a renewed lease on life as they become more self-sufficient.

Another question if I may, I am struggling to regulate my bm's to be daily and formed. I am using Benefiber and also increasing the fiber in my diet. What do you think of using a laxative at the end of the day if there has been no bm? I've never needed one before, and I don't want diarrhea, and I would never want to use one long term. Do you think it would be helpful or hurtful in establishing a good bowel routine? If you would use a laxative, would you go for Dulcolax (I've got that on hand for some reason) or Milk of Mag? Also, I have abandoned the colace entirely. I don't want a too soft stool. What's the trick for achieving regularity without reducing me to loose stools? Thanks for your continuing input!!!

JJ
Jou Jou,

I would try not to get in the habit if taking a laxative to regulate your Bm's. I find if I don't have a bm by the end of the day, I may skip regular dinner and have a hefty bowl of raison bran. I am not much of a cereal eater (I don't like it) but raison bran really helps me go. I would find something in your diet that can help you instead. Of course if your constipated, a dose of milk of mag can always be taken. I find it gentler than dulcolax. Your body will get used to the new you soon. It just takes time. Make sure your drinking lots of liquids too. Also, with increasing your fiber intake, if you don't increase water with it, you will actually cause constipation. There is a very fine line between the two. It is nice to know that life gets a little easier as the kiddos grow up. I love em to death, but they do exhaust me! I am not in a lupus flair now, and I feel 300% better, like I could run a marathon actually. It's amazing. Thank you for the continued support. My little unhealed wound is looking a little better again, just before that time of the month again UGH!! Oh well! I also have a wonderful, patient Ob/gyn who did a great job stitching me up after. He even mentioned I could possibly have trouble down the road. He has been very open about my birth exoerience. I asked him to review my records and tell me how this all happened and he did. He was very honest. I think it is an inevitable part of having babies that this complication can occur, and being a NICU nurse and present for hundreds of deliveries at work--I have seen many less than professional deliveries with non-caring Ob's who just want to get the job done as quickly as possible. Mine was not like that. I don't hold any grudges against mine. Take care everyone, I will write more later.
Kelley
Kelley, You sound so much better. I'm so glad that you are feeling better. I am a little out of sorts today. I had the surgery just over 3 weeks ago, and still I cannot sit. So, I sent my husband and 3 children off to church in their Easter finery without me. During the past few weeks, the entire incision has opened to one degree or another. I can tell that it is healing, but it is very sore. Besides not being able to sit through church, I do not have a predictable bathroom time/routine, so I don't dare get caught away from home when the urge hits. On Friday, I had my first actual formed bm which, though not a hard stool, required me to really push to get it out. Then, no bm yesterday. This morning, I had a soft stool (like the playdough extrusion) which required me to REALLY STRAIN to get it out. I know that straining is bad, but what am I to do? I just don't know what direction to go. I am taking fiber and drinking lots of fluids. The stools aren't hard, just hard to get out. I want to be normal! Take care, everyone. JJ
Hi Jou Jou,

Sorry, you missed Easter with your family. My family goes to the circus every year, and this year it was 3 weeks after my surgery, and I also had to pass on it. You really sound like you are going through the exact same thing that I went through when my bowel were starting to get into more of a normal pattern. I too had to strain so hard that it seemed like I was really going to hurt myself. It was amazing because I would push and push and pass these long small soft tubular things. It just didn't make sense that I had to strain so hard to get them out. I believe this lasted about 2 weeks, and then it got easier. I think it is because the sphincter muscle is healing still. I know what your going through, although I am not sure I have much advice on what to do. Just know that it will get better, and your body will get stronger and better able to push the more you heal. All of the sudden, it just wasn't a big deal anymore, and it was easier. I did find that even if I didn't have the urge to go, I would sit and try and the usual time everyday. Sometimes I was successful, and sometimes not. I still get nervous If I have not gone and have somewhere to be. You just never know what might happen. I still can't wipe with toilet paper because my sore is right at the base of the rectum, and it always bleeds and becomes sore. I have to very careful with the moist ones and blot and rinse instead. This is why it is always easier when I am home. I could only sit for a 15 min meal at the table on a pillow (in pain) propped up on one cheek at 3 weeks. I just didn't sit much because it hurt, and I figured it was best not to stress the site out any. Heck, I still sit gingerly now because of my persistant sore. There is also still a sense of uncomfortable pressure when I sit for long periods of time. You should start to turn the corner soon, and see some real progress with your wound granulating and closing up. I felt a lot better at 4-5 weeks. My lifting restrictions were lifted at 5 weeks for 30 pounds. I know it is a slow process, hang in there. It still amazes me how many people have been affected by this horrible problem.
Kelley
rm75,

I think that you deserve to look further into your problem. You really don't have to live like this. I am sure you can find a wonderful, compassionate dr. that you trust and one who wants to help you. Sometimes it just takes a little investigating. It is ok to have 2nd and 3rd opinions if needed. I did. I think that your vacation in June would be way too soon if you had surgery before hand. I am 3 mos out now, and feel about 90% healed now. I started the original thread. If you click on my username, you can find other original threads that I posted begging for help before my surgery. Unfortunately, I went through the surgery alone, but have since found tons of support on these boards. This is a tough surgery to endure, but considering what we have all been through with the incontinence, it was well worth all of the pain and suffering. If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to ask. We are all here for each other to get through this horrible ordeal Maybe the vacation you have planned could be a nice break before the surgery. I would not rush things if I were you. Find a surgeon you like and feel comfortable with. That is key. I also had a colorectal surgeon do my surgery. I was in denial for 5 years about all of this, and I finally decided my life was worth more than worrying about @#$ my pants all the time. take care.
Kelley
Thanks Kelley for the encouragement. What can I do except hope things get better? When I go for my next appt in a few days, I will let you know what the dr says about the odd need to strain for the soft tubes that appear. When I read your most recent post, I felt so bad for you that your pleas for help before the surgery were futile. Thanks for sticking with the forum. It seems like you have found some post-op support, and you have been a life saver for me.

rm75, I agree that you should search until you find a skilled surgeon in whom you have the utmost confidence. I had 3 opinions before deciding upon the surgery, and also switched drs. within the same practice. You must be your own advocate! My surgery was performed by a colo rectal surgeon. Also, about your test results; most of my tests were discussed with me immediately at the time of the test. Only 2 (colonic transit study & defacography) required any lag time. Good luck as you are trying to improve your health and quality of life.

robyns686, I hope your weekend alone has been rejuvenating.

JJ
Kelley,
I haven't posted in awhile. How have you been? I saw in one of your postings that you have been having your wound cauterized. Is the doctor using silver nitrate? How does that feel? Is it helping the wound heal?

I have been to see my new CRS (the one recommended to me by DRKJR) about my supposed fissure and he really thinks that my wound and the pain from it is from an unhealed wound left from my hemorrhoidectomy last fall (he says this type of wound is like a fissure). He has me trying his specific fiber diet (which is not much different from what I have been eating) for one month. Then in a month if it is not healed he wants to use silver nitrate to cauterize my wound. I need to know more about this. Does it cause more scar tissue to form or does it eliminate scar tissue? What is your doctor's rationale for using the cauterization? Please tell me everything you know about the cauterization of your wound.

I also now know that my intitial gut feeling about not wanting the fissure surgery (the LIS surgery that DRKJR had and left him incontinent) was correct. I have always felt like my sphincters have never been quite the same since delivering my kids. This new CRS has sort-of confirmed this. He said that I may see a change in my sphincters' ability in 10-20 years. He said my internal sphincter was thinner than normal and something about less fibers. I did not really want to be "right" about this but it proves that I do know my own body. I may be in the same boat as you ladies in the future which (from reading here) is not fun.

This leads me to want to know about the degree of tear that I had with my first vaginal birth in 2001. Do you think this info will be in my records if I get them from my OB's office? My OB never said anything to me about my tear back in 2001. She just said that I had a small tear and she put some stitches in. I now really wonder about what degree it was??? Do OB's put this information in your chart? (I refuse to see this OB again as I blame her for being in the medical state I am in today so the best I could do would be to pay for a copy of my records).

I appreciate any help and incite you or anyone else can give me regarding cauterization and finding out info about past rectal damage in childbirth through your records.

All of you ladies are always in my thoughts and prayers. :angel:
Thanks,
ericollin
Hello ladies,
I finally rec'd a call from my colo-rectal Dr. last Thursday. He called me on my cell and started going over everything, telling me that the damage to my internal and external sphincter was between 10 to 2, which is almost half. He also said I did have nerve damage. He started telling me about my pushing/squeezing pressures from the mamometry, but I could not really understand what he was telling me. He really called at a time that I was getting ready to leave work to pick up my oldest son and I couldn't grasp everything he was telling me so I asked him if I could set up a appt. to come in and discuss. I have my other appt. this Wednesday, so I made sure I got my test results to take with me. I will be interested to see what this Dr. says as I am not really that confident in the Dr. I have just seen. I had a really bad day yesterday (of course it was on Easter) and I was in the bathroom all day trying to expel my bm. It lasted most of the day and was horrible. For some reason, I am just terrified of this surgery. I have lived with this for so long, living in silence, I know I have to do something about it, but the thought of this surgery scares me to death. I do consider myself a strong person for other people. My Dad had throat cancer a few years ago and had to have his voice box taken out (he is cancer free now) and more recently my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer this last November, had a lumpectomy (in January) and radiation (just finished this up) and I was there for both of them. I was so strong for them, but I don't know if I can be strong enough for myself. I know I have to do something, it just scares me to death. I do have the support from my husband (and family) but my two boys (5 and 8) are so active and even though my husband does alot, I do almost everything for them.

rm75,
Like you, I have a really ugly vaginal birth with my first son, who is now 8. I have lived with this for probably the last 5 years (maybe more) and it is getting worse. I also have put this off, canceled appts, live in denial, like I think most of the women who have this problem do. You do owe it to yourself to have this looked into and like JJ and Kelley said, make sure you have a surgeon who you are very confident in. I am going through this at the moment and am getting a second opinion on Wednesday. Hang in there and keep in tune with this board. It has been the most huge help for me.

JJ and Kelley,
Let me know how your recovery is going. Think of you often.
Mindy:wave:
Hello ladies,
I am finally up and moving around. I had my laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, albation and D/C last week. I know what you mean Kelley when you say you feel like you had been hit like a truck. I sure was shocked how it knocked me off my feet with fatigue and soreness.

I was excited, and sad, when i read that a new person has found our thread. It is good to hear so much information first hand from others who are experiencing these issues. I too have been fighting depression and feeling just awful about my condition and hating the crap out of my OB who delivered my son. This thread has been a God sent to me for healing.

6 weeks until my surgery....I have never been so anxious. I am working on not picking up my two year old so much now; especially since i can't for another week with this past procedure. that is one of my main concerns is my relationship with my son and how this will effect him. But like everyone has said, it is time for us to get our life back.

I am very curious about sex after this surgery. Sex was always a positive thing in our relationships and now it seems so scary and unkown.

Also, I am curious about having more children after having a sphincteroplasty. I know if we have any more children, it will be by c-section, but with my other linguiring problems, we will have to make a decision for more children this summer. My current Ob/gyn said it is possible with the right health care and rest to have more children and not hurt the sphincter muscles. what do you all think? I am just curious?
Hello all,

Ericollin, When I had my first child, my ob told me at the time of delivery the degree of injury I incurred. Later, I reviewed my hospital records, just to try to better understand everything that happened. There was absolutely no information about the degree of tear. I'm sure that all drs. and hospitals are not the same regarding the records. I would say go ahead and get your records. What could it hurt? Even if your records don't provide much info, an anal ultrasound would give you definitive info about any defect in your internal or external sphincter. I haven't read all your posts in the board and don't know your history. You probably are light years ahead of me in knowing about various tests and such. I wish you luck.

Good luck, Mindy, with your upcoming dr visits. I was absolutely terrified of this surgery also. I finally just sort of closed my eyes and jumped in. Now, at 3 1/2 weeks, I can't comment on any long term outcome, but I can say that I am healing. Some parts were pretty tough, but that is already past, and, best of all, I no longer feel this overwhelming humiliation that I did during all the visits and tests and consultations leading up to the surgery.

Lisa, I hope you feel better soon. It's a lot for the body to endure what you have. My youngest child is such a mommy's child. I carried her everywhere. Now, while I can't pick her up, I have her climb onto the bed with me, and we do a lot of cuddling. We play games, puzzles, read together on the bed. It actually seems like we are spending MORE time together. I am also curious about what sex will be like. I'm worried that it will hurt or not work or not be good in some way, but it is still a long time away for me. My ob/gyn (not who did my surgery) told me that I would be "tighter" after the surgery, but the colo rectal surgeon seemed to say that all would be the same in that area.

Take care, JJ
Ericollin,

After my surgery, my incision site dehisced and open up. Thi smeant it needed to heal from the inside out. Granulation tissue starts to form and it is a slow process of healing. The last little bit of my wound is still not completely healed after 3 mos. My colo-rectal surgeon used silver nitrate to dap on the wound a few different times during my healing. This burns away the tissue, and causes fresh granulation tissue. The fresh granulation tissue heals better. He only did it a little bit, and it wasn't painful. A week ago I went to Ob /gyn and he did a very aggressive cautery with the silver nitrate to try and get this annoying wound healed. He put lidocaine jelly on the area, and cauterized away. I didn't feel the initial procedure while he was doing it, but it started to burn pretty intensly about 1 minute later. It was quite uncomfortable and sore for about 2 days until the scab fell off. Is your wound up in the rectum?? or is it around on the outside? I can;t imagine having this done up inside the rectum. The good news is, that everytime I have had this done, It has really sped up the healing. Mine looks really good now, very healthy tissue, and a little smaller already. I go in 1 week to have it done again until it is healed. I am not real sure about the scar tissue. I don't think it added to the already abundant scar tissue, but I also don't think it helped it either. So sorry to hear your still having problems. This is tolerable pain--Don't let that scare you. It might help, although I am slightly confused about where they will do it. I can tell you that my open wound was and is a site of tenderness. This is why I want it healed. It bleeds everytime I have a BM, and is tender to sit on. I hope you can get all of your questions answered about this. As far as the Ob records--I would say go ahead and get them. I am a nurse, and the degree of tear you had should have been documented in your records If you need help understanding your records, let me know. I read ob/delivery records all the time as part of my job. The records probably will not have a long explanation of how the closure was performed. just that the tear was sutured and with what kind of suture material. If you have any doubt, I agree that the Ultrasound will be the best information for you. Even if a tear is documented, sometimes it is worse than what can be seen with the naked eye. Best of luck, It was nice to hear from you again. I think of you often, and will pray that this doctor can help you to be normal again.
Kelley
Kelley,
Thank you for all your advice. I will be ordering my records from the OB's office. It will probably cost me an arm and a leg because I had all of my babies there and from what I remember my file is pretty thick. Yes, the wound that my colorectal doctor wants to use silver nitrate on next month is just inside the rectum. That is part of the reason why I am so nervous. So you think it will be more painful there than were your doctor is using it on you??? I need to know what you think. The whole idea has me freaked out but I do SO want to be healed and done with this whole thing. The speeding up of healing you are getting from it does sound good. When do you have it done again? When you go in next time could you ask your doctor about whether it causes more scar tissue to form? If you also have a chance, could you ask him if he has ever used it on a patient just inside the rectum (like on a fissure)? I am just curious and need multiple opinions.

Thanks,
ericollin
Ericollin,

I go in to have it done again on the 18th. I can ask him what he thinks. How far in the rectum is it? I would say, yes, there will be some pain with it. I think the inside of the rectum is very sensitive. My area also has raw tissue, but I don't have to pass stool through it because it is in front of the rectum. It does get rubbed on the way out though. The pain is more of a burning sensation that is uncomfortable. Also, with the records, you could just ask for the delivery records and that is it. Call the hospital you had them at also. you may be able to just get the delivery records from the hospital instead of your OB. I am so sorry you are still struggling with this. I bet your little one is getting big! Take care
Kelley
Mindy,

I am glad you finally got your results. Hopefully after your second opinion, you can piece together all of the information and make a decision about the surgery. It is always frightening to have surgery--your feelings are very normal, and very similar to my own prior to surgery. It is very scary to say the least. I am sure you will feel more comfortable after seeing the second doctor. Sometimes, it just takes more than one doctor to tell you the same thing for you to know that it is the right thing to do. I will be here if you have any questions. My defect was a full 180 degrees (9 to 3 o'clock) with pudendal nerve damage also and non-existant squeeze pressures. I have had no other problems leaking since my cautery day, so that is good news. I would call my surgery a success at this point, and my surgeon said that mine was the worst case he had seen. You deserve to get your life back. Like my ob said, "living everyday crapping on myself would not be an acceptable way to live" After he said that to me, it really sunk in that I needed the surgery. It became a necessary surgery to have, not an elective procedure anymore. Hang in there Mindy! You can get through this!
Lisa,

I am glad you are home and over your first hump. I am so sorry you have this also to deal with. I hope you are feeling better soon. The 6 weeks will be here before you know it, and hopefully you will be on your way to a better life. Sex still has not happened for me. I really want to wait until my wound is closed up. It is so close now, that I don't want to mess things up and have to start from scratch again. Also, the exam my ob gave me found some tender spots inside. I will keep you all posted. I would say to think you will be ready by the 6 week mark is way too soon. I am not rushing things. I am starting to feel like things will actually be ok when the time comes. As far as the baby thing goes...I have 3 beautiful children, and some days I would jump at the chance for 1 more, and other days I am totally done and want to put my 3 on the front lawn with "free to good home" signs on them :) I would definitly go for the c-section if I became pregnant again. My husband and I are struggling with the finality of going through a vasectomy. It is a very hard decision to make. Hang in there Lisa. I will be out of town for a few days, but will check back in when I get home.
Kelley
Hello everybody,
Well, I went to seek a second opinion today and she told me the surgery would not stop my leaking. She said maybe for awhile, but not long term.. Of course I started crying and she said that I do have prudental nerve damage and external and external sphincter damage. She said if I was totally incontinent (full bm in my pants) she would do the surgery, but she sees mine as minor incontinence and said it would not help. I am so angry, because I don't want to go through life with crap in my pants even if it is not a full bm! I am so depressed, I really thought I was going to find out some answers today. I took my test results and she said she really didn't put much weight into the anal ultrasound. Needless to say, I scheduled another appt. with my Dr. here to see what he says regarding my test results.

I do have one question to ask and you might have already told me this before, so bare with me. To what extent was everybody's incontinence? Were you fully incontinent or just leaking and seeping?

She also told me that I could put a cotton ball in my you know what after I have a bm to stop the leaking/seeping. Who wants to put a cotton ball in your behind everytime you have a bm? Maybe I am crazy, but am I being that difficult. She said that it will eventually get worse as I get older so I will eventually have to have the surgery, but she did say I will not be completed continent. I am so confused. Can you please tell me what you think? Basically she said I would have to live with the leaking/seeping. Please let me know your thoughts and to what degree your incontinence was.

Thanks so much and I hope everybody is doing great.
Mindy
Oh my gosh Mindy, I would FIRE that Dr. and never set foot in her office again. First of all, this is ruining your life, and you deserve to have someone treat you like a human being with compassion and understanding. Telling you to stick a cotton ball in you butt to prevent leaking is obsurd. My ob/gyn and colorectal surgeon were both very compassionate and told me that this was fixable and that I didn't have to live like this. I was told that I would be much improved, and have a better quality of life. To be honest, I didn't go into the surgery thinking I would be 100% continent. I went in thinking that if there was a small improvement for a few years, that it was worth a try to get my life back. I wish that dr. could experience what it is like to crap your pants in a public place, run home, constantly wipe and clean yourself, change clothes and feel like an 80 year old who needs to wear diapers! We are all young, and none of us deserves to live our life like this. I am so sorry for what you endured. My heart goes out to you and I just want to give you a big hug because I know how you feel. You need to find someone who is compassionate and understanding and who is willing to help you. That Dr. was an #$%!!! There are a lot of terrible Dr.s out there who don't deserve a degree, and I am afraid you found one of them. My personal incontinence was that pudding consistency smear that would leak out before during and after a BM. I sometimes had much more leakage, but most of the time, it was thick smearing that stained my clothes, required a pad, smelled, and caused horrible itching and chaffing. That is no way for anyone to have to live. I would leak when I had the urge to go--there would be some there already, when I walked or exercised, and sometimes just for fun :) It usually was not a full blown BM, but enough to be humiliating and annoying. I also had to wipe all day lonf after a bm, and never felt like I emptied out all the way. My tear was a 180 degree defect through my internal and external sphincter. I also had complete pudendal nerve damage on the right side, and slight damage to the left. I was told that the nerve damage could not be fixed, and could be a cause for concern as to how well the repair went. I have no issues now with leaking. I also had very low squeeze pressures, and a very thin perineal wall. I was told by my surgeon that the anal ultrasound would give a wealth of information about the defect, and that the nerve studies were very important for long term outcome. Even with this info, my surgeon was 100% satisfied that he could improve my quality of life, and lessen the amount of leakage. I have had no more episodes of leakage since my cautery so It must have been the anesthetic that caused it. I am truly 100% continent. While I am so happy about my results, I would have been happy with any improvement at all. I also understand that I may have additional problems later in life, but there is so much research being done in this area, that I am not worried. I needed to be better here and now so I could play with my kids, and go swimming with them. Just hearing your post infuriates me :mad: This is not an easy topic to talk about, and no-one should have there feelings dis-regarded in that matter. Please don't give up Mindy--Think of this as a small hurdle you need to jump over, and continue forward with even more percervierence. Get MAD and tell your dr. that you you should not have to deal with this at your age. Believe it or not, there are wonderful doctors out there who will want to help you. Call up different colo-rectal surgeons offices and talk to the nurses. Ask very blunt questions like "would you allow this dr. to operate on you??" "Has this Dr. seen many patience with this problem? was there surgery helpful?? My dr.s nurse told me of a lady that had suffered with her rectum falling into her vagina or 40 years, no one said they could help her. My doctor did surgery, and completely fixed her at 72 years old! Keep digging. I know you must be discouraged, but turn it into something positive and keep at it. My defect was very similar to yours, and I am doing great now. You can be better. Please keep in touch, I will be gone for a few days, but will check in when I get back over the weekend. Hang in there. You are in my prayers tonight. Keep positive, You will find someone who wants to help you. :angel:

:wave: Hugs
Kelley
Mindy,

Oh, my god!!! I can't believe how bad some dr's are. I have been through many bad, horrible dr's with my crohn's issue's and it is a tough lessen to learn, but you can't trust every dr. I have also had some of the most wonderful dr's. When you find one, you know. I see you are in Iowa, are you close to the Mayo Clinic or can you make it up to mpls?? It might be worth the trip to see a good surgeon. I have talked to 3 excellent surgeons and they have all told me that the long term studies for sphincteroplasty can look grim when you look at them on paper, but are basically meaningless when it comes to individuals. I had one surgeon tell me that the very first patient he did a sphincteroplasy on 30 years ago is still hanging in there with her sphincters and doing fine. She is in her 60's. So, while some studies suggest long term failure, it doesn't mean that you or any of us will be one of them. And, if perfect continence isn't achieved, there will be improvement. Also, there are other procedures to look into. I wasn't incontinent before my surgery because I only had the injury for only 4 months after the birth of my son. My biggest problem was a rectal vaginal fistula. Seeking treatment for that is how I discovered the problem with my sphicters. The surgeons told me that I should get the surgery now because studies have shown that things can deteriorate over time. Anyway, find someone else!!!! You deserve to live better.
Robyns686,
I am about 3 hours of Minneapolis and after yesterday (I went to the University of Iowa Hospital) I am seriously thinking of making the trip to the Mayo Clinic. I know I need to keep trying to find a Dr. that will listen to me, I am so scared to be rejected again. Did you go to the Mayo Clinic? Can you recommend anyone to see?
Thanks so much for listening.
Mindy
Mindy,

Along with Kelley and robyns, I want to encourage you to continue looking for the right doctor. I was never FULLY incontinent, just fully miserable. I never even leaked before a bm, but I always leaked afterward, soft stool, not diarrhea, sometimes more, sometimes less. Also, I could never fully expel the bm. After my 3rd child, my ob/gyn encouraged me to have the surgery done-she said "it will make your life better". Each surgeon I saw very thoroughly explained the procedure and the short and long term outcomes that could be expected. They made it clear to me that the surgery might not enable me to completely control everything (gas) at all times, and they all indicated that my incontinence would likely grow worse with age. The only question is how bad does the incontinence have to be to warrant the surgery? And should you suffer through miserable years to have the exact same surgery when you are older and perhaps less strong or resilient for healing? I was in the exact same position as you, and my surgeon said "it is easy to recognize who definitely needs the surgery right now, what is more subjective is recognizing the person who might benefit now vs later". He also put great weight in the anal ultrasound results and the pudendal nerve test. Keep looking for someone who will understand that you need some help now. While I hope and pray that I will never again have issues with incontinence, I can at least know that for awhile to come (who knows how long), I won't. The very best to you; keep your chin up. You can see from our stories that there are surgeons who believe the surgery can improve our lives, even without "complete incontinence".

As for my recovery, I am very pleased with the healing of the incision. It is still open and draining and sore, but I can tell that it is shallower. Yesterday, my dr. said that it looks "great" (and yes, it has been awhile since I've heard that I have a great butt, ha ha). I am continuing to take it easy with lots of breaks during the day. I do not lift anything, no squatting or bending. The stairs are fine now. I still cannot sit straight down, but I can tell that that is improving, too. Standing for any amount of time creates uncomfortable pressure, thus the breaks.

The other side, the perpetual pursuit of the perfect poop, is not quite as positive. I have had no post-bm leaks (which was my problem before) which is wonderful, but I feel a tremendous urgency before bms now. It is scary because I am not sure if or how long I can delay the urge (if I'm out of the house). Also, there is NO consistency at all in the frequency, timing, or consistency (ranging from soft to loose) of the bm's or in the effort required to expel them. This is pretty frustrating for me, and my dr. basically has no advice for me, except to eat a high fiber diet. I am going to keep a diet/bm diary for the next few weeks to see if there is a pattern of any sort. Kelley and robyns686 (and anybody else out there), I would welcome ANY suggestions about how to normalize my bowels. Take care, JJ
Mindy,
I wish I could give you a hug. Cotton Balls??!! Really now.

As with the other ladies, find another Dr. I had a very long journey with plenty of negative Dr's telling me this is normal, your too young, just live with it, there is no cure, just wear diapers, I should be happy that I have a young baby....it goes on and on. To make a long story short, I visited a total of 4 gynos, all telling me to simply get over it. When i finally found a woman colorectal Dr, she even put me through 1 1/2 years of physical therapy. Of course no improvment. I was told by every single Dr that my wound 'looked' completly healed and I was sewn up good so they did not understand what my problem was. It took my physical therapist to call the colorectal dr to let her know there was nothing else she could do for me and that I needed more testing becuase something was wrong.

I was finally referred to the Pelvic Floor Center in Minneapolis, MN for testing. I am now having my surgery there on May 21. I saw Dr. Anders Mellgren and several of his colleagues and loved them. Not once did they make me feel awful or embarrased. Fact was that they made me feel so open that I started bawling in thier office. They know what they are talking about. They understand how this ruins our lives and gets worse with time. Take the time and go see them. I live in KC, MO 8 hours away and it was a very big financial strain on us to fly and hotel and we even had to borrow the money to visit the clinic, but Wow what a difference it makes. They found a major defect with my internal muscle, nerve damage and levator muscle damage. All invisible to the naked eye of the overpaid, ignorant blank Dr's who don't have the time to treat people like people.

You need this surgery. You deserve this surgery. Don't give up. Call the Pelvic Floor Center in MN or another center that deals with this.

My incontinence was awful. It was not all the time though. It was sometimes just little tracks, smears, and constant wiping to full blown emptying in my pants. In two years, this happened four times. But I was getting pretty good at reading my bowels and never, ever ever holding it. My problem was I could not tell when it was time to go at all until it was coming out. My pain is from my external sphincter in overtime causing spasms and levator pain. But I do have tracks and smears daily. There are some days I have no incontinence, but others I get so depressed.

We are all here for you. The MN clinic was very open with appt and was able to see me anytime. They could do the surgery next week if I lived closer, but i have to wait until my mother is off school to stay with us over the summer and help with my two year old.

Hang in there and keep us posted as to what you decide to do. I think there is a Pelvic Floor Center in St Louis MO now that just opened with Washington University.
Mindy- I did go to the mayo clinic, but again I was seeking treatment for the fistula. I did meet with a senior surgeon in the colo-rectal dept. I have to say that it was not a good experience. He was somewhat of an alarmist and did not have a positive outlook. If I listened to what he recommended, I would currently be sporting a colostomy. He believed this was the only way to fix my fistula. Granted there is some data suggesting it as a treament option, but not every dr. subcribes to that. He even sent me to an ostomy nurse for consultation. Mayo Clinic is a strong institution, but you can even find the wrong dr. there. His name is Dr. Bruce Wolfe. My surgeon up here trained under him and said that he is quite dogmatic. I am fine without the colostomy and would have suffered much more if I had it. I could actually live with the fistula as it is now because it is very small. Anyway, I know there are other surgeons there that might not be as abrupt and alarming as the dr I saw, but I don't have any experience with them. I would say give it a shot.

Joujou- I remember going through all those bowel troubles too after my surgery. I would eat anything to try to regulate my bowel habits. I have a slighty different story than you because of my crohn's problems and diarrhea. So, I don't have much advice to give. I was always in a race to thicken my stools, thus the imodium. It was a lot of work trying to acheive the proper balance. I have to say though that it is no longer something I give much thought to. I eat whatever I want. The urgency issue is really so much better too. After my surgery, even the slighthest bit of gas would cause so much pressure I thought I would never be able to hold it. I would have about 5 mins to get to a toilet before I felt like I was going to explode. That is all better too. I wouldn't say that I would be totally confident getting on a boat that doesn't have a restroom because I am not entirely sure I could hold it indefinately, like I used to. It wasn't until I started biofeedback (kegels) that I saw improvement with the urgency. It took about 6 months to get to a better place. I started my kegels about 7 months after surgery. I know you all have experience with biofeedback prior to your surgery and feel that it didn't help. With an intact sphincter, I believe it hepled me alot.
Kelley, Robyn, Lisa and JJ.
I honestly don't know what I would do without this board (and everybody on it). It has been such a god send for me you have no idea. I want to thank everyone of you for putting yourself out there and telling me not to give up on this horrible situation. I keep thinking of what she told me and I just really can't believe that she would say something like that. We even talked about the sex thing and how I told her it was affecting that area as well, as I am afraid I am going to lose control and crap in the bed, and guess what she told me. "Well, it is not that romantic, but give yourself a suppository right before, so you know you have everything out and then you don't have to worry about it"! Can you believe that!!!!! I honestly was speechless and to tell you the truth, I would never go back to her. I truly thought that since she was rated as one of the "Best Dr.s in America" for her specialty she would treat people more with dignity, especially since she is a women. There was another women in there with us (a intern) and she was more compassionate then she was. She looked at me and just put her arm around me and said she was sorry. When I came out in the waiting room, I looked at my husband and just about lost it. I had to get out of the waiting room (it was full of people). He was just as shocked as I was. He said I can't believe that she said you just have to live with this.. He was pretty angry and it is probably a good thing he didn't see her. I also don't have a very regular bm system. I probably go every 2-3 days, but I always leak and seep afterwards, sometimes all day (can't seem to get it all out). I went yesterday and I still feel like it is not all out and everytime I wipe there is some there. I am so depressed, but I also am very angry that noone will listen to me but I can see that there are Dr.s out there who will care and be compassionate, I just have to find them. I went through all the trouble to make sure I took my tests with me, and she just basically tossed them aside. Doesn't somebody with damage to the internal/external sphincter that shows damage from 10-2 maybe have a problem??? I am sorry, but I just have to vent. Thank god for you ladies :)

Lisa, as I told Robyn, I am about 3 hours away from MN. Is the Pelvic Floor Center in the Mayo Clinic in Rochester or is it a totally different place. I think my next stop will be up to MN and going to Mayo, but not sure where to go?

I again, want to thank everybody on this board. I honestly would have given up if it wasn't for you ladies sharing your stories that mirror my own. I just don't understand why it has to be such a fight?

I wish everybody great days ahead and I hope this board stays active to get us through this.
Hugs to everybody for being such a HUGE support for me.
Mindy :angel:
Hi Mindy,
The Pelvic Floor Center is in Minneapolis, MN. It is not the Mayo Clinic. It is associated with the Univ of MN. If you go to the internet and type in 'Pelvic Floor Center, MN' thier website will come up. They deal with all issues of the pelvic floor and not just fecal incontinence.
Mindy- I guess I would skip over the Mayo and go to the Pelvic Floor Clinic if you are going to make the trip. That's where I was treated too. Excellent facility with very compassionate people.
Actually mindy- you've already had all the tests that they do at the Plevic Floor Center. You could probably skip that part and just make an appt with a surgeon up here. I would recommend any surgeon in the mn colon and rectal group. I went to dr spencer whom I just loved and trusted, I also saw Dr. Ann Lowry who I loved too. And, Dr. Rothenberger who is afiliated with the U of Mn, I would reccomend him too. I don't want to confuse you though. Perhaps you should call the Pelvic floor Center and ask fo advice.
robyns686, thank you for your reply. Did you find that your bowel habits smoothed out on their own over time, or did your diet/med trials lead you to the right "formula"? I will definitely pursue biofeedback again later this year. I've never been able to do kegels, but I'll keep trying to learn. I really don't want the rest of my life to be devoted to managing bms.

Mindy, I want to add that my colo rectal surgeon (3rd dr. I saw for this problem) and his office are not exactly warm or overly compassionate. He isn't offensive or dismissive, but very to the point, busy, "just the facts, ma'am". Despite his somewhat hurried bedside manner, he still recognized that this problem could be devastating and could be corrected. He has an excellent reputation, and I'm glad I found him. It's just something to keep in mind in your search. You seem very fragile, emotionally, right now (and how well I know the feeling), but keep your criteria for skill, experience, good track record, etc at the top of your list. You can depend on family, friends, this forum, etc for compassionate support, but only a really skilled surgeon can actually correct your problem. All the best,
JJ
Ladies,
I want to thank everybody for telling me to keep plugging away and to keep my chin up and stay on the path to get this corrected. After that last appt, I have been very depressed and down. Thanks to you ladies for keeping me focused. I actually can't keep the things that Dr. said to me and it now is making me so angry that I think I am more determined to do this. I am going to do some more research and call the "Pelvic Floor Center in Minneapolis and see what they say and what they think I should do. I do still have my appt. with my surgeon here on April 23rd. JJ, what you said about your surgeon, does kinda remind me of the one I initially saw and who ordered the tests, who is the one I am seeing April 23rd. I am going to ask ALOT of questions. He might not be the most compassionate/caring surgeon, but like you said if he has a good track record and is willing to help me then maybe that is not all that bad. I do absolutely love my ob/gyn and he is the one who referred me to him, so I do think he is very good, maybe I was putting too much weight on the other. I will see how I feel after our meeting.

Again, I want to thank everybody again for your continued support and to keep me focused on getting this fixed. I think after we all get our life back and are on the road to recovery we need to have a big party :bouncing:

Everybody have a great weekend, we have lots of soccer and baseball this weekend. Take care and I will talk to everybody soon.
Mindy:wave:
Hi Jou Jou,

I also remember having a much higher urgency after the surgery. I had not felt that "need" to go in a while so it was a shocker at first. I have lost track of how many weeks it has been for me. I had surgery Jan 18th, I have pretty good control over my urges now, however I am having my own problems with regulating my bms now also. I don't really understand why, but I have had 2 incidences of not having a BM for 3 days over the last 2 weeks!! What is up with that???? I have not changed my diet very much so I don't know what is wrong. It is not terrible when I go, but I would definitly like to go everyday like I was. I have not been able to go until my belly feels terribly bloated, and I have a stomach ache. I finally went today, and it was still soft but the soft playdoughy consistency that sometimes is hard to get out if you know what I mean. I have upped my fiber a little and am trying to drink a lot of fluids. I think the drinking maybe the culprit but I am unsure. If you find the correct miracle diet, please let me know what it is! :) Sometimes I think if I miss the tiniest little urge and that little window of opportunity, that I am up for trouble. My life is so busy, that it is hard to make time to go to the bathroom, and I know I just need to, but it is difficult.

Mindy,

I am glad this has made you want to fight harder--exactly what you should be doing. Hang in there, I have been thinking of you a lot. Your persistence and self perseverance will pay off in the end.

Kelley :angel:
Hi Kelley,

I don't know what the miracle diet is either. Let me know if you find a good routine. I have been keeping a diet diary for the better part of a week, and there seems to be absolutely no correlation between my diet and bowel patterns. I am going to keep it up for another week or so to see if I can notice a trend. The wound is healing, slowly but surely. I am not back to my normal routine yet, at all, but I am adding in chores and stuff bit by bit. I am still staying close to home, as my biggest anxiety at this point is the unpredictable bm. When, how urgent, can I hold it, can I completely evacuate it, etc? I am looking forward to the day, if it ever comes, that life does not rotate around the bathroom. Take care, JJ
HI ladies,
Hope everyone is having a good day today.
I am still reading and reading about your posts on diet and BM's and any advice you have or questions you run into along the road, so thank you for keeping us all up to date.

It is about 4.5 weeks until my surgery....i am very anxious and nervous but excited....

I was wondering if any of your Dr's had mentioned how long to wait if you want to have more children? I know most of you may be done with having children but was just wondering. I am taking the selfish route i call it to have the surgery done now and then have more children once I get my life back.

Also, i was wondering how the drive back home would be. I will be in the hospital for about 5 days if everything goes as planned. I was reading where you run to the bathroom you don't really have much control at first. If you can think back, what was your BM around one week post op? Am i going to make it on my 7 hour drive home? Should I get a bowl or something to go in? (sorry that was gross i know). I am just trying to be proactive and make it a smooth ride home. What is your advice? Should I plan stops like every hour?
Lisa
Hi Lisa,

I am glad to hear you are doing well. I don't think you will need a bowel--Probably just a pad for the car ride. It is not going to be a real jpy ride home. You won't be running anywhere..I can just about guarentee it. It has been since January for me, and it still hurts to run--All the pressure and such, but 1 week post op--you will want to be in very slow motion protecting your sutures. I will be here for any help as you need it. I am ready to have my butt issues done with. I went to the Dr. today to have my wound cauterized again. I don't know about how long to wait until children, But my dr. did today say if I became pregnant again, it would be a definite c-section. We are struggling with the fourth child or vasectomy :confused:. I think I just want to be done. I wish you well..I was also terrified and scared, but knowledge is your best friend at this stage. You will do great. The 7 hour trip will be well worth it. Just tke it as slow as you need to in order to be comfortable. Maybe a 2 day trip with a hotel stay will be better for you. Listen to your body and it will guide you. Take care...
Kelley
JJ, Thanks for suggesting how to get through the threads. I've been trying to keep up with everyone's posts and remember who's had what done and who's still waiting to have the surgery. I can't believe that some of you have lived with this for 5-10 years! I'm so sorry!

I tried bio-feedback last year (how humiliating...although not nearly as bad as the anal probe, I mean, ultrasound!). It didn't work - probably for the same reason it didn't work for any of you - I didn't have the muscle control.

I have IBS, so I've always had fiber/water issues. Before baby, it was IBS with constipation. Now, it's IBS with diarrhea - so life hasn't been fun - as you can imagine.

Based on what I've read here, when I meet my new doc for the first time on May 11, I'm going to ask lots and lots of questions...and I'm also going to see if I can wait to have the surgery till after my vacation in early june.

Kelley, and everyone, thanks for welcoming to the club. You guys seem to know a lot about each other & I feel privildged to be able to read about your lives. I'm so grateful that I found this site & can hear stories from women that are (or were) in the same place I am.

Robyns686, I haven't looked into the Cleveland Clinic. The doc I've found seems like he's made quite a name for himself w/ regards to sphincteroplasty surgery. I ******d him & found lots of medical papers he's authored about the surgery...he's also been a speaker at different medical functions (speaking about sphincteroplasty surgery). I meet him next month, so I guess I'll wait till then to decide if I think he's qualified to do the surgery. If not, I'll look into the Cleveland Clinic!

I'm getting more and more nervous about my upcoming appointment. I'm starting to wonder if I'm jumping to conclusions. What if he doesn't think I qualify for the surgery? What if he tells me no? I mean, I'm just asssuming that because the first urogynecologist recommended I have the surgery that this one will too. Waiting really blows.
Hello everyone,
It has been awhile since I have talked to anybody. First let me say, the past week and 1/2 have not been so good and I am more determined to get this surgery. I meet with my original Dr. on Monday to determine the next step. Depending on how it goes and how I feel, I will either plan a date for surgery or call the Pelvic Floor Center in MN and see them. I just want to be sure I have the most qualified surgeon taking care of me. In reading what everyone has been through with the surgery and how delicate it is, I want it to be done right.

Kelly, JJ and Robyn, should I ask him how many of these surgeries he has performed and if I can talk to one of his patients that he has done surgery on? Also, can you think of any really important questions I should ask, having had the surgery, you might be the best one to tell me what would be the most important thing for me to know. My mind is full of questions, I just want to make sure I am asking the right ones.

I hope everybody is doing well. Please keep connected to this board, as when I do have the surgery, I will need all the support I can get. Lisa, I have been thinking about you and your upcoming surgery. You will do great. I have no doubt in my mind with all the resources we have on this board, we will all get through this.

Take care ladies,
Mindy:wave:
Hi, it's good to hear from everyone.

Lisa, I am sure that you are using this time to make all your arrangements. You sound like you have a very positive attitude; aren't you looking forward to putting an end to the leaking and soiling? I'm very glad for you. I have 3 children and I am done. I don't know if there is any way to predict/manage/ prevent damage to the the pudendal nerves & perineum & sphincters during vaginal deliveries. If I were having more children, I would want a c-section. I would definitely ask the opinions of both your colo rectal surgeon and your ob/gyn. As for the car ride home, make sure that you have several bed pillows so that you can "pack" yourself into a comfortable position; you may need to prop onto your side and support your back or legs, etc. I hope that you have a vehicle with a seat that reclines. My 5 minute trip home was not bad, but I still used a few pillows. I unfortunately had diarrhea from my 1st post op bm on day 3 and for the next week or so. If that is not the case for you, the ride will probably just require you to plan periodic stops for bathroom and rest. Just in case, bring some personal cleaning supplies (wipes, pads, etc) and some extra undies/pants. A soft squeeze bottle was a must for me (just like the ones we use after childbirth). A few towels for the car might be a good idea. Very important: make sure you have pain killers with you! You will do fine!

Mindy, Good luck with your upcoming appt. Absolutely ask your surgeon how many of these surgeries he has performed, what is the typical outcome, what is the most common complication, the worst complication. Absolutely ask to talk to other patients who have had the surgery. Talk to his nurses.

rm75, good luck with your appt, too. Let us know how it goes.

Kelley, I cannot make heads or tails of my bm patterns (or lack thereof). Yesterday, I had my lowest intake of fiber since I resumed a regular diet and this morning, bright and early, a soft formed bm. If I felt confident of my ability to delay the urge/urgency, I would just stop worrying or thinking about my diet and bms altogether. Keep me posted on your progress. My incision is slowly getting shallower. I survived my period (so gross, it seemed as if the blood was seeping through the whole perineal incision site and coming from the surgical wound-is that even possible?), and I am slowly resuming more of my daily activities and responsibilities. When I am on my feet for even just brief times, I have such pressure! A little at first, then it increases to a burning, sometimes throbbing pressure. Still cannot sit directly on my butt. Words of wisdom?

JJ
Jou Jou,

Hi, Glad to hear you are doing better. The pressure when up and around will get better over time. I had the same feeling of intense pressure and swelling from being on my feet. I think it also has somewhat to do with the fact that you are not sitting, and standing more than usual if you are not laying down. My wound looks worse today after the cauterizing yesterday. It is such a slow progress for me. I just want it over. I have my period again also. My dr. actually wants me to use tampons instead of pads now. I still have not yet. He thinks the pad will add to the moisture problem and healing of my wound. I need to go buy some and give it a try. I have added an additional teaspoon of fiber to my diet, and drinking more fluids. It seems to be helping me to go now. I still have soft--sometimes too soft "sticky" stools. All in all, doing well. I will talk soon.
Kelley
Hi Kelley,
If your doctor thinks your area would be okay with tampons, give it a try. It might be good as a sort of "trial" for resuming sex. My surgeon had also told me that I could use tampons, even early on, but I couldn't bring myself to it. Next time, I'll definitely give it a try. Ironically, the area near my vagina that had the deepest gash feels and looks the least sore and traumatized now. And the areas further back along the perineum and in front of the anus, where the incision had opened less, have ridges and knobs of scar that have become quite hard. It still feels pretty weird in that area, and cleaning after bathroom visits is still no joy. My perpetual pursuit of the perfect poop continues. I've had very poor fiber intake over the last few days, and I think there is a difference in the "stickiness", just like you said. Also, I think the gas is worse with less fiber. Does anyone know the timing of diet and bm? I mean, if I have good fiber intake today, does it cause a change in bm's today, tomorrow, next week? I'm glad you're doing well, hope the cauterization is helping, and I am looking forward to your post when you say "all is healed!". Once again, I must tell you how much I appreciate your support through all of this. Everyone's posts are helpful and encouraging, but sharing the experience with someone who has already had the surgery, like you and robyns, is especially heartening. Take care,
JJ
Hi JouJou - I wish I could be a better coach for your bowel habits, but my bowels are anything but normal given my crohn's. I don't take any fiber supplments because food runs through my system so fast. I do know though that it takes a couple weeks for your body to adjust to any new fiber intake. I think all that cleaning out before the surgery and the general trauma of not eating for a few days really does a number on your system. I think it was about 3 months post-surgery that I started to have regular habits. I just want to reassure you that you are still in major healing mode!! I used to think after my surgery, with the amount of urgency I had, that I would never be able to leave the house. I was afraid to even go on a short walk down to the park. It gets so much better, hang in there. Just yesterday I went for a walk with my son down to the park and I was holding him on my lap on the swing. I started crying because I realized for a change that I wasn't worried about having an accident. I felt so free. You will too in time. I rememeber very well too the horror of all that mess down there and the continous cleaning and packing gauze and pressure and oh, man does that all go away too! I am a dancer and I love to dance, but it was very uncomfortable for about 4 months post surgery. Now, it just feels normal down there.

Lisa- I hope you have a reliable car and a cell phone. You are not going to want to walk anywhere if you have car trouble. I was in the hospital for 4 days. I had hardly any control. Things were so numb down there I couldn't tell if I had gas or a bm. I had D for days after my surgery. Also, I was so out of it after the surgery, I don't think I could have driven myself home at 4 days post-op. I was taking pain killers and my body just hurt. It's all kind of a blur to me now because I was so out of it. Don't be in a rush to get out of the hosptal, if they let you stay an extra night, maybe you should. Good luck, and we will be thinking of you.
robyns686, thank you for your encouraging words. I want so badly for the bm problem to solved; I guess I am expecting too much too soon. I am at 5 weeks post-op, now. I will keep remindng myself of a realistic time frame. It is so very encouraging to know that you are experiencing so much more freedom and that you feel normal in that area. One worry seems to replace another for me these days, each improvement brings something else to think about. I'll try to take the long view. So happy for your improved health. JJ
Thank you all for the advice.
I will be traveling with my mother and sister in law in a van. My husband will stay behind to keep our son's routine going. We plan on taking the back seats out so i can completely lay down and pack myself in with pillows. Wow am i getting anxious and nervous. It is the dreaded waiting game. Yes, i plan on staying in the hospital as long as they will let me. They will have to kick me out!
Hi Lisa,

I understand you want to be comfortable, but please don't take seats out of your van and ride without a seatbelt! If you have a van, You should do well sitting on a pillow reclined in the seat with a seatbelt on. The surgery and your life mean nothing if you get into an accident and are ejected from your car. A very dear friend of mine was killed when he was ejected from a car during an accident with no seatbelt. It is not worth it. Take pain medicine, lay on your side in a reclined seat, but stay safe. I personally did not have a bowel movement until day 9 after surgery, so I think everyone is different in that regard. If you find you can not handle the car, then take a break, and get a hotel and drive some more the next day. My dad had a heart attack while on a road trip and had surgery in Pa (he lives in upstate PA). It took us a slow three days to get him home after 2 weeks in the hospital. We drove until he was uncomfortable, then got a hotel and rested. You may need to do the same. Take things slow and you will be fine, but please stay safe. What is the date? I will keep you in my prayers. I don't want to seem overbearing, but I have personal experience with this, and it was so untimely and un-necessary.
Kelley
Thank you Kelley,
I did not even consider not having a seat belt. That was the farthest from my mind. I can just lay across the back seat with my seatbelt. Ewhh so much to think about!
Hello everyone,
I had my appt yesterday with my Dr. here and is is recommending that I have the following: overlapping sphincteroplasty, levatorplasty, and perinealplasty. I have prudental nerve damage also, which he said there really is nothing they can do about that. When he showed me the graphs from the mamometry, the line that should have showed my nerves responding was flat. I asked him a ton of questions and also told him about your experiences. I asked how many he had done and he told me exactly what they would do. He said I would be in the hospital about 4-5 days (depending on how it goes). He did say that of course everybody is different, but most of his patients recovery period is 3 to 4 weeks. Of course he said if needed, you might need longer. After hearing what you have all been through, it seems like it should be longer than that. I asked the nurse and she did tell me there has been no problems that she has seen with this surgery with him doing it. He did assure me that he could make me better and have a better quality of life without this. He said, there is no guarantee that I would still need it later in life, but at this time, this is the only thing that will help it.

Robyn, how long were you out of work (if you do work). I can't imagine going back to a desk job in 3-4 weeks after hearing what you guys have been through. Give me your thoughts.

I hope this finds everybody in good spirits and well. Keep me posted on your progress. I will also need you guys soon, so please keep on this board.
Mindy:wave:
Hi Mindy,
That is great news...well it is great news at least to finally get some answers. I know how that can cause you to worry even more. I am happy that you finally found a Dr to talk to you. Are you going to schedule the surgery?

EVeryone esle,
I just called my Dr to double check the exact surgery i am having. The nurse said I am only have a sphinchteroplasty and would not need the levator plasty or perinealplasty. Has anyone just had the sphincteroplasty and not the others? I was curious if the recovery was the same?
Lisa,
Scheduling the surgery is what I need to determine. My Dr. said I could schedule whenever I wanted. It would be 2 weeks out at the time I would schedule. I am almost leaning toward at the end of the summer, after vacations, etc. I have lived with this for the past 5 years, what is a few more months? The kids are so looking forward to summer and vacations, I do not want to not be able to go. I think it might also be better to wait until the kids are back in school and in more of a routine, as summer gets pretty hectic. I really want to have done as soon as possible, but getting the help the first few weeks is something I have to think about also. I am really scared to death about this surgery, but determined to get it done. With everybody's support on this board, I know I can get through this.
Take care, talk to you soon.
Mindy:wave:
Hi Lisa,

I had the sphincteroplasty, levatorplasty, and perinealplasty so I am not a good judge of what the recovery would be with just a sphincteroplasty. Also, My surgeon told me he would not be able to tell until he got into surgery if I needed the other procedures. It turns out I did. You may want to ask your dr. about that. I had no perineal wall left, and my dr. said there was a chance he would need to do the other procedures, and he did. I would also question why you don't need the other procedures? Cover all your basis so you don't have issues later that maybe could have been fixed at the same time.

Mindy,

Sounds like your spirits are lifted a little bit. I would say the 3-4 week recovery period is way off. Any surgery of any kind requires at least 6-8 weeks recovery time. I am 14 weeks post op now, and I would say I am not close to being 100% yet. The reason for this is because of my wound healing. Expect that your wound will dehise open, and that takes a long time to recover from. I still can not sit comfortably for long periods of time. I am ok for short periods on a soft chair. I was in the car the other day for 3 hour trip, and my bum definitely felt it after. I don't want to scare you, but the doctors are not realistic when it comes to recovery. Everyone is different, but plan at least 6 weeks off, and re-evaluate from there. I am working now without a problem, but I stand at my job majority of the time. I still have not had sex because my wound keeps re-separating and I am afraid of doing more damage to it. An open wound as JOU JOU can probably attest to is not fun. I think it is wise to plan the surgery after summer. You will miss out on a lot of summer activities if you have it before hand. Our pool opens in a month, and I still can not swim because my dr. said the risk of infection is too high with an open wound. While I would rather have this wound issue than crapping on myself everyday, it is still hard to deal with and it is frustrating that it is not healed up yet. Everytime I have it cauterized it hurts again, and becomes very tender and sore. I am glad you feel comfortable with your surgeon, that is important. Keep us posted, and feel free to ask any questions.
Kelley
Thanks Kelley for your thoughts. My Dr. said the same thing about the levatorplasty as far as seeing what he needs to do once he is actually in surgery and can see what is going on. He did say he would definitely do the perinealoplasty, because my perineal wall is very thin. I am comfortable with my Dr. however the one thing that worries me is what he is saying as far as recovery. Do you think if I called and talked to the nurse, she can give me some of the ladies names to call that he did surgery on and ask? It seems like I am having the same exact surgery as JJ and you and it just doesn't make any sense to me at all. Maybe I should go and get another opinion? Ugghh, I just want to be done with all of this and have some peace of mind! As always, I appreciate your honesty and making me feel like I am not crazy. I know you can't tell me what to do, however I do appreciate you telling me through your experiences, which is the best information I can get. I will keep you posted...
Mindy:wave:
Mindy,

It sounds like you are right on track. You definitly can call and see if you can talk to a prior patient. My surgeon said 6-8 weeks, but it has definitly been longer than that. Sometimes I think that the dr's take into account their surgery site healing time pending no complications. At this point, I would go ahead and just know that you need to take it easy, and be honest with your dr. I think most of them are pretty good about extending FMLA if you request it and feel it is necessary. From my experience, I would say your best bet is to start off with the 6 weeks and go from there. I did feel better at 6 weeks, but lets face it, after being butchered down there, it will take a while to heal. I think it will be worth it for you. To give you an idea, I believe I was home by myself taking care of my 3 kids (3 yr old, 18 mos, and 5 yr) at 5 weeks. I limited my driving, had friends take her to preschool) and lifting (lifted my 18 mos old in and out of crib 2 times per day) and took it easy, but it was ok. The surgery is so worth it in the end.
Kelley
Mindy,
I was in the same position as you were when i started my journey in scheduling the surgery. The Dr actually said a few weeks to recover and taking it slow for a few months. HIs nurse was a little more informative in telling me that i would not be back to work until 8 weeks; maybe 10. When they filled out my paperwork, they had put i needed the whole 12 weeks. Pretty different than a few weeks. The nurse said it really depends on the extent of surgery and what they end of doing.

on the other extreme of things, due to insurance billing, I am only cleared for an overnight stay. The nurse assured me it was only a billing tactic and that I was cleared to stay in the hospital as long as deemed necessary. I called my insurance to double check and they said there was no limit as to my stay; as long as the DR would phone it in as medically necesary. But i have been through that with the delivery of my son. I was kicked out in less than two days not even walking or peeing yet because the Dr would not call in. Of course, i have better Dr now...fingers crossed...so check with the nurse like Kelley suggested...they always seem to have a better grasp of the real world.....we are in this together!!
Hi Mindy,
I remember when I finally committed to having the surgery, I was both scared and relieved. My surgery was the same as what you are having. Although, yes, everyone is different, your dr's estimate of recovery time seems optimistic. 3-4 weeks seems about right for getting up and around for light household duties, not for "back to normal". To give you some perspective, I am now at 6 weeks. I can drive short distances and sit for about 10 minutes, but even that is uncomfortable. I can not bend over to pick up stuff off the floor, but I can manage to shave my legs and trim toenails. I can now climb stairs with no problem, but cannot walk with a long stride without pain. The incision is still not completely healed, but it is getting shallower and smaller. After being up on my feet or sitting, there is a lot of pressure. The pressure is quickly relieved by lying down for a bit. I would not want to be in a situation where I could not recline some at intervals. My stamina is not yet what it needs to be but is improving. Also, the whole predictablity/urgency of bm's is ongoing anxiety. Cleaning after bm's is still an unpleasant experience. I think that talking to your dr's other post op patients can only help you. I spoke to more than 1 of my dr's patients who had had the same thing. These women are just like us, most likely happy to share their story. It gave me the courage to continue, and hope for a happy outcome. Lisa is right about talking to your dr's staff. When the scheduler called me to give me the surgery date, she was so much more informative about days in the hospital, expected time for recovery, etc. Also, other patients can you a realistic picture. My surgeon told me ahead of time that the incidence of wound infection (which is how he characterized the opening of the incision) with this surgery is about twice the rate of other surgeries. Also, when I scheduled my surgery, I told him that I needed to be back in the groove by the end of the school year. So, he said, 10-12 weeks, and that's how the surgery date was determined. On the other hand, he told me that I should not have sex for 6 weeks. I can assure you that there is no way that I would have sex right now. The whole area is much much better, but still way too sore and traumatized for that. It's not even on my radar right now. If you want to spend your summer enjoying your family and not recovering, I would say wait to have the surgery. Anticipate a 3 month recovery and be thrilled if it is less. Also, even if you schedule with this doctor, you can continue to ask questions of his patients, seek other opinions if you are still unsure, research his track record, if you haven't already, etc. Good luck!

Lisa, I knew up front that my surgery would be sphincterplasty, perinealplasty, levatorplasty. He made it seem very matter of fact that this was a package deal, so to speak. He did say that he would only really know the extent of the problem once he was in surgery, but it was never presented that he might not do the perinealplasty or levatorplasty. Keep us posted.

JJ
Hey everybody,
I just rec'd a call from the nurse of the Dr. that would be performing my surgery. She is going to give me a list of patients that have had this surgery performed by this Dr. so I can talk to them and see what they have been through. The most important thing is asking about the recovery time. I know by talking to Kelley and JJ, the recovery time is much longer than 3-4 weeks and I guess I just want a answer from somebody that has had the same surgery by the same Dr. as I am going to have. I so appreciate everybody being so candid and explaining everything. It has been "the" most important information I can have, coming from women who have experienced the same thing as you have and when I do have the surgery this information is priceless!
I hope everybody is doing well, I think of all of you often.
I will keep you posted on what these other women tell me.
Mindy:wave:
Jou JOU,

I am glad to hear you are doing so well with your healing. You sound like you are right on track with where I was at the same time. As for me, I think my Bowel movements are just spacing out more like they were pre-surgery. I can go every other day sometimes, and I try not to let it go more than that. Ideally I would like to go every day. I feel better when I do. Upping the dosage on my fiber has definitly increased the bulkiness of my stool, but it has not increased the frequency as much as I had hoped. My stools still seem to be soft when I go, so I guess it isn't much of an issue. I have no problems holding in the urge anymore, and have had no leaking. My wound is still not much better at this point. My doctor thought it looked a little bit smaller last time, so I will keep up the cauterizing. At least it seems to make me feel like I am being pro-active in trying to get it healed up. My wound healing may again be stalled though because I am now on Steroids to combat my awful fatique and arthritis. Hopefully it will be a short course and I will feel better soon.

Mindy,

That is great news that you you will be able to talk to someone in the doctor's practice. There is definitely nothing better than first hand experience. If you remember, can you try to ask about wound separation and how long the ladies took to completely heal that open wound? Sometimes I wonder If I am the only one taking this long. My initial healing was so fast that my doctor was very impressed, and now I have this relentless little spot left! I know how hard it is to plan for this surgery. I was a basket case getting ready. In the end, it will be worth it. I hope you can ease your mind by talking to these women and enjoy your time before surgery. I know that for me, the more prepared I am and the more info I have about stuff, the easier it is for me to cope. I prepared for the worst case scenario, in hopes that I would be able to handle anything. it helped me. I also thought about the one person that I found that had the surgery before me, and did th pep talk thing...(if Wendy could do it, and make it through, then I know I can too) Silly little things like that really seem to help me. Take care, and keep us posted!
Kelley
Hi all, Mindy, I'm glad that you are going to talk to other patients of your dr. Call several. Good luck.

Kelley, for several days I just ate whatever without trying to hit 25 gr fiber. I did keep track of my diet, and my typical lazy diet is only about 15 g/day. Well, it didn't seem to make any difference to the frequency/urgency/ease of the bm's, but I had several instances of leaking afterward. So depressing. Now, I am back to counting fiber grams to achieve >20 gm to see if this will prevent the leakage. I am trying to be patient, telling myself that it will still be at least 6 weeks before I can consider any pattern normal, but I am so ready to be at that place! FYI, Fibre One brand raisin bran clusters provides 11 gm fiber/cup. And Thomas has a lower carb (100 cal/svg) English muffin that provides 5 g/svg. I have also tried soy nuts, but they are a little hard to choke down. I am so sorry that your wound is taking so long to heal. I can hear how frustrated you are. And I know how painful and uncomfortable it is. I am hoping that your progress picks up quickly. I know this sounds a little odd, but have you tried going into your back yard and letting the area get a little fresh air? Do you have enough privacy or spare time? Keep us posted. JJ
Mindy,
If you don't mind and have time, I would really like to know if any other women have had a baby after thier surgery, or if they could even?
Lisa,
I will ask the ladies that question when I talk to them. I will keep everybody posted.
Mindy
Hi, Everyone ....:)

Well, it is about 2AM and I can't sleep - 'cause of "leaky-butt" waking me up all the time :mad:

Just 4 more days of this then I have the Sphincteroplasty surgery - at this point it has become the highlight of my year ... hang, past several years!

I have enjoyed (if that is the right word to use :p ) reading about you all and what to expect, and thought that I would join the thread, since I am sure that I will need some support in the weeks ahead.

About me - in a few words, or less ...
I am 50 ( in a couple of months) and have been on medical disability for about a year now since developing Dumping Syndrome after a hernia repair and fundiplication almost 2 years ago. It has become almost impossible to leave the house without "shooting-up" with Octreotide Acetate and wearing diapers, and packing a "diaper-bag" ... just to go to the shop :mad:

Doctor's are recommending a Colostomy, since nothing stops the constant diahrea (10 >to 20 times a day). But, first step is the Sphincteroplasty, since my muscles are pretty much gone now. I had a 4th degree tear 30 years ago with my first delivery (unassisted 8lb8oz baby), and then had some other issues that cause several vaginal reconstructions to repair the damage ... now the Piper is demanding payment!

So, Thursday I will be reporting at 5:30 AM to the hospital and starting this voyage again ...

Any advise for me as I prepare for this mentally and physically? My husband and I are empty-nesters, Mom lives close by, and hubby and friends are very supportive - even my neighbor across the street will take my 4-legged baby out every morning and evening for me ....

What kind of food should I stock up with for the first weeks ...? what about stuff to put in the bath for soaking - epsom salts, or what?

Any direction will be appreciated!

Thanks, Ya'll!
Jan
Hi, is this thread finished?

I posted as follows the other day, and don't see any activity ... is there a new thread to join?

thanks
Jan
======================
Hi, Everyone ....

Well, it is about 2AM and I can't sleep - 'cause of "leaky-butt" waking me up all the time

Just 4 more days of this then I have the Sphincteroplasty surgery - at this point it has become the highlight of my year ... hang, past several years!

I have enjoyed (if that is the right word to use ) reading about you all and what to expect, and thought that I would join the thread, since I am sure that I will need some support in the weeks ahead.

About me - in a few words, or less ...
I am 50 ( in a couple of months) and have been on medical disability for about a year now since developing Dumping Syndrome after a hernia repair and fundiplication almost 2 years ago. It has become almost impossible to leave the house without "shooting-up" with Octreotide Acetate and wearing diapers, and packing a "diaper-bag" ... just to go to the shop

Doctor's are recommending a Colostomy, since nothing stops the constant diahrea (10 >to 20 times a day). But, first step is the Sphincteroplasty, since my muscles are pretty much gone now. I had a 4th degree tear 30 years ago with my first delivery (unassisted 8lb8oz baby), and then had some other issues that cause several vaginal reconstructions to repair the damage ... now the Piper is demanding payment!

So, Thursday I will be reporting at 5:30 AM to the hospital and starting this voyage again ...

Any advise for me as I prepare for this mentally and physically? My husband and I are empty-nesters, Mom lives close by, and hubby and friends are very supportive - even my neighbor across the street will take my 4-legged baby out every morning and evening for me ....

What kind of food should I stock up with for the first weeks ...? what about stuff to put in the bath for soaking - epsom salts, or what?

Any direction will be appreciated!

Thanks, Ya'll!
Jan
Hi, Everyone ....

Well, it is about 2AM and I can't sleep - 'cause of "leaky-butt" waking me up all the time

Just 4 more days of this then I have the Sphincteroplasty surgery - at this point it has become the highlight of my year ... hang, past several years!

I have enjoyed (if that is the right word to use ) reading about you all and what to expect, and thought that I would join the thread, since I am sure that I will need some support in the weeks ahead.

About me - in a few words, or less ...
I am 50 ( in a couple of months) and have been on medical disability for about a year now since developing Dumping Syndrome after a hernia repair and fundiplication almost 2 years ago. It has become almost impossible to leave the house without "shooting-up" with Octreotide Acetate and wearing diapers, and packing a "diaper-bag" ... just to go to the shop

Doctor's are recommending a Colostomy, since nothing stops the constant diahrea (10 >to 20 times a day). But, first step is the Sphincteroplasty, since my muscles are pretty much gone now. I had a 4th degree tear 30 years ago with my first delivery (unassisted 8lb8oz baby), and then had some other issues that cause several vaginal reconstructions to repair the damage ... now the Piper is demanding payment!

So, Thursday I will be reporting at 5:30 AM to the hospital and starting this voyage again ...

Any advise for me as I prepare for this mentally and physically? My husband and I are empty-nesters, Mom lives close by, and hubby and friends are very supportive - even my neighbor across the street will take my 4-legged baby out every morning and evening for me ....

What kind of food should I stock up with for the first weeks ...? what about stuff to put in the bath for soaking - epsom salts, or what?

Any direction will be appreciated!

Thanks, Ya'll!
Jan
Hi Jan,

I am so sorry to hear you are dealing with this also. I had the surgery on January 18th and am feeling pretty good finally. If you have read the other posts, then you probably know my story so I won't bore you with it again. I started the original sphincteroplasty thread that was locked so you may want to read that for all of my pre and post surgery info. I was on a liquid diet for 3 1/2 weeks, and then a very soft diet including yogurt, creamed soups, oatmeal, cereal, puddings, jello and stuff like that. It definitely needs to be high fiber. I would make sure to have milk of magnesium on hand in case you need some help in going, a fiber supplement such as benefier (I like this one but there are tons of different ones) and some stool softeners in case. (my dr. didn't want me using these but I had them on hand just in case) I don't think you would want to put anything in the bath tub to soak with-just warm water. Gauze was another life-saver for me during the recovering when my stitches opened up (It is pretty common for this to happen) Packing gauze in there helps to make it feel better. A shower head that pulls down is a great thing to have in order to help with the cleaning process. (It can be pretty messy in the beginning) I wore really comfortable leggings or sport pants like jogging pants for almost 3 mos. I couldn't wear regular pants or jeans for a long time because they irritated me. I remember I looked nice (with regular pants) for my dr. appt one time when I was feeling better, and within 5 mins after being home, I had to get them off! Also stock up on Ibuprofen and tyelenol or whatever works best for you. I weaned myself off of the narcotics by alternating with Tyelenol and Ibuprofin after the first couple weeks. (just be careful because a lot of the narcotics have tyelenol in them and you don't want to overdose). Have some good books and movies on hand and rest up and take it easy. The best advice I can give you is to rest and go slow. Your wound will open up and the less you do, the better. This is not an easy surgery to recover from like some of the doctors say, but hopefully you will be better and get your life back after. It sounds like you have the much needed help from family and friends. I will be thinking of you--Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. This has been a great site with a lot of great women going through the same thing. Keep in touch when you can--Good luck
Kelley
Thanks, Kelly, for all the info .. I will be shopping and stocking the house this week, so that Hubby doesn''t have to run out every 5 minutes for what I forgot, so this will help me ge tthe right things!

I realize the surgery is "painful", but must admit to actually looking forward to it ... after having up to 20 "accidents" a day, and not being able to leave the house hardly ever ... life has to get better, right :-)

thanks again, and I will check back often!
Regards,
Jan
Hi Jan,
I am sorry you have this problem; it sounds like you are no stranger to dealing with it. Along with everything Kelley recommended, I relied on a soft squeeze bottle to clean after bm's. You will probably want some soft flushable toilet wipes and sanitary pads. I used A LOT of gauze. My husband was running to the drugstore every other day for them. Stock up on your favorite beverages, you will want to keep well hydrated. What are you doing/will you do after the surgery to control the diarrhea? Before my surgery, I never had diarrhea, but afterwards, I had about a week of it, and it is both exhausting and painful have so many bm's and have to clean so many times following this surgery. Plus, I had no control at all initially following the surgery. Good luck, and let us know how you are.

Ladies, I am devastated that I am leaking after bm's. I know that I am not completely healed and that the bm patterns aren't yet "normal", but the last week or so, there has been consistent leakage. It is as if this surgery has been a waste and failure, and it's very confusing, because in the first month following the surgery, I didn't have the problem (except lack of control for a few days immediately post op). It's the same old thing-can't quite push it all out. I have been experimenting with the fiber content of my diet, but it doesn't seem to make any difference. If anyone has any tips or experience with specific foods or techniques or anything, please post and describe. JJ
Jou Jou,

I am so sorry. I don't know how much advice I can offer but I will try. What are your BM's like now? In the begining, I had the same sort of trouble wth getting all the BM out. It was almost like I forgot how to have a normal BM or wasn't pushing correctly to get it all out. I found a technique that helped me tremendously and you can certainly try it. I will try to explain it to the best of my ability. During a BM, I would take my hand and put pressure above the outlet almost on my back but down low. Experiment with this and you will probably feel the stool in there. I would put pressure here as I pushed and found it easier to get the BM out. I feel like this helped me to use the right muscles to push. Give it a try and see if it helps. Are your BM's still sticky soft, or bulked up more? I am on 3 tsp of benefiber a day and my stools have bulked up quite nicely with this. I am having a hard time with the opposite-not being able to go. I am still nice and soft, but have almost no urge for 3 days or so until I get gassy and bloated. When I do go it is still soft but I have to push a lot to get them out. They are bulky enough that I am not leaking at all. I know how devastated you must be. Don't lose hope yet. Spend enough time on the toilet to try to use the correct muscles to push everything out. I was going to consider Biofeedeback if I had issues, but I haven't needed to. Maybe that would help? Keep you chin up and let me know if this has helped at all.
Kelley
Welcome Jan,
I am sorry to hear you are on this threat, but happy we have all found each other. I am scheduled in three weeks for my surgery. I am very anxious and nervous just like you.

JJ,
How much are you moving around the house? Are you going out and about yet? When do you plan on returning to work? How bad is your leaking compared to before the surgery? Would you say it has improved at all?

I am sorry to hear you have a set back, but let's pray it will soon get better with more healing and the right balance of fiber. I am sorry I am just 'flying on your coat tails' for the moment. My surgery is in three weeks. But i am thinking of you.....
Lisa
Hi,

I'm also a 4th degree tear girl (10 years ago) and although I don't have quite the issues you all have reported, I am very used to making the "mad dash," especially since I also have IBS-D. :(

I am writing mainly for JouJou and Kel---have either of you tried a GOOD quality probiotic supplement to help you with regulation? I assume you were on antibiotics during surgical period and if the normal flora was not restored after those, the problems you all are describing can result. Eating a carton of yogurt will not correct the problem as many think so might I suggest you try a really good quality probiotic supplement (I really like Custom Probiotics CP 1) and take 2-3 caps a day for at least a month (or indefinitely as I do.)

I hope you all continue to recover well and those also facing the surgery in the near future have good success. It's miserable when your life is controlled by a tiny ring of tissue...SIGH.

Take care all,

Cally
Hi all, Thank you for the responses.

Kelley, my bm's are soft but formed. Not at all bulky but not loose. It is still kind of like the extruded playdough, maybe a nickel or a quarter in diameter (sorry for the graphic description). I will certainly try your technique to see if it helps. Before the surgery, I occasionally tried to "help" by putting a finger in my vagina, but it didn't make any difference. I am also back on the benefiber, and high fiber diet. So far, it doesn't seem to make any difference. The sphincter feels very tight, but I can't expel everything when I go. I return to the dr next week, and I'll let you know what he has to say about this hideous turn of events. I can't imagine biofeedback at this point, but maybe in another month or so, when things are more healed. I am not yet willing to accept that this is the final result of this surgery/recovery for me, but it is very hard to know what to do. Ironically, before the surgery, I had a bm just every 2-3 days and I now have one every day. So instead of dealing with the leaking a few times a week, now it's every day. (or at least it has been for about a week). Are you drinking enough fluids? Could you try to increase your fluid intake to see if this increases your frequency? Also, I have noticed that those FiberOne bars (and I think I've heard you mention that you sometimes eat those) seem to make me very bloated. I know what you mean about having to really exert to get the soft stool out. Mine are very easy now, but I have no idea why. If only we could figure ou the right "formulas" of fiber and fluid and God knows what else...

Cally, I have never taken any probiotic (or other) supplement, and although I've heard the term, I don't even know what they are. however, I'll get some tomorrow: I'll try ANYTHING. Thanks for the suggestion.

Lisa, It still bothers me to sit for any length of time, but I am definitely up and around the house now. I get very sore in my perineal area, so I take periodic breaks where I recline and relieve the pressure. I have been out a few times. I was very nervous, and packed a little kit with gauze, squeeze bottle (my constant companion), pads, wipes, but I didn't need them; no bm, no cleaning while out. At this point, I would not want to have a bm away from home; it is still a bother to clean. Things are much less tender, but not completely pain-free. The past few days to a week, the leaking was just as it was before the surgery.

JJ
Jou Jou,

Did you actually go off of the fiber supplement (benefiber)?? I was told it would be a life-long companion of mine. I would definitly stay on it no matter what your bm's are like. It should help to bulk you up some. I am definitly a lacker in the drinking fluid department. I don't have much of a thirst drive for some reason, and I really have to make myself drink. I am always better when I do drink more. If it means anything, I also had a long period of time where I had daily or twice daily BM's after surgery. It wasn't until recently that I went to once daily, and now this every 2-3 day thing. I have to tell you that having a BM is still a chore for me also. I have to really make the time, make myself sit, and concentrate on getting it all out. I have always had the tendency to sit quick, and be done quick. I have learned that I need to just chill and take my time. If I do rush because I am in a hurry, or late somewhere. I will have to re-visit the pot for an extra small wipe. It is really no big deal, and I wouldn't call it leaking, It's just more of a wiping and getting clean thing for me. I am still sore right in front of the rectum, and I bleed when i wipe, so sometimes when I rush and don't do a good job, I do need to do a second wiping. I would say this happens maybe once a week. Like I said, there is no consistency of stool there, just a little moistness I think from wiping so gingerly. The good news is, my wound is really looking good now. It is almost closed up. I think 1 or 2 more cauteries and I will be back to my old self. My husband and I also finally had sex. It wasn't bad at all. A little tender at the bottom of the vagina just like recovering from an episiotomy after childbirth. No big deal. I don't know why i was so scared. I am starting to feel normal again. I am sorry about the bowel issues your having. Give yourself time. It has been 4 months for me, but I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here is a weird question for you Jou Jou. Do you drink coffee?? I am an avid coffee lover. I drink 2 cups every morning, and I usually have my Bm after the 2 cups. Coffee has always made me go, and I used it to my advantage very early after surgery. I put my fiber in the coffee, and if I have a BM after, It is usually a very good clean out with no other worries for the day.

Callie,

I do eat a fair amount of yogurt, but I will definitly buy some probiotics and try them. I had IV antibiotics in the hospital, plus three rounds after surgery for UTI/UTI and bronchitis. I then had a yeast infection and had to take diflucan. That was when I started eating a lot of yogurt. If it will help, I will give it a go. Thank you.

Kelley
Kelley, I had been experimenting with my diet, including omitting the fiber supplement. I am definitely back to counting the fiber grams and using the benefiber with oj. I do not like coffee. I wish I did; I'm always so jealous of my husband who can practically set his watch by his coffee/bathroom routine. The leaking is definitely leaking, not just leftover from less than perfect cleaning. I clean with the squeeze bottle, tp, check with the mirror, and on the next trip to the bathroom, there is more bm, sometimes just a small smear, sometimes more. I clean again, check with the mirror, and on the next trip to the bathroom, there again. It is the same old nightmare. This morning in the shower, I gently probed, and, leftover, from yesterday, bm just inside the sphincter. I purchased some probiotics today and will give that a try. No bm yet today, so I haven't tried your technique yet.

I'm so glad that you are seeing progress with your wound. I know it has been a long road. And I'm encouraged that sex was not too painful. It must feel wonderful to be almost back normal. One thing that my dr's nurse recommended was to put both feet up on a small stool when having a bm. She said it changes the angle of the anal canal, etc. I don't think it makes any difference in my own ability to have a complete bm, but maybe it will be helpful for you or others. Take care, JJ
JJ,
I am curious if the 'left over' BM that is still sitting in the sphincter was a problem before surgery? That is a major problem i have now. With all the nerve damage, i can't even tell it is there sometimes. Just curious if that is something new or a returning symptom.
I noticed JouJou mentioned changing the angle while on the toilet. There is something called Nature's Platform that does just that. Sounds interesting.
Good Evening, or should I say, Good Morning, Ladies,:wave:

Night Owl here again :cool:

Seems I can't sleep again, and as usual welcome all your interesting posts and recommendations. Wow, you Ladies are awesome - what you have been, and am still going through, and still a great sense of humor :jester:

I went for my Pre-op stuff today ... what fun :dizzy: Back and forth to this department, and that department, and then to the first one again .. 5 hours later .. in the car, in the traffic (Atlanta's notorious 400 ...) and a FLAT TIRE! after an hour of waiting for the Road-side asst, only to find that the spare is flat too ... been so long in the trunk [B] that it all leaked out![/B] Hey, where I've heard that phrase before on this site .... :jester: All I need now is a can of that GOOP that pumps up your tire - but NO, they want to tow my car, policy - change tire or tow) ... So had to call Hubby who was just getting settled down after a day that started before dawn ... Sweetie came and bailed me at and we got home just before 10!

So, it is my last night to eat "real food" for some time, since surgery is on Thursday AM, and Sweetie picks up a nice steak and potato for me (don't be shocked - when will I get to eat one again ) .. so, guess where I've been all night .. right! :yawn:

Well, back to business - I was surprised to receive my sheet of "post-op instructions" at the Doc's today ... sounds like I am going in for teeth cleaning ... :confused:

This is what it ways:

.... in the event that you may stay overnight .... ????
.... 2 days liquid diet, then 2 weeks low-residue diet ...
(what on earth is low-residue??)
.... no driving for 2 weeks ...
.... no bending, lifting or twisting for 4 weeks ...
... no sex for 6 weeks (
that will make Hubby glad, since everywhere else we have read 3 months ...)
... Oh, and he gave me a little bottle with 5 Percadan - sure that lasts long enough!
Oh, and another thing ... it says to [I]avoid all fiber product for a week [B]before[/B] surgery[/I] ... hey, when was the Doc going to tell me that???:rolleyes:

Sure doesn't sound that bad of a surgery, does it :blob_fire

So, I feel like I am going to just trust my instincts, and believe what I am hearing from you Ladies ... since it was the Dos "not telling me" stuff that go me here in the first place.:mad: and be ready for a lousy time!

[SIZE="4"]In response to the suggestion of putting up your feet (sorry I do not remember names yet ...) I was born and raised in Africa, and can add that the 3rd world Ladies squat to go to the toilet (also to give birth) since it shortens the plumbing down there, and makes it much easier to get whatever out - be it BM or Baby ...

you may try putting something waterproof on the floor and squatting over it (with your knees in the air and your butt suspended a few inches off the ground swinging between your legs - kind of like kids do when they are playing on the ground ...) Think about it, when you give birth they put your feet in those stirrups, and you are in a squatting position, but on your back ..?

Anyway, it may help with those last little bits that won't come out ...
[/SIZE]
have a great day, ladies,
Janice
Hello Ladies, how has everybody been? I have been thinking alot lately. My Dr. is on vacation this week so I won't get the names of his patients until next week. Just waiting and doing alot of thinking...

Janice, welcome to the group. You will find ALOT of support here. It has been a big eye opener for me and the ladies on this board are wonderful. Of course, I get the support from my family with this awful situation we are all in, but nothing is better than actually getting the support from somebody who actually knows and feels what you are talking about! Anyway, welcome :)

JJ, I have especially been thinking of you alot.. I know how discouraged you are, but try to hang in there.. I have no doubt in my mind that you did the right thing and it will turn around. I have that fear of going through with this surgery and it not working (especially since I do have the nerve damage) and they say it is not as affective, but look at Kelley, she had nerve damage and she is doing great, as I am sure you will be too. It is just finding that magic combination. I also only go every 2-3 days, so going everyday will be very strange to me. Hang in there, you know you have everybody's prayers and support on this board.

Better go, I will talk to everybody soon.
Mindy:wave:
Hi all,

Janice, Good luck tomorrow! I hope everything goes well and that you are soon on the mend with as little pain or problems as possible! When you are back home, let us know how you are doing. A low residue diet is one that minimizes any bulk or volume in stool, so it eliminates all high fiber foods, and fruits or vegetables with peels, seeds, husks, as well as dairy foods. Tell your husband not to count on sex in 6 weeks; based on my experience and what I hear from the other ladies on this board, that is way too optimistic.

Lisa, the "leftover bm" is definitely a problem that I had before the surgery.

I am going to search "nature's platform" as soon as I log off this site and I will also try to experiment with my posture to see if anything helps. (Thanks Janice and Brocallie for the info.) I had no bm yesterday (must have missed my window) but so much more gas. Just when I think I can say a pattern exists (like having a daily bm), whether it's good or bad, something changes. Thus, I am hoping that the leaking also won't be a lasting pattern. I bought some probiotics yesterday and am adding that into my routine. I don't know anything at all about them, but what the hey...surgery, fiber, fluid, probiotics, squatting...maybe I should also try clicking my heels three times. If I perfect my routine or intake, I will let you know what works, so that you can keep it in mind for yourselves. Take care everyone and thanks for the supportive posts. JJ
JJ,

I had to laugh about the "clicking your heels three times," maybe I will try that too!! :) Sincerely, I hope things get better and know how devastating a setback like that is. I am praying that things will improve for you. Take care,
Kelley
Kelley,
I have not posted here since post #8 about a month ago. Thought I would suggest you try the Activia yogurt by Dannon to aid BMs. I know all of ya'll are very special cases.

My wife has been using it with very good results. She is convinced it is Excellent.

God Bless--- Harry
Harry,

Thanks for the reply--Activia is exactly what I eat, 2 cups a day. Everyone in my family eats it too. Thank you!
Hi all,

I hope everyone is well. I thought I would tell you that I searched online for the toilet platform, and I'm not quite ready to equip my bathroom with this. But I did think the concept was worth a shot, so....I actually climbed up on the toilet Wednesday. It was too much of a strain on my whole perineal area; do not try this post surgery until you feel completely healed. Plus, it did not help. Yesterday, I remembered to try Kelley's technique. At first I thought it was helpful, as I felt like the evacuation was more complete. But, the leakage continued both days. It is a very frustrating, hateful situation. My next steps are to call on the former patients that I talked to before my surgery and to try kegels. I have never had any success with kegels in the past, but I am adding this to my "formula". Okay, now here is a crazy thing that just popped into my head. Does anyone have any thoughts about Immodium? I don't have diarrhea, but might Immodium/Lomotil help slow me down enough to bulk up or compact the stool before passing? I have never used these products, except one time immediately after surgery to stop the frequent diarrhea. Of course, I don't want to cause myself more problems. Any of you veterans out there know anything about the effect that might have?

Take care, I am thinking of you all.

JJ
Hi JJ,

First off, I am so sorry for what your dealing with. I remember someone stating that they had a rectocele prior to surgery--was that you? Basically a rectocele is where there is a pocket that forms with a hole from the vagina to the rectum causing a "pocket area" where residual stool gets stuck. I did not have one of these, but I know it can cause incomplete emptying of the bowels. My surgeon's nurse went over it with me initially when I called about my incontinence problems (before surgery) I think if I remember correctly, it can be a possible complication from this surgery we had. Has your colo-rectal surgeon done a vaginal exam since your surgery? Maybe it is worth asking about. My residual stool was do to not having the ability to contract the muscle (very low squeeze pressures and nerve damage) along with the 180 degree tear of the internal and external sphincter. As soon as the sphincter was fixed, I had to train myself or work very hard to empty my bowels. It was almost like I forgot how to push correctly. Once I got the hang of where I was supposed to push, I was fine. I know with the rectocele, It is impossible to fully evacuate--It may be worth looking into. I am also thinking that maybe one session with biofeedback would be able to tell if the correct muscles are being used?? After your healed. I also think that you should continue the fiber supplement. As far as immodium goes, I have used it in the past for diarhea episodes, and became very constipated with it. I am sure it affects everyone differently, but that is just my experience with it. Also, do you think you could convince your surgeon to do a post op anal ultrasound?? Maybe that would show something that could account for the problems your encountering? I am just trying to think of anything that might help you. I would try adding an increased amount of fiber to bulk up the stool, try the immodium sparingly, and see if it helps. You can always fall back on a laxative if you have to :mad: Please take care Jou Jou, and demand a thorough examination to rule these other things out. You have come too far to give up now. Hang in there. Just to let you know--I eat whatever I want, I have never actually counted my fiber grams but I am religious about taking my benefiber every day. Mtools have remained pretty much a good consistency, and I seem back to my normal every 1-3 days prior to surgery. I tried to fix that, but it seems to be what my body wants to do so I am going with it for now. I had my last cautery appt today, and am pretty much healed up now. One tiny spot that I am sure will be after the cauterizing.

Hugs,
Kelley
Jou Jou,

I just re-read my post and felt like it was a little abrupt. The last thing I want to do is make you feel worse. Please know that it was not meant to be at all. I want nothing more than for all of us to have successful outcomes from this horrendous problem. I think of you often and pray things get better.
Kelley
Kelley,

You are always very supportive. I appreciate your responses. I did have a rectocele prior to surgery, but the repair/reconstruction of the perieal wall should have taken care of that. I did not realize that it could be a complication after surgery. I will ask the dr. about it this coming week. I will be talking to him about all of this, plus if/when I should try biofeedback again and what could be causing the leaking. I haven't taken any Immodium; I think I'm a little bit chicken about it. But, I had a bm yesterday without any leaking!! I don't know why. I still feel so out of control and want and need to figure out what is causing and/or preventing the leaking. I am absolutely stuffing myself (at least it feels that way) with fiber. Plus, lots of water, probiotics, feet up on a stool for elimination, kegels, "helping" pass the stool the way you describe. I am practically consumed right now with trying to correct this. It is a bummer to have to focus so much on my diet; there's no room in it for my favorite foods!

I am glad to hear you are doing so well and that your wound is at long last almost healed. Do you still feel pressure or soreness in your perineal area on a daily basis? I know that my incision is healing well, but I still am very sore after the pressure of a bm or after standing or sitting for awhile. It is not unbearable, but very uncomfortable, at times a burning pain.

I will post again in a few days, hopefully with good news of no more leaking.

Thanks again for the support.
JJ
Jou Jou,

I am so glad you had a good day. If you had a rectocele prior to surgery, that was probably a lot of your trouble fully expelling a BM. Hopefully it was fully corrected during surgery. The reason the nurse at my colorectal dr's office wanted to know If I had a rectocele, was because my particular surgeon didn't work with rectoceles. She said if I had one that another dr. would have to be present for my surgery to correct it. She said my surgeon was the best for the sphincteroplasty, but it would be someone else if I indeed had a rectocele. I was told it was a different procedure for closing that. Hopefully you will get more info at your appt. Don't give up! I am just about healed now. The thing that bothers me is that there are 2 bands of "tight" scar tissue at about 3 and 9 o'clock on the sides of my rectum. This is still sore with wiping, and sitting. For dinner, I sat down kinda hard on a wooden kitchen chair and kinda said OWE, but really not any major pain. I know the pressure your talking about. It took a while for that to complete go away, but it did. I could always tell when I had been on my feet for too long because It would almost start to throb down there.I know it seems like your still consumed with your bowels, but it will get better. If you find the right combination of fiber, then you should be able to eat what you want without having to worry too much. Hope you continue having more good days. I started on 4 different medications for my auto immune disorder and they are giving me diarhea, so I know how you feel. Just when you think you have things all figured out, you get thrown for another loop. Luckily, I have not had any leaking with this, but extreme urgency, and a little sore tush. Hopefully as my body gets used to the medicine, It will become better. Take care
Kelley :wave:
Hi everyone... I just found this board yesterday and joined today. Just in time... or too late? (grin) On Tuesday I will have a sphincteroplasty, and rectocele repair/Levatorplasty. This will be done perineally. My hospital stay is expected to be 4-5 days. I had not anticipated that recovery would be as difficult and long as your experiences have been. Maybe I was kidding myself, because when I asked the colorectal surgeon what the restrictions would be after surgery, he said "none... return to your usual routine"! I have stairs in my house. And I'd planned to drive on the 7th day after surgery, to take my daughter to the airport after her 5-day visit. Am I too optimistic? Some of you still have trouble just sitting...

I read that sitz baths help (but not when bleeding). What else? Ice packs at the anus?

Any last-minute help and healing suggestions would be most welcome. And best of luck to you all in your continuing recovery.
P.S. to my post a few minutes ago... I know you all have made some great suggestions about fiber, etc., in your messages, but I don't have time to read them ALL now, and Monday I will be prepping - which means I won't be at the computer very much. Just wondered if there are some quick hints that will get me thru the most immediate post-op... thank you so much! Miztee
Hi Mitzee,

Good luck tomorrow. I hope you will join our ongoing discussions when you are up to it following your surgery. Your activities will surely not be your "usual routine" in the first week or 2 after surgery. You may be able to slowly manage the stairs, but driving at day 7 does seem too optimistic. I know you are out of time to prepare for this recovery, but finding some alternatives to driving and arranging some support for yourself for the first few weeks would be my top priorities at this point. As for the immediate post op period, sitz baths, pain killers, lots and lots of gauze, a small hand held mirror, a soft squeeze bottle for gently cleaning. A hand held shower head is a good thing to use. Plus, reading materials, plenty of your favorite beverages and easily digestible foods and soups. It might be handy to have on hand both Immodium and Milk of Mag, just in case you have diarrhea or constipation. Did your dr say how long you would be on a liquid diet? In addition to what you are having done, I also had perinealplasty. Will that be a part of your surgery? If not (and I have no idea if these procedures are inherently linked or can be done separately), perhaps your recovery will be a bit speedier than some of ours. It does sound as if you should anticipate more down time than your dr is telling you. Just to give you perspective, at day 7, I was still in the hospital. I could barely walk, let alone drive. When I got home (I spent 8 nights total in the hospital), I went straight to bed and basically stayed there for the next 2 weeks. I wish you the best and hope your recovery is an easy one.

JJ
Hi Mitzie,

Good luck tomorrow, and best of luck for a speedy recovery. I had my surgery 4 mos ago and just about feel healed now. I think all of the dr.s seem to be optimistic for the recovery time for this. Plan a FULL 6 to 8 week recovery. This is the case for any major surgery, and this is considered a major surgery. I would also plan on some significant bed rest. It is easy for the incision site to open up because of the tender area it is in. This happened to both Jou Jou and I, and has been a significant reason for the long healing time. I also know someone who had to have the entire surgery re-done because she ripped all of the stitches out in the first 2 weeks. She went for 4 months with a nurse coming twice daily to pack her wound. Be careful, and don't move around too much. Any lifting is not a good thing. I was on lifting restrictions nothing heavier than a book or 5 pounds for 5 weeks post op. I hope you see improvement after your surgery. This is a great place for help and support, so visit often--We will help you along the best that we can. All of Jou Jou's suggestions are great. Take care, take your pain medication, and REST would be my best advice. By the way, I was in the hospital 6 days, and could not drive a car until 3 weeks post op with still quite a bit of discomfort. Take care, and Welcome.
Sincerely,
Kelley
Hi there everyone,
I found a lady in TX who had only the sphincteroplasty surgery in December. I chatted with her about how she is doing now. Her incontinence did not seem to be as bad as some of ours was. She occasionally had leaking of gas and sometimes stool when she did certain activities. She had the surgery in hopes of controllying the gas. She actually is not fully contitent with her surgery because she only sees minimal improvement. She was able to control her stool leaking with diet. She still has gas leaking sometimes, but not as often. Her recovery was much less than your alls; but she did not have the levatorplasty or perinealplasty. She went back to work in three weeks, but did need to rest more of course.

I did ask my nurse if i was having any of those and she said not at this point, but I may need the levatorplasty once they get in there. She said the recovery from the perinealplasty is defintly much more dramatic than just the sphincteroplasty and I did not need that, or at least that they can tell. She did say they have had women who ended up benefiting from once they started the surgery. But the woman in TX said she was back to lifting and doing normal activities (minus sex, mowing lawns, nothing too strenous) within three weeks. She said she still has trouble with sex, as i think we all do, but that her Dr suggesting the cautherizing to hlep with her scare tissues.

So, it sounds as though we need to plan for the worst and hope for the best........my surgery is in two weeks.....i am a nut case!

Miztee.....good luck tomorrow! I will be looking for your posts when you feel up to it......
Kelley and JouJou, thank you so much for your speedy replies! As soon as I got up this morning I read them, and I have time before my prep to run out & buy lots of gauze, a squeeze bottle, and small hand mirror. I have a flex showerhead and can regulate the pressure on that. Then I will call my friends who have offered to help, and arrange for someone to drive Kim to the airport. I live alone now and I know my friends will be bringing food and coming to see me... not all at once! BTW, I'm 66 yrs old and finally getting the damage from childbirth fixed. So I probably won't heal even as fast as you both have.

I don't know about the perinealplasty, JJ. And I'm not under the impression a liquid diet would extend beyond the hospitalization, but I guess I'll find out soon enough to have my daughter buy whatever I need. She will be here from day3 to day 7 post-op.

As for the gauze, do you just fold it up and keep it over the site? Did you use Depends also, to help keep it there and also catch more drainage? I did read one post that said "airing out" is good too.

Thanks again, and I'll keep you posted...
Mary (Miztee)
Hi Mitzie,

I know you must be nervous. As far as the gauze, my told me to fluff it up between the cheeks to help with the drainage after my wound opened up. Initially, I had a dressing on from the surgery until day 5 or so. The hospital removed it, and I only wore a large menstrual kotex pad to help with the drainage. You probably will not even be out of the hospital in the time fram that your daughter is there. Even with me at 34 years old, I had issues with a very low blood pressure in the hospital, so with your age, that could complicate things. You will also have a foley catheter into your bladder, and possibly be on a morphine drip at the hospital for pain. This is what I endured--your stay may be different. I was on a liquid diet for 3 1/2 weeks. Mitzie, I would really see if someone can stay with you when you get out of the hospital. It is quite painful, and I was on complete bedrest for 3 1/2 weeks following surgery. The hand held shower head is great for getting clean after surgery. I would pull it down and spray off in the shower after BM's to keep really clean. Sitz baths 4 times a day will help the healing tremendoulsy
Good luck tomorrow, I will be thinking of you.
Kelley
Lisa, I know that I spent the weeks ahead of my surgery making so many arrangements and doing things like marking the kids' socks, getting their hair cut, stocking the pantry, etc. You have someone to help after you get home, right? You will be fine! It sounds as if a sphincteroplasty alone is less traumatic than when combined with the other delightful procedures. I will be keeping my fingers crossed for you that you will not need anything more than that.

Mitzee, I'm glad that Kelley spoke more strongly than I did about the realistic recovery period. She is right in everything she said. I am at 7 1/2 weeks and though I can manage, I am still not back to my normal self. Between the pain of the healing incision and trying to figure out my bowels, there is likely to be several more weeks, even months of recovery. Please pay attention to what she told you about resting and doing what you can to avoid having the incision open. This is a common complication, very painful, and adds to the recovery time. I agree that you should try to find someone to stay with you for a bit. In addition to the physical trauma from surgery, I also experienced some brief but very discouraging depression. I understand that this is fairly common following an illness or surgery. Having a friend or some family will help for so many reasons. Besides the gauze, I used a sanitary pad. I did ruin several pairs of undies during the prep and the immediate post op period, and there were a couple of times (one being the day of the bowel prep) that I wished I were wearing depends! But really, the gauze and pads were sufficient most of the time. Let us know how you are when you return home. I was greatful for the information this board gave me before my surgery, but afterward, I really DEPENDED on the info and support. All the best,

JJ
Hi. Last time I checked the message board, it was closed. I see a new thread is born. I was a newbee about a month ago. I had my sphincteroplasty and analplasty on 4 April. I went back to work last week (about a week too soon). I was in the hospital 4 days and along with the surgery I had two drains hanging from my body. I was a lot harder that I thought it would be, but it's over. I sill am swollen and waiting for the incisions to fully heal, but am able to drive and sit at work. I have the special pillow and ottoman at my desk. My surgeon was great and I seem to be cured. The worst part was the stay in the hospital and the lack of care I received during my recovery. It was really ridiculous. One of many examples is that they have me these funky underwear that wrap around so as to accommodate the drains and they had a plastic lining. Well...within 10 minutes my butt was BURNING. It blistered and because I was on morphine I didn't fully realize and no one informed me. Once home, I couldn't sit on my back side or sit normally. I had to sit on my side. On the bright side, I now have a butt as smooth as a baby and I lost some weight from the liquid diet:-) Thanks to all on the board who communicated with me prior to my surgery.
Kathleen,

Wow, glad to hear you are doing so great! I also had drains in the hospital. Did you have a perineal incision at all? (from the vagina to the rectum?) If you didn't, I guess that would be part of the faster recovery period. I am glad that you have had such great success from your surgery. My recovery period was much more substantial 4 1/2 months later, I am now healed but still have a little soreness on a daily basis from scar tissue. I had a perinealplasty and levatorplasty in addition to the sphincteroplasty. Wishing you well :wave:
Kelley
I have Crohns disease and had to have a sphincteroplasty surgery because of a doctor cutting me from one end to the other during child birth. Having the two problems at the same time is just about the most humiliating thing that could happen to anyone. I don't know why I am posting this except that if there is anyone on this earth that has gone through the same thing, I sure would like to hear from them. There is no way anyone could understand how hard it has been for me. It has ruined my life. Thanks for letting me write this. Kinda like just getting it off my chest since no one knows who I am. But, I guess I can still smile. Thanks
Zearl,

I am sorry for your troubles. I do not have crohns diseases, so I am not in exactly the same boat as you, but I think that everyone on this board can sympathize and understand what your going through. For me, I had leaking just about everyday. It is very humiliating, degrading, and depressive. I had the surgery 4 1/2 months ago, and fully have my life back now. No leaking at all now. There is help out there. If you only have to have the sphincteroplasty surgery, what I am learning is that the recovery may be much less than what I experienced. I can understand your frustration, and anytime you need to talk to someone who DOES understand, I am here. Best wishes to you.
Kelley
HI Zearl,
I do not have crohns disease either. But I can tell you since the birth of my son two years ago, I have been in a pretty deep depression just dealing with the incontinence and embarrasing issues that come with that. I was a very active person and ran everyday. I played on a soccer team indoors and loved to do anything outside. I weighed 110 lbs and was a very healthy person. After having my son, I have gained 20 lbs simply from having to stop all activity due to not being able to control my bowels. I just come home and sit and watch my son play. Our sex life has to be planned and scheduled, I sometimes go through several pairs of underwear a day, I had a major accident losing everything in the middle of my son's classroom, I have had to throw away several pairs of pants from accidents at work, and I can come up with the best excuses now to have to suddenly leave work to go home and clean up.

I think the ladies on this board are you best support because we do understand how embarrased, depressed and angry you are. But we are here for you and I would love to hear your story and anything else you need to get off your chest. Since starting this board, I have been doing so much better. It really does help knowing you are not alone.

When did you have your sugery? How old are your children? Where did you have your surgery? Any advice for me...i have my surgery in two weeks?
Hi Zearl,

Guess what, there is someone on earth like you...I have crohn's and I had a brutal 4th degree tear and have a dreaded rectal vaginal fistula. I was diagnosed with crohn' s when I was 21. I am 39 now. I had my son 19 months ago and a sphincteroplasty in feb of 06. When I was first diagnosed with crohn's, I remember being so afraid when I heard about rectal vaginal fistula's as a symptom of crohn's, I never imagined that it could also occur from childbirth. And, if any of my GI's, OB's would have even mentioned that incontinence could occur from child birth, you can bet I would be the first one signing up for a c-section!!!! Which, by the way I have had too, and it is hell of alot easier to recover from than all this bull ****. It does feel like the greatest insult to injury to have crohn's and then this kind of complictaion to childbirth. I have had chronic diarrhea since I had a bowel resection in 1989. I usually had to go about 5-7 a day. I have all that under control now with the use of imodium, thank god. How are you symptoms? Is your disease under control? Did your spincteroplasty help your situation? I get really angry too and have struggled with depression since the birth of my son. I am doing better now, but still very emotionally traumatized. It's a lot to deal with having uncertainties about my future health and future continenence, but I can also say that all of this has made me a stronger person. Please tell me more about your story. It seems we have similar stories I totally understand your struggle. I have posted other times, so you can read more about my story.
Hello all,

Zearl, welcome to the discussion. This board is very supportive, and we all benefit from hearing each others' stories.

Kathleen, well, I am so very envious of you! That's terrific that you feel so great. I, too, am a healthy 40 year old whose only health issue is this incontince related to childbirth trauma. However, in addition to the sphincteroplasty, I had the perinealplasty and levatorplasty. My recovery has not been so speedy nor smooth as yours.

I am 8 weeks post op. For the past 2-3 weeks, I have been experiencing leaking after bm's just as I did before the surgery. I have have a couple of non-leaking days earlier this week, but then back to the nightmare. Has anyone's dr ever discussed the possibility of the repair coming undone during the recovery? I am just guessing as to what could be causing this?? Of course, I do NOT want this to be the case, but I am desperately trying to understand what is happening. I'm back to the dr in a few days. Hopefully we will have some answers.

Kelley, how are you? Diarrhea under control?

Take care everyone,
JJ
Zearl,
Welcome. Just like the other ladies have said, you are NOT alone in this horrible situation. I do not have crohn's, however had a very tramatic childbirth 8 years ago. Ripped from end to end, used suction and forceps, you name it I had it. Had no idea that this could possible happen. I have lived with this for years until I finally got the courage up to tell my ob-gyn and he referred me to a colo-rectal surgeon. I will be having a sphincterplasty, perinealoplasty and levatoroplasty in the fall. I am waiting until after summer when my kids are back in school. Don't ever feel like you are the only one going through this, as you can see there is a TON of support on this board and it has helped me tremendously.

I hope everybody is doing well. Keep us posted on your progress and JJ, let us know what the Dr. says the next time you see him.
Mindy:wave:
Jou Jou,

I feel so bad for you. I am glad you are going to see your dr this week. I have heard of the repair coming undone, but it's not that common. I would ask your dr about the internal sphincter muscle and if that was repaired. The internal sphincter, when damaged, is usually the cause of passive incontinence. Becasue you are still having problems, I think your dr would order another utlra sound. As for bulking up your stool, it sounds like you are working really hard and I wish you didn't have to. I use imodium and I titrate it to where I need to be. I take 2 mg a day or sometimes a little more If I need too. Maybe you could try just taking a quarter of a pill and see if that helps but doesn't constipate. Before I was taking imodium, I would bulk up my stool with things like bread, cheese, and bananas and that would help. I put on a little weight though with all the cheese. Also, ask your dr about sacral nerve stimulation. It's not FDA approved yet, but I think it will give you some hope, which is what I think you need now. Dr Parker who started the Pelvic Floor Center here in mpls said that it will become the gold standard of treamtment for fecal incontinence. Also, I belive you can start biofeedback after 6 weeks from surgery. That could help too. I'm so sorry you are still having issues.
Kelley:

I did have incisions between the vagina and rectum and all around the rectum. I am still in pain by the end of the day and have swelling that is quite hard for some reason. I am assuming this will go away. In the morning I feel well. I don't do anything strenuous, but can go about my normal life. I don't know how you can stand it. It was so depressing for me just for four weeks. Two days ago I went for a check up and they had to burn off some tissue that did not adhere to the incision spot so I have a couple small burn spots to add to all this joy. I am happy though because a seem cured to far! I appreciate being able to communicate with you. I don't know anyone who has had this type of surgery.
Kathleen,
Did you have the internal or external or both sphincters repaired?

I do have a stupid question for all you ladies, i was told that my external sphincter was intact with small defect, but that I need the surgery for my internal sphincter. But won't they have to cut the external to get to the internal? Did everyone else have surgery on both or just one sphincter.
JJ: Oh my God. I can't believe that is happening to you. I don't know if I could handle going through all that and having it be unsuccessful. The only thing that my surgeon mentioned that could cause that is tearing of the incisions or infection. I'm sure you were on tons of anti-biotics in the hospital...right? Make sure your doctor explains your condition during your visit. I feel so bad for you.
Hi JJ,
I am thinking of you and praying for you. I hope your Dr gives you some explanation as to why you are still leaking. I would not think that the surgery could come undone so fast and with so much rest, but I have learned that anything is possible with our health.

What kind of diet are you on now? I know you talk alot of fiber and water, but kind of foods do you eat on a daily basis along with the fiber. Are there foods that you are not allowed to eat yet.

Please keep us posted and let us know how you are coping....
Kathleen,

I definitely went through my bouts of depression also. I still am unregular sometimes. This morning I was on the pot for about 40 mins having an excruciatingly difficult soft Bm--go figure. I don't know how something so soft can hurt so much and take so long to get out! I thought I was going to die at the time. The hard areas are probably scar tissue. I have some bands right around my rectum that are still tender everyday. A daily reminder of what I went through 4 1/2 months ago. I had my incision wound site burned or cauterized extensively for about 6 weeks to help my healing. It has finally healed over. Did your insician open up at all?? Both Jou Jou and I had ours dehice, and it is so hard to heal that. I am glad you are doing so great.

Lisa,

I had a 180 degree tear through both my external and internal sphincters. I would ask your question to your surgeon. It is not a dumb question. I think they can probably fix one without the other, but I would hope that since you do have a small tear of the external, that they will fix that too. You don't want that to become a source of problems for you later. Hang in there, I know your date is fast approaching.

Jou Jou,

Thinking about you :angel: Let us know how you make out at the Dr.

Hugs,
Kelley
Lisa,
My Dr. told me that he would repair the external sphincter, not the internal. My defect/tear was from 10 to 2 on a clock, almost half.

Kathleen,
How long are you sitting for, and what kind of a pillow are you using? I sit at a computer all day and just can't imagine going back to work that soon. I am having the sphincterplasty, perinealoplasty and levatorplasty. Do you have to use the bathroom all the time and how do you clean yourself? I hope you don't mind me asking, just trying to get as much information as I can.

JJ,
I am thinking of you..:angel:

Mindy:wave:
Thanks for your replies.
My tear is my internal sphincter, he said from 8-3. Now i know what 8-3 means......dah a clock. He said my external sphincter was 'somewhat' repaired, but I had defects and scare tissue that were contributing. But most of my incontinence seems to be caused by the internal muscles. I have a call into his office to ask, but everytime i call to ask, the nurse just says they will know more when they do the surgery. I was just curious. I feel like I am developing more anxiety just waiting.
Lisa,

My dr fixed my external muscle with no mention of the internal muscle. When I had an ultra-sound post surgery, it showed that my internal muscle was not intact. I am really bummed about that. From what I understand though, and I could be very wrong, the internal muscle is very thin and it doesn't hold sutures well, which makes it hard to repair. Another surgeon I went to said that they generally do not attempt to repair the internal muscle for this reason. So, I am totally confused now. I would definately find out more details about your surgery. Let me know what they say. My only troubles at this point is urgency, but even that's getting better.

One thing I remembered the other day about my surgery was that when the incision site opened up, my surgeon had me rubbing the wound with gauze to get it to heal faster and I think that really helped speed things up. It didn't hurt either which is surprising. He wanted me to get the top layer of gunk off so that new cells could grow. He wanted me to rub until I saw bright red blood(it was just a smear). This wasn't until it was mostly healed though. So I don't think that it would work or feel good if the wound is still deep.
Robyn and Lisa,

Healing by secondary intention is where the wound heals from the inside out. Placing gauze up in the wound causes the layer of internal skin to come off when removed. It serves the same purpose as "rubbing until bloody" which I personally wouldn't recomend doing. This does speed up the healing, as does sitz baths and hydrotherapy. (This is coming from the nurse in me--I have never heard any doctor recomend rubbing a wound with gauze. The packing is what does that--Basically it dries to the gauze and the sloughed off area gets pulled off with the dry gauze. This reveals bright beefy red granulation tissue)
Kelley
I am really nervous now. I have read a lot about the repair of sphincter muscles. It is so controversal really. Some think if the internal sphincter is torn, you can not do any more damage trying to repair it. But some think it is not worth the surgery to try to repair such a delicate muscle. I am just so confused. Has anyone had their internal sphincter repaired, or has everyone just had their external?

He did say in our meeting that he was confident that I was a good candidate for the internal sphincter repair and that he has done hundreds of repairs with a good success rate of 83%. (I never thought I would settle for 83%).

My problem is my external muscle is being overworked and causing muscle spasms and weakness because i have no control with my internal muscles.
I am feeling more and more scared and confused.........
Hi all,

My repair was of both internal and external sphincters. The next morning, my surgeon was so optimistic about the repair and believed that it would be very successful. My appt is tomorrow; I hope there is something he can do for me.

Lisa, ask your dr about how he will get to the internal sphincter. My dr drew me a simplified little picture to show what he would do during surgery. You asked about my diet; it is a regular diet with emphasis on getting 25 g fiber daily. I am small, so it sometimes seems that I am eating so much food to hit that goal. Although there isn't anything that I am not allowed to eat, I find that I often have to forego some things that I really want, so that I have room for the high fiber stuff. For example, I usually cook big breakfasts for the family on the weekend, but I have to go for the high fiber cereal; no room for waffles or eggs. I'd really like to eat a croissant, but instead have to choose the high fiber bread. It's not the worst fate in the world, but right now, it doesn't even seem to be helping, so what's the point? I am absolutely sticking with this high fiber diet for now, though. I'm sure you are anxious, who wouldn't/hasn't been? You've done your homework and made your plans. Have a cocktail and relax.

I used a lot of gauze, and perhaps that did speed up the wound healing after it dehisced (sp?). I could never have rubbed my wound (still can't), but packed it with clean gauze ~10 times a day. Although the incision opened along almost the entire length, my surgeon said it was "superficial" and that the underlying muscle was intact. The deepest opening was just at the back of my vagina, and that area is still not quite completely healed. It's not really open or draining, but red and fragile and so very tender. The rest of the incision looks really good, though, and there is not as much scar tissue all the way down the perineum as I feared earlier. I know I never over exerted myself and I haven't been constipated, so I can't imagine that I could have caused any damage internally. I'll let you know what the dr says. Thank you so much for your supportive responses. I did talk again to another former surgical patient, but she did not have any of these issues after her surgery.

Take care,
JJ
Yes JJ you are right.....I am just spazing out!!

Let us know what the Dr says......
Lisa,

I wouldn't worry too much. Things can't get much worse right???? My surgeon did draw a diagram as well as showed pictures from a book of the actual step by step repair. It was so overwhelming to me at the time that I don't recall much of it now. My repair did include the internal as well as the external muscle. 1/2 (180 degrees out of 360 degrees) was completely torn. It wasn't a little spot, it was huge and deep. I also have nerve damage as well. I am doing great, so don't be too worried. It is in your dr.s hands now. Say a lot of prayers, and be optimistic that you WILL be better. The power of a positive attitude goes a very long way. :) I know you are nervouse. I was terrified to say the least. You need to just come to peace with your decision, and know that you will not get any better if nothing is done. Take care, oh---and stop looking and researching on the internet--There comes a time when you end up just driving yourself crazy.
Kelley
I have reached that crazy point.....

Thank you so much for your support and reading my crazy posts. I feel like there is so much going on that I don't want to miss any information. Now it is time to sit back and wait.....with the internet searching done.
Lisa, Kelley is right-stop researching on the internet. You aren't likely to learn anything new, and you are just adding to your anxiety.

My dr. office called this afternoon and cancelled my appt. Some silly excuse about the dr having emergency surgery. Oh well, I guess I'll be waiting awhile longer to follow up on my issue.

JJ
I need help desperately!!! I have gas incontinence. I have CONSTANT gas and when I hold in my farts the gas seeps out. When I have a bowel movement I don't have to fart for a while but gas still seeps out without me being able to control it. But the thing that makes this all unbearable for me is that it is causing me to have an odor problem. People are very rude and always make comments about how I smell like poop and I stink so I never go out in public. I literally stay in my room all day which is really sad considering that I am only 20 and I should be out having the time of my life. So I am just trying to figure out if any of you have odor problems because of the incontinence and if you do anything to lessen it. I don't know if surgery could help me so that my gas won't escape anymore but I am extremely depressed and I don't know what to do. I have an appointment with a gastroenterologist that is about 3 weeks from today. I plan on discussing the incontinence with him when I go but maybe I should get a referral from my PCP to go to a colon and rectal surgeon since they specialize in this. Anyway, the gas escaping is hard enough but the odor problem is unbearable. Does anyone know of anything that I can do? I NEED HELP!!!
That's a bummer about your dr appt, JJ. That happened to me too once...those darn people who need surgery. Hopefully, they can get you back in within a reasonble time.

It's has not been my intention the give bad advice. When I described the treatment I used to help heal my wound, I suppose it may have sounded strange or even goofy and perhaps I didn't describe it correctly. But I trust that it was the right treatment for me as my surgeon advised it and he is extremely competent and has tons of experience with women healing from this type of surgery. I am not suggesting to anyone to do as I do, I was just relaying my experience and what worked for me.

K-Ann,
I am sorry to hear about your problems and at such a young age. I would say going to your GI first and getting a referral is a good place to start. Do you have crohn's or colitis or have you had some kind of rectal surgery before that would be causing you these problems?

I have heard (although never tried) that charcoal tablets can help control gas odor. Have you ever tried those? You can find them on the shelves at the drug store. I believe Beano may be a brand name, maybe someone else has experience with these. Hang in there, I am sure there is a solution for you.
Robyn,

I did not mean to come across that you were giving bad advise--That was not my intention, I was just trying to explain that packing gauze basically "debrides" the wound the same way. I know there was no way I would have been able to rub my wound like you were advised. The end result is the same, and I am sure everyone's wounds are different. Mine was pretty big, and very tender and still is. You are right about it healing quicker when It is debrided, I just have never heard of it prescribed in quite that manner. I didn't want anyone to be scared.
Kelley
Hello ladies,
My Dr. only mentioned fixing the external sphincter also. He said the same thing that Robyn's Dr. said. I hope and pray he is right. I am so scared about this surgery, I am making myself sick, but after last night I know I have to have it done. Went to my son's baseball game, I know that I was going to have problems before I even left and should have stayed home, but I didn't want to see the disappointment on my son's face. Well, you guessed it, I got home and had a huge accident that I didn't even feel. Went through 2 pairs of undies yesterday and was so depressed. I just hope and pray the surgery is the right thing to do and that I have the success that you all have. I am still waiting on the names of patients from my Dr. as he was gone all last week so I am giving him alittle bit of time. I am going to call on Monday to see what is going on.

Kelley, at what point were you confident in going out in public and being able to clean yourself without the aid of the shower head, etc.

I am hoping to have my surgery in late August, please stay with this board as I will most definitely need everybody's support to get me through.
Mindy:wave:
Hi Mindy,

I was pretty well regulated at about 5 weeks or so. At that point, It was just really tender. I wasn't worried too much about having an accident, but knew if the time was there, that I didn't have the ability to hold the urge too long. I always had a squirt bottle in my purse and charmin wet wipes (which I have been carrying for 5 years!) At this time, I still couldn't sit much and I had my BM's pretty much at 9Am so I worked around that. There were several weeks after that I would count on that 9 am BM to get my day going. I really tried sitting and going at that time every day even if the urge wasn't there, and I was successful most of the time with that. Now, my Bms are not real regular, but I am fine wherever I have to have one, and can majority of the time wait until I get home. It just isn't much of an issue anymore. Keep your chin up, I think this will be worth it for you and if you don't try, you will never know. Did you have both the external and internal defect? Is your dr. only fixing the external? Maybe the reason I was on strict bed rest and liquid diet for so long was because of having my internal and external repaired? I know my dr. was very adamant about no lifting, bed rest, and liquid diet with holding off the BM for as long as possible (9 days in my case) My dr's instructions were a little more involved than the others, and now I am wondering if this is why. I just figured that if both sphincters were torn, that If I was going for the surgery, that all of the damage would be fixed and that is what occurred in my case. I was given a true 6-8 week recovery estimation with it possibly being longer, and I guess that makes sense with having the internal repaired if it is that much more fragile. Just a thought
Kelley
Hi Robyn and thank you for your reply! I have gotten a referral from my PCP to go to a gastroenterologist and I have that appointment in about 3 weeks. I want him to do a colonoscopy to check things out because I know that something is wrong. I have never had rectal surgery so that isn't what is causing it but Crohn's and Colitis are definite possibilities for what could be wrong with me. Do those diseases show up with a colonoscopy or is there some other test that shows that?

As for the odor, yes I have tried CharcoCaps and they did absolutely nothing for my odor because I was still getting comments and looks from people when I would go out in public. I have also tried Beano and Gas-X but neither one took away the gas. I am losing hope really quickly. I try to stay positive but it's hard to. I am hoping that I can get some answers from the gastro doctor I go to in a few weeks. Do you know if diseases like Crohn's or Colitis could cause gas to seep out uncontrollably? Thanks is advance!
Hi all,

My appt is rescheduled for next week. I am pretty anxious at this point, although I don't know exactly what I am expecting him to do or say.

Kaleigh Ann, I am sorry you are having these problems. We have all personally experienced the humiliation of incontinence, of stool and/or gas. You didn't mention if you are regular or not, Since you have temporary relief after a bm, it might be worthwhile to adjust your diet so that you are very regular with a daily bm. Getting adequate fiber (25-35 gm daily) along with adequate fluid intake will help you have daily bm's. As for the odor, I am sure that you are very diligent with your personal hygeine. Remember that odors cling to fabrics, so it will be very important to launder your bed linens and slipcovers, couch cushions, etc very frequently and never wear the same oufit without laundering. Are you lactose intolerant? Lactose intolerance causes a lot of flatulence. I think seeing a gastroenterologist is a good plan; however, be prepared that a lot of doctors will poo-poo your problem and dismiss it with some advice to "eat more fiber" etc. If you aren't satisfied with the visit, seek additional opinions. I had a serious defect of my anal sphincter with incontinence of stool and gas. My surgeon told me frankly ahead of my surgery that he doubted that the incontinence of gas would ever be completely remedied. Since you have never experienced a trauma to your sphincter, hopefully your problem can be diagnosed and fixed. Good luck, I hope you find some relief.

JJ
Does anyone have any idea what the effect of alcohol is on stool consistency? Today, I realized that just about the time I began leaking again, I also stopped having an evening glass of wine (mo in law left that day). Is anyone aware of any possible connection?

JJ
Hi Jou Jou! I forgot to mention that I have suffered since childhood with chronic constipation. But I got Miralax from my PCP and I go everyday when I am on that medicine. The problem is I hold in my farts and some of it seeps out which is where the smell comes from. When I have a bowel movement it takes the farting away for a few hours but I still have gas (not from farts) that seeps out. I have no clue where so much gas could be coming from. And yes, my personal hygiene is just like most people's as far as showering and brushing my teeth everyday. I wear LOTS of body spray and perfume but unfortunately my odor can be smelled over it. As far as doctors, I just had to deal with a gastro doctor who completely dismissed my concerns and said that some people just naturally have more gas. And when I tried to explain that it is 24/7 and I am incontinent he just wrote me off. That is why I am going to a new gastro doctor in a few weeks. Maybe if this doctor doesn't listen to me then I should just go straight to a Colon & Rectal Surgeon. Do you know if digestive diseases alone could cause incontinence as a symptom? Also, my gynecologist did a rectal exam a few months ago and told me I have internal hemmorhoids. And I just read somewhere that hemmorhoids can cause the sphincter muscles to not be able to close completely, thus causing incontinence. So maybe that could be what's wrong. I don't really know. It's very confusing. Thank you for your reply!!
By the way Jou Jou, I found this article about the effects of food and drinks on stool consistency and this is what it said about alcohol:

Some people believe that chocolate and other foods or beverages may cause constipation. This study was undertaken to quantify the effect of potentially constipating foods and beverages on apparently healthy and constipated populations of German individuals. METHODS: A questionnaire asking for the effect of certain foods and beverages on stool form (perceived consistency) was answered by 200 healthy controls, 122 patients with chronic constipation, and 766 patients with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation (IBS-C). RESULTS: Patients with constipation or IBS-C reported altered stool form after food and beverage consumption more often than controls (controls 42.5% vs constipation 52.0% vs IBS-C 57.0%, P < 0.001). Controls experienced hardening of stools less often and experienced softening more often than either constipation or IBS-C patients. When patients were asked which foods or beverages caused constipation (open ended question), chocolate was most frequently mentioned, followed by white bread and bananas. The results of systematic questioning yielded chocolate (48-64% of respondents), bananas (29-48%), and black tea (14-24%) as constipating, while prunes (41-52%), coffee (14-24%), [B]wine (8-30%), beer (14-24%), and smoking (42-70% in those who smoked) were considered stool softeners.[/B] CONCLUSION: Several foodstuffs may exert an effect on stool consistency. Chocolate, bananas and black tea are perceived to cause constipation, while prunes are perceived to soften stools in many people. [B]Coffee, wine and beer were perceived to soften stools in a minority of people.[/B] Cigarettes are perceived to soften stools by about half of the smokers.
K-Ann,

There are many conditions that could cause excessive gas, lactose intolerance, celiac's disease (an allergy to wheat gluten), crohns and colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome to name a few. These could all cause gas, but the leaking I'm not sure. Sometimes when you have crohns or colitis, your perineal or rectal region could have inflammation. This could make it hard for the sphincter muscles to work properly. I wouldn't jump to conclusions though. So seeing a good GI is a great place to start. I have heard of hemmorroids causing some incontinence too. Also, chronic constipation could cause weakening from all the straining, but that is usually something that happens to older people. Keep going to dr's until you find the one that can help you. I went to many before I was diagnosed with crohns. A dr actually told me to go home and take fibercon and see him in a month. That was when I was at my sickest point and all that fiber landed me in the hosptial for emergency surgery. At least after my surgery, I finally got a diagnosis. In your case, I wouldn't leap into any kind of surgery as it's not aways the answer and comes with its own set of risks. Crohns and colitis can actually show up on xrays, colonoscopies, and MRI's. It shows up as inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract from the mouth to the rectum .

JJ- Alcohol actually gives me D. That's me and I am different because of crohns. I went to my colon and rectal surgeon yesterday for advice on the fistula situation and discussed some more incontinence issues. Just out of curiosty and hope for the future if my problems ever return, I asked about sacral nerve stimulation. She said it was going to get FDA approval and be ready this summer for patients to use as a treatment option. I know you don't want anymore procedures, but this one is such a minor, minimally invasive treatment with great results, I thought you should know about it. You should ****** and see some of the articles. It seems to help even in the worst cases of nerve damage and passive incontience. I hope you won't need it though.

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!!! I am going to go out and do some gardenng.
Thank you very much for the useful information Robyn. After I go to the doctor in a few weeks I will let you guys know how it goes and see what you think. I love this board. You guys are all so helpful. Thanks!!
K-ann, Thank you for sharing the article. It seems to fall in line with Robyns' experiences. I guess eliminating the evening wine would not be responsible for softer, stickier stool.

Robyns, thank you for sharing what in your diet helped you "bulK up". I have eaten more bananas since this surgery! I should be able to swing from the tree tops like a monkey. I will keep it up and maybe add a daily piece of bread. And it looks like chocolate would be good. Doesn't it figure that I am probably the only woman on the planet who doesn't really love chocolate? I love cheese, but haven't eaten so much lately because I am trying so hard to choose high fiber things.

I have read some about the sacral nerve stimulation, and it is on my list of things to talk to the dr about this coming week. I'll do a bit more research between now and then. My surgeon is on the leading edge (at least locally), so he should have some good info.

I hope that your recent visit to the surgeon (and how wonderful that you have a woman) helped with the management/remedy of your crohns and fistula. Did you say that the fistula developed as a complication of the sphincteroplasty?

I, too, wish all of you ladies a Happy Mother's Day. I hope it is free from bathroom problems!

JJ
Just out of curiosity, has anybody on this board ever been completely cured of bowel incontinence? (That goes for people who only leak gas as well as people who leak fecal matter.)
Hi K-Ann,

I am fully continent after surgery with no problems what-so ever as far as stool goes. I do have occasional episodes of slipped gas. My doctor told me the surgery probably would not correct the gas situation, but that it might help. I think it has helped somewhat. It doesn't bother me that much because it is a drop in the bucket from what I was experiencing before surgery. I think you are heading in the right direction by having a colonoscopy and ruling out all other bowel diseases. Hope you are on the path to getting some help. Take care.
Kelley
Well, I survived it too! I had my sphincteroplasty and rectocele repair/levatorplasty a week ago. I had a spinal anesthetic and didn't feel any pain, just strange interior tugging and pulling as the muscles were stitched. Hosp stay was 5 days and although I didn't have the obligatory BM there, I passed gas so they let me go home. One problem was the catheter; it was in for 3 days and my bladder muscles really went into spasm so it was hard to pee at first - even still is a little bit. I guess everything down there is assaulted to some degree.

My incision runs from a bit behind the vagina to the anus and is a little ridge. I use an ointment on it as dr prescribed. I manage the minimal oozing and bleeding with gauze beetween the cheeks, or for more comfort, a thin sanitary pad. Question for you experienced ones: is the gauze necessary for debriding, so should I use it all the time?

I'm on a high-fiber diet and finally had a BM 6 days post op - a little playdough extrusion as you all have described before. And these continue now, maybe one every 3-4 hrs. No pain though, just takes time to get out because they are so soft. I'm looking forward to adjusting my diet as needed. I take naps even if I don't think I'm sleepy, and end up zonked out for 3-4 hrs sometimes! I know I need lots of rest in order to heal.

The dr said I could drive if I sit on a pillow (not a do-nut). I am sitting on one cheek at a time now and that gets old fast. But not as bad as incontinence! Thank you all for your suggestions about cleaning and I'm trying to follow them religiously. I am glad I had the surgery and am thinking positive thoughts. I'll stay in touch.
Mary
Mary,
Oh my....were you awake during your surgery! I better be knocked out completly. How is your pain? Are you on any pain medications? Any advice for me, my surgery is next Monday.......very anxious
Mary,
Sounds like your doing great. I would not have wanted to be awake for my surgery. I was on my stomach with my bottom in the air for mine for 3 hours--how were you positioned? I had the same trouble with the urine catheter and actually ended up with 2 UTI's from it. One was caught before I left the hospital, and the catheter was put back in for 3 days because I couldn't pee, and the other one was about 2 weeks after I was home--followed by a nice yeast infection from all the antibiotics. If your bladder is still bothering you, I would take a sample to your dr. Uti's are very common after having a catheter, and that might be what is going on. Be careful that you don't move around too much and split your stitches. The gauze is good for debriding the tissue and keeping it healthy as well as for comfort. Without it, the drainage gets really itchy and can very quickly break down the area. It also helps tremendoulsy with the chaffing from walking ect. I would keep it up. After your healed more, you can graduate to a large cotton ball. That is great that you don't have pain with Bm's. Mine were slightly painful for a long time. I also couldn't sit much at all, but I did carry a small throw pillow with me when ever I went somewhere. Hang in there--Sounds like your doing great.

Kelley
[QUOTE=declansmom;2984290]Mary,
Oh my....were you awake during your surgery! I better be knocked out completly. How is your pain? Are you on any pain medications? Any advice for me, my surgery is next Monday.......very anxious[/QUOTE]

Declansmom, I was aware but very in & out during my surgery. The anesthesiologist talked with me close up a few times, but I couldn't hear conversation in the room. I was prone jacknife & covered. First he fixed the sphincter, then went up further & fixed the rectocele. The dr will have a preference as to anesthesia and if you want to be knocked out, go for it!!! I couldn't move anything from the chest down for 4 hrs, whereas coming out of general anes. is quicker.

I have vicodin for pain but don't need it often. Guess I'm just lucky so far. My pain is only when I sit. When I try to urinate or have a BM, then I feel lots of presure throughout my pelvis as if there's a bowling ball in there. I expect this is temporary,

As for advice, just know that you'll get thru it OK! Drink lots of fluids. I was on no food for 3 days, just IV... then liquid diet one day, then hi fiber foods. What surgery are you having... just sphincter?

Mary
Mary,
It is really good to hear you are doing so great. I am scheduled for sphincteroplasty for my internal sphincter muscle. I re read my med records and the recommendation was to reconnect my internal muscle. I also read where my perineal is very thin, but no one said anything about repairing it. I called to check with the nurse and she said sometimes it is better left alone. So the plan is just a sphincteroplasty. I am excited, but very scared at the same time.

It helps tremendously to listen to everyones posts on this board. I know i can do it and will get through it because I am so prepared thanks to this board!!

Lisa
Mary,

That is awesome that you are doing so well! I'm very glad for you. The pressure that you describe will gradually lessen. I am now at 8 weeks post op and just now feel that I can go through a "regular" day without undue pressure or discomfort.

I had a post op visit today, and it has become apparent that I am/can not fully evacuate the stool when I have a bm. He recommends biofeedback again and also stated that many patients have a "roller coaster" pattern of recovery. I guess I feel somewhat encouraged that some of his other patients have had setbacks and then gone on to a better recovery.

Does anyone have any real life experience in how to achieve a complete evacuation when it's not happening spontaneously/naturally?

Take care, JJ
JJ, thanks for your input re the abdominal/pelvic pressure and difficulty I guess now it's because everything is so inflamed internally and my muscles have to re-learn how to work. The rectocele was repaired with tightening and bunching the muscles (there was no cutting there). So now supposedly I have a straight rectum for once in 30 yrs. Looking forward to info on passing BMs when they are soft.

What are the signs of UTI? It's hard to start the stream, kind of hurts passing the urine, and feels like it's not all emptying.

I had only the external sphincter repaired; is it unusual to have an internal defect without an external one?
Miztee,

Those are all signs of a UTI. Better take care of it so it won't hinder your recovery.
Mary,

I agree, Sounds like a UTI---Get to the dr. before it turns into a kidney infection which can be very serious. Classic uti symptoms--Burning sensations while going, difficulty emptying, frequency, and going only a little bit at a time. There sometimes is an odor also. Hope your feeling better soon.
Kelley
Hi Kelley! I was wondering if you have odor issues from gas, and if you do, how do you deal with it? Because I leak gas and I don't like leaving home because people smell it and make comments. So I'm just curious if you have trouble with that and how do you deal with it so that you can go in public without being embarrassed?
K-Ann,

Sometimes that is an issue, but honestly, after everything I have been through, I don't really pay the gas issue too much attention. My family members know that it is beyond my control, and I have never had anyone make rude comments. Mine is a more of a problem with noise than odor. I try to be as discrete as I can, use the restroom if possible, and just go about my business. I find a little "excuse me" to be appropriate If I know someone heard. Are you taking a fiber supplement? They can cause more gas in the beginning, but should help with getting more of a regular routine going. Sorry I can't offer better advice.
Kelley
Hi Kaleigh-Ann,
I read all your posts and I too have had the same trouble with gas as Kelley. The smell is not really the issue, it is noise and trying to hold it in an office meeting. I think you should focus on not necessarily the passing of gas, but the smell. It sounds like the smell of gas is what is so embarrasing. Going to the GI doctor is the best step. My brother has gas that could kill a bird flying by. It is sooo bad that he went to the Dr. He was diagnosed with something that produces too much acid in his stomach, like GERDS and he takes a pill that counteracts the acid and he is much better and more tolerable. At your Dr appt make sure you open up about the smell although it is very embarrasing.

My heart goes out to you and I know what it is like to be humiliated over something that is not your fault. Hang in there, find a Dr that will get to the bottom of this.
:wave: Lisa
Thanks so much Kelley and Lisa! The sound is not the hard part for me. It is definitely the smell and the comments that I have heard people make about me. I am hoping that I can request a colonoscopy when I go to this new GI doctor and maybe he will be able to find something that is causing this. I have suffered for a long time because of the fact that I was too embarrassed to tell the doctor what was REALLY going on. I would just beat around the bush. But at this point I am so desperate that I am going to lay it all out on the line and just tell the doctor about everything, including the gas and the smell. I hope I can get some answers. I told the last gastro doctor everything and he just blew me off and said it was IBS. I only have about 2 weeks before my appointment with this new doctor though and I hope he is a good one.
Kaleigh-Ann,

There is a product called Flat-D. It is a pad you put in your underwear to absorb flatus odors. It also comes in a chair cushion. You can find info online.
Thank you! I will check into that. I hope there is another way for me to buy it besides just online.
Kellie & Brocallie, you were right... I have a UTI. I'd never had one before, so just figured the spasms from the cath removal were to blame. Now I know, and it's improving with the antibiotics.

Here's a tip to others with a red, raw, or sore external anal area: Desitin ointment. Almost "cured" overnight, and you can use it as often as necessary to protect against stinging diarrhea. Just avoid the incision area until healed. Thanks everyone for all your info and support; my surgery was May 8 and although I still don't sit comfortably (and shouldn't, per MD), I know this is temporary.
Mary
Glad you're on the mend. You'll recognize a UTI next time I'll bet! They are quite "unique."
Hello, I posted a while back but haven't done so in a while.

DeCav
[QUOTE=DeCav12;2993561]Hello, I posted a while back but haven't done so in a while.
I just had my surgery on Thursday, May 18. I had a 4th degree tear and suffered from incontincence. The pain is not bad right now. I am taking Vicodin. I haven't had my 1st bm though I have taken stool softeners. I'm afraid of having my 1st bm. I only stayed overnight and was released the next morning. I hoping the surgery was worth it. I hate to go through that again. I don't react well to anesthesia. I feel the urge to pass gas but I really can't. I don't know how to explain it. I think i may be too tight in that area. I am snacking on prunes right now hoping to have my 1st bm soon so I don't get constipated and strain myself.

DeCav
Hello all,
Mitzee, I'm glad youi're on the mend. UTI's usually resolve quickly. I used a lot of Desitin when I was healing, too. But do you still have diarrhea? After about 10 days of diarrhea, I took one dose of Immodium and haven't had any since. Once the diarrhea stopped, my recovery became a lot more tolerable. If you are having diarrhea, get it under control-you will feel so much better on so many levels. I hope everything is going well and your recovery continues smoothly.

DeCav, I didn't have a controlled bm for many days after my surgery. Meanwhile, there were all sorts of pangs, pressures, pains, etc. I think you can expect some strange sensations in that area for awhile. I am surprised that you were in the hospital only overnight. What exactly did you have done?

Kelley and Robyns, how are you both? My incision is pretty healed except for 1 small area. Sometimes, I feel like I am straining or stretching the perineal area. It feels very odd and uncomfortable though not exactly painful. This happens when I shift my weight while sitting or when I make a quick movement; I'm not talking about jumping hurdles or doing splits. Did or do either of you experience this? If so, does it go away? And did you ever tear anything? I am trying to figure out if this is harmful for me so I can avoid it or if it's just something to get used to. I am continuing to have my same leaking problems. My dr suggested that I give myself a suppository or enema periodically to fully evacuate the rectal vault. I just can't see that being any kind of long term solution. I hope you are both well.

Lisa and Mindy, I am thinking of both of you and your upcoming procedures.

Take care, JJ
Hi DeCav. I also am curious what you had done, since you only stayed overnight. And ya know, that first BM for me - 10 days after surgery - was easy and smooth, since the stool was soft. The anticipation was a lot worse. I'm now almost 2 wks out and I passed a lot of mucous and stool bits prior to the bm so I was wondering what the big event would be like. Are you on a regular diet now? I was on liquid for 2 days, then gradual return to high fiber. Mary (Miztee)
I had a spchintertoplasty done. They told me it was an outpatient procedure and probably would not have to stay overnight but I was nauseous from the anesthesia afterwards that they kept me in the hospital. I had a 4th degree tear. The surgeon told me the repair went well and I was probably going to be 80% or better in that area afterwards. It surprised me when they told me that it was an outpatient procedure but he is a specialist in that area. As for the diet, they did not put me on any specific type. JUst told me to take it slow, it soft, high fiber foods and take stool softener daily. I'm not in a lot of pain surprisingly. I was in a lot more pain when I gave birth and had the 4th degree tear. I actually didnt' take my vicodin dose and took 400 mg of ibuprofen instead and that seems to do the trick. I'm sure I will feel some pain and take the vicodin in a while. I did have my 1st bm and I'm quite disappointed because its kind of loose but not quite like diarahhea. I didn't have any pain though. As soon as I felt the urge , I had to rush to the restroom though. I think I have had the urge to go but the stool was too hard to pass and since I increased my fiber and my stool softener dosage a bit, I was finally able to go.
So glad you're doing well! The vicodin will tend to constipate, so it's good that you can get by on ibuprofen sometimes. Someone on this thread said recovery is a roller coaster, and so far that's been true for me. But at least we're headed in the right direction. :) Mary
Wow, lots of new dialogue since I've been on last. I hardly have a mintue anymore. My little man is in the most demanding stage yet (19 months)!! I feel like I have a household with ten kids instead of the 2 that I have.

Thanks for asking how I'm doing JJ. I'm pretty good actually. I am glad you got in to see your surgeon. Hopefully, the rollercoaster will be on the upswing for you soon. Do you know why you don't have complete evacuation? Is it because the muscle isn't strong enough? Your surgeon mentioned biofeedback, and that helped me alot. I still do my kegels everyday. I do them on my way to work and on the way home. It gives me something to focus on instead of the horrible traffic. You asked about the feeling of straining or stretching in your perineal area, and I did have that same feeling. I also remember strange pulling sensations on the side where I had my tear. All that has gone away for me. It feels like just my normal body now. My rectum still feels a little strange though because have alot of excess skin. My surgeon said she could trim that up for me (sounds kind of gross like I am talking about a thanksgiving turkey or something). You asked me in a previous post about how I got the fistula. It was from the 4th degree tear and poor repair and not the sphincteroplasty.

I hope everyone continues to heal well!!
Hi All,

Just wanted to say. I will respond to questions later tonight--Very busy day ahead--Good luck Lisa--Glad everyone is doing well.
Kelley
I am new to this site and have read most of the posts. I had sphincteroplasty/rectocele/perinium (sp) surgery on April 20th. I am scared to death. I have to be near a bathroom at all times because the urgency is so great and I don't feel I can hold it. I am also having more problems retaining gas than before the surgery. Can anyone tell me if things will get better with healing? The colo-rectal surgeon I used seemed to have great credentials, even authoring portions of medical text books. But when I went for my 2 week post-op exam, he was very please with the sphincteroplasty results, but said I may have to learn to live with the other changes. This makes no sense to me if the surgery was such a success. I go back next week for a 6 week check. I am doing kegel exercises (100 - 3 times a day). I seem to be a little better than at my 2 week post-op check but don't seem to be progressing as quickly as I thought I would. How long does it take to see positive results? I take Miralax and Citrucel every evening so I am having 3 - 4 BMs each day with no difficulty except the retention issue. I've been having terrible anxiety attacks afraid that I will not be able to lead a normal life again. Does anyone have any feedback for me? Thanks
Oh I am so sorry for what you're going through! My surgery was May 8 for the same issues, so I can't give you feedback for long term results... I'm kind of wondering, even for myself, if now that the rectocele is fixed, there's no "pouch" in the rectum to gather stool so it builds up more heavily on the anus??? I have my 2-wk post-op Thursday and maybe I can gather more info to help you. Meanwhile, just know we're all there for you and I hope you can get feedback from some "senior" survivors of sphincteroplasty. Mary:wave:
szsv,

Welcome to the discussion. I'm happy that you posted. Hang in there. You will get better. I completely understand your anxiety and fear and desperation for a little normalcy. I had a sphincteroplasty, perinealplasty, and levatorplasty (and consequential repair of rectocele) in March. At 4 weeks, there was tremendous pressure before bm's and after being on my feet for awhile. I was also never confident being away from home for fear of having the urge for a bm. Would I be able to hold it? Would I be able to clean afterward? etc. The pressure goes away gradually. Somewhere between 6 & 8 weeks, it was gone except when I was on my feet too much. Take it easy and get as much rest as you can. Reclining always relieved the pressure for me.

Why are you taking Miralax? Are your bm's formed or loose? Having 3-4 bm's daily must be exhausting you. Immediately after my surgery, I had diarrhea for about 10 days. It was difficult (impossible at times) to control. It was very very difficult to deal with. I finally took a dose of Immodium and that's when my stools began to slow down some in frequency and slowly, gradually become more formed, with improving control. Now, at almost 9 weeks, they are consistently soft, formed bm's. Usually once a day.

So, my advice: stop the Miralax, recline with your feet up, and keep your chin up. The things you describe will get better.

As far as the longer term success of the surgery, my story is not so optimistic (yet). After 5-6 weeks of recovery, I began leaking stool. There is leakage consistently after every bm. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I am also incontinent of gas a lot. The fiber content of my diet doesn't seem to make any difference to the bm frequency, consistency, etc. Nevertheless, I make sure that I get at least 23 g/day. Just as before the surgery, I can't cut off the bm and can't fully evacuate everything. So, I can now easily hold it 'til I get to the bathroom, but then I can never finish. Tomorrow, I have an appointment for biofeedback.

There are two other ladies who add to this thread who have happier end results and are further along post-op than you or Mitzee or I. Like you, I am afraid that I will never lead a normal life. I can offer you the assurance that the surgical trauma will heal and the urgency and pressure will diminish. As for good functioning, I am desperate for a solution. I am unwilling to accept that this is what the rest of my life will be, but I could just be in denial. There is no reason for me to believe that things will just magically, suddenly improve, and I have done and am doing everything I possibly can. You don't mention any incontinence of stool, so hopefully, your repair is successful and you can look forward to happy days following a full recovery. Good luck and keep posting. You have my best wishes.

JJ
svsv,
I was just wondering if you don't mind me asking if you are from san antonio, texas and who was your doctor? I just had a spcinterplasty with a colo-rectal surgeon who also authored some books and was wondering if by any chance we had the same surgeon. I just had my surgery last Thursday, I am also scared because things aren't going to well right now. I do find that I have more gas and sometimes I feel like I can hold it but most of the times I can't. I do feel like I still have control of the muscle though and havent' really tried to retain gas for fear of hurting myself. I was told not to force or strain myself whatsover.My bms have been painful even though I have been taking kaopectate regularly. I usually have around 2 or 3 bms now and I dread them. Yesterday I sobbed in the shower for about 20 minutes thinking the surgery was a complete waste of time. I hope it gets better.
DeCav, It will get better!! My surgery was a week before yours, and I had the same issues at week one. I did not take a laxative, though, just fiber, and now at week two post-op I have several bms a day but they are soft and easy to pass. Plus I'm passing a lot of mucous inbetween bms, probably because I also had a rectocele repair/levatorplasty. I don't try to retain the gas at this point as I heard it's important to let the muscles rest for better healing. So don't give up hope!!

BTW, I'm 65 yrs young, and you "youngers" will heal faster and better than I. For my age there is an 80% chance my continence will improve, a 15% it will stay the same, and 5% will get worse. Your odds are better than that. Only time will tell.
Mitzee. thank you. Your words have made me feel better. I'm not as depressed today as I was yesterday. I wish you a speedy recovery. I guess I'm just impatient. I have a 19mo that I can't carry and I feel I'm missing out on holding her. Thanks for your encouragement.
DeCav
SVSV- I had my surgery 15 months ago. Basically, I am fine. I had urgency issues too. Even the smallest amount of gas was difficult to hold, especially in the early days after surgery. You can click on my name and look at past posts. I still had some urgency at 6 months so I started biofeedback. It took about 4 months to see improvement though. It has really helped. I don't really have the urgency that I used to. I'm living a very normal life aside from all the worrying. Don't worry too much about what your dr. says about living with new symptoms, they say that because they can't guarantee perfection. My dr said some things to that worried me, but haven't come to fruition. The healing takes time, be as patient as you can!
Thank you so much to everyone for their support it is extremely helpful. I was taking the Miralax because my GP told me to take it. Yesterday I had diarrhea and that is when I decided to cut back on the Miralax. The bms have not been well formed, so I think I was overdoing it with the fiber and Miralax. I have very small amounts of seepage occasionally. It's discouraging, but not as frightening as the urgency and inability to hold gas. I think I was expecting miracles. I'm hoping to get down to one bm a day and have some predictability with it. I appreciate the advice on taking it easy. I think I've been trying to do too much too soon. One of my major panics is that my son is getting married in Hawaii on July 21st and I thought I would be completely healed by then. But with what all you are saying, that might not be the case. I can only hope.

Thank goodness for this site.

Szsv
Hi K-Ann. I have the same problem!!! Gas leakage all the time & it is soo smelly. I've talked to a gastro & a colorectal about it...and they have no idea. Unbelievable. So, I've done some research online. I've found that taking a refrigerated probiotic right after meals REALLY helps with the amount of gas I have....and if I'm not having as much gas, then the smell doesn't matter so much. I figure that at least it's a step in the right direction. If you go to a natural foods store, you can find the probiotics...find one that has at least 6 billion live cultures per "serving"....and I use one that has bifido (something) and lactobacillus (something). They're a little on the expensive side ($43/bottle), but well worth it!
I'd like to hear the positives again too (about why we should have the surgery)!

Everyone keeps talking about the roller-coaster post-op...but what about the roller-coaster before? One day I've completely made up my mind that I'm going to have the surgery, then the next, I'm terrified that it'll do more harm than good.

I had my appointment with my new urogyny. He was very kind, caring and considerate. He even held my hand when I broke down while explaining how I just want a normal life again. He explaind that I would need a sphincterolpasty and a perineoplasty (I just thought I needed the sphincter repaired). I took it as good news and bad news. Good that he was more knowledgable than my previous doctor to recognize I needed more work, but bad that I needed more work done. UGH! He told me to think about having the surgery & then let him know, and he suggested I wait till after the summer so that I can enjoy it with my 22 month old son. So that means I have the whole summer to freak out about it. Some days I feel like I can handle things how they are...although, I've been resorting to avoiding eating...especially when I'm at work so that I don't have to worry about having it come out at an inopportune moment. But then other days, I'm crying in the bathroom stall...

By the way, I feel like every time i post, i only talk about myself. Mostly, that's because I can't figure out how to view everyone else's posts while I'm writing mine. And I have such a short-term memory that I can't remember what everyone else has said by the time I go to write a response. Sorry!
Hi everyone,

There is alot of differences between probiotics supplements many are destroyed by heat during shipping & handling and are also destroyed by stomach acids.
So, take them on an empty stomach or at bed time.

All Probiotics donot work the same for everyone. So, you may have try different ones to find what works best for you and the food that you eat-- your diet as such.

One of the best is Primal Defense by Garden of Life that also is best taken on an empty stomach. Also, Culturelle & PB-8.

Another thing to consider is that odor is helped by the Chlorophyll found mostly in green veggies. I know that green veggies are not very good for a person with your type surgery but you can get -- Green Phyters-- from the Vitamin Shoppe that contains chlorophll, barley juice, wheat grass, alfalfa leaf concentrates that also includes chlorella & spiriulina. I take it daily just because I don't eat enough green veggies daily.

Eating too much sugary & salty food and drinks including sodas that contain corn syrup will mess with & interfere with digestion and cause odor. So, try to reduce your sugar as well as your salt intake including pizza.

Unfortunately most GAS is a result of swallowing air and everyone is different.
You may want to do a search --- Controlling Intestinal Gas--- on a search engine. Lots of pointers on foods that cause gas and other Tips.

Digestive Enzymes also help-- I like and use Omega Zyme, Essential Enzymes and several others with meals.

I wish ya'll well---Harry
rm75,
Short term memory is improved greatly by taking 3 grams of Omega3 Fish oil daily-- it also helps moods. I like and use Carlson brand best!
RM75,
I feel the same way you do. I need a sphicteroplasty, perinealoplasty and levartoplasty (sp). There are days when I think it will be okay, then I have a bad 2 weeks where I just cry because I am so sick of living this way and having it interfere with my daily activities. Even going to the store is stressful. That is when I just want to have the surgery the next day. My surgeon also told me to let him know when I have made my decision. I have decided to wait until after summer to spend time with my 2 boys and husband. There is no way I can have the surgery and plan on going on vacation in July with the recovery period being as it is. This board has been a huge part of making my decision and keeping me sane (so to speak). I think I am more than prepared, just because of listening to the ladies who have gone through with the surgery. I know everybody is different, but I think the majority of it is the same with everybody.

I hope all the other ladies are doing well and recovering, I think of you often.

Lisa, I have been thinking of you, let us know how you are when you are feeling up to it :)

Mindy :wave:
Hi everyone,

First of all--what an idiot I am--I posted a huge long post to everyone the other day--took about 30 mins to write it all with some great info and forgot to click post before closing out and lost it all!! I was so mad, and I feel bad because everyone seems to be more down than before. Cheer up. I know how hard this is for everyone. I cried almost every day before surgery, and had major ups and downs through the whole process. I wouldn't leak one day, and instead I would convince myself that I was ok and didn't need the surgery. The next day I would leak horrible and just cry and feel sorry for myself. I think that having this surgery was the best thing I could have done for myself. I went into the surgery knowing full well that I might not have a 100% improvement, but finally convinced myself that if I just continued on the way I was, that there would surely not be any improvement. I know this is scary, but we all deserve to live normal lives free from this horrible problem. All I can do is provide a little bit of hope for you all that you can get better. I know that everyone has not had the same success as I have, but you need to be as positive as you can and be prepared for the worst, and hope for the absolute best. This is how I went into surgery. I knew I was trying to fix the problem the best that I could, and I prayed a lot that things would go well. For me, I have a completely normal life now. No leaking or smearing, or incomplete evacuation at all. I am however having major issues with other parts of my health and I feel the same desperation as you all in that area of my life. I was at the hospital yesterday all day having tests done and am now on 5 different medications to help with major pain that I have from an auto-immune connective tissue disease. I too get down all the time about my health on my bad days, and feel great on my good days and try to convince myself that I don't have a chronic disease. It is a very normal coping mechanism. What you need is the support to lift you back up. When I was going through all of this Decav, I also had an 18 month old son who would cry at the bottom of the stairs..."MOMMA" for me when I was on bed-rest. I know how you feel. I couldn't pick him up for 5 weeks, but did a lot of snuggling in bed and reading books with him, and playing dinosaurs. I actually think I spent more time with all my kids because they thought it was fun to have movie night in mommas bed, and breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed with mommy! It is hard, but you will be better soon.

As far as the urgency goes, Yu will have that for a while, but it does get better, and now 4 months post op, I can hold all urges without any difficulty. I too sometimes have some problems even at my stage. I forgot to take my fiber for 3 days because I was out of my routine and I had a 3 hour (no kidding) experience on the toilet with constipation the other day. It was awful. I made myself bleed again, and it is a constant reminder that my life has changed and includes fiber on a daily basis. For those of you who are experiencing some leaking, szsv, I think that eliminating the miralax is a good idea--That is what I wrote in my earlier deleted post. I think you are doing fiber overload and may see some improvement after experimenting with that a little. I know I felt like I had to take what the dr. told me too in the beginning, but I soon learned that my body was mine, and maybe a little tweaking here and there from the dr.s orders would be best for me. I had good success when I did that. I would not recommend taking any laxatives unless you have not had a BM or feel pressure, fullness and bloating. I would stick with regulating your diet and fiber intake as well as lots of water. Also, if you feel like you are getting in trouble with constipation or not going, Milk of magnesium is very gentle and worked for me to get things started without giving me major diarrhea. On the other hand, a 1/2 dose of immodium may be in order if the opposite is occurring.

Everyone, hang in there--Give yourselves time to heal. It is a long process with bumps in the road, little setbacks, and lots of revisions. Play around with your diets and fiber, and most of all, think positive! You had this surgery in hopes of getting better, and if you didn't go ahead with it---your daily problems probably would not have improved. I think of you all often and know how hard it is.

Lisa--:angel: praying for you

Hugs to all,
Kelley
Hey rm75! I will try some probiotics but does it matter if I get some that aren't so expensive? I don't really have money to pay 43 dollars for one bottle of probiotics. And can you suggest any probiotics by name that are really good ones? Thanks!
Kelly,

Thanks for the input on the Miralax. I did stop it 2 days ago and have had much less urgency. I will have to increase my fiber though because I have had harder bms since stopping the Miralax. It really is a balancing act. I'm still pretty discouraged about the gas issue. It seems to be a very common issue. How do you all handle it when you are out in public? Also, several of you have talked about biofeedback. What is the procedure like and how long/many times did you have to do it. Did insurance pay for it?

Thanks to everyone for all their candor. I wish I would have found this site before I had my surgery so I would have known a little more about what to expect. When the doc said I would be recovered in 6 weeks, I thought this was going to be so easy......well, it hasn't been. I have less control over the gas than I did before. I really try hard to make it to the bathroom to expel the gas, so that I can "train" myself for when I'm in public, but I'm not having much success and feel so discouraged when I can't make it. I have really been depressed. I was having such bad panic attacks over this, I asked my psychiatrist (I have major depressive disorder and bi-polar II) for something. She Rx'd some Klonopin for about 5 days. That did help break the cycle somewhat. But after reading most of the posts, I'm finding that this is probably going to be a year long process, not 6 weeks. I too have a wonderful husband who is very encouraging, but my stress level has been difficult for him as well, seeing me so panic stricken. We are empty nesters, so I don't have to take care of little ones while recovering. I don't know how you young moms are doing it all.

Thanks again to everyone for their input.

Suzan
DeCav12,

I live in the Ft. Worth area, so we most likely did not have the same doc. Mine was Dr. Sehapayak. Hope you are doing better.

Suzan
Szsv,

I do still have some gas issues, but it is better than right after surgery. Also, when I took citrucel after my surgery, I was incredibly gassy. I switched over to benefiber and I like it much better. After your body gets used to it for several weeks, the gas will decrease. My gas usually alerts me that I need to have a BM. When I am successful with that, the gas levels decrease. My issue is with noise more than smell. Sorry to be so graphic, but it is kinda like little gun shots going off-LOL! It can be embarrassing, and most of the time now, I can hold it in enough to decrease the sound a little bit. As you adjust your fiber intake, that can make you more gassy also. The control will get a little bit better as you heal more, but like I said, I still have some issues with it. I guess I have just resorted to the fact that the gas issue is much more tolerable than the leaking issue. Everyone has gas, and everyone is guilty of passing and running away from it, or blaming something else. I hope you can find a way to cope that works for you. As far as all of my family goes, they know it occurs and it is beyond my control, it's the strangers and co-workers and such that I have to worry about. I am guilty of being bloated and sometimes going to the comfort of the bathroom to just release it all. Sometimes I make it, and sometimes I only make it around the corner so hopefully no-one will notice. Take care, sending you healing wishes.
Kelley
Kelly,

Thanks again for the info and support. When did you feel comfortable going out in public? Can you tell me about the biofeedback you did and what it was like, if you don't mind sharing that.

Thanks,
Suzan
Hello everyone,
I had a very bad day yesterday. I was constipated and it was horrible. I felt the urge to go but would just sit on the tiolet and felt like I was having a bm but when I looked down my bm was very small probably an inch long. (Sorry for the graphics) I was like that all day and the pressure was buiding down there. I knew that I had to go but couldn't and the stool softeners weren't helping. I made an appt with my surgeon's nurse and she checked out my bum and thank goodness no infection. I started crying when she spread my cheeks apart to check. The pain was that bad. She told me to increase my stool softener dosage and drink more fluids and juices. Kelley was right when she says to do what you feel is right for your body. I decided to take some laxatives after the increase in stool softeners did not help. I finally had a bm last night and it was such a relief!! I feel so much better now and the pain is gone. I actually made it on ibuprofen alone today and I feel good today. By the way, yesterday was one week post surgery. I hope everyone is doing well.
By the way, I noticed some leakage, not necessarily a smear but very light. Do you guys think its the laxatives since it made me have a diarrhea episode. Did any of you have this happen to you?
Hi DeCav, the same thing happened to me but my "constipation" turned into a soft fecal impaction - like a big football in my belly - and the doctor had me do quite a routine to bust it loose (pardon the image, but on this thread, it's OK!) Fortunately for you, the laxative at the right time did the trick! No fun, but what a relief, I know. Since my impaction I've had clear mucous leakage too, actually kind of with gas or when I stand up. I think my colon has been under assault from the initial prep, surgery, diet, impaction, etc. it just takes time to get normal again. I also have developed a cutaneous yeast infection around the anus, partly as a result of the antibiotics for the UTI, and also from the purifying of the colon they had to do to me before and at surgery. I just believe that eventually if given a chance, our bodies will "right" themselves without too many meds, gimmicks, tricks, gyrations, and supplements. Hang in there, trust yourself, and keep on doing what you think is right for you.

Thank you everyone for your support and shared experiences...
Mary
DeCav12,

I definitely found out that using laxatives caused some seepage. There is a fine line between not being constipated and loose stools due to laxatives. I'm still working on finding the right combination. Sorry you had such a bad day. I was chronically constipated before the surgery, but still leaked. Now with all the fiber I'm taking, not really having that problem. Kelly mentioned I might want to stop taking the Miralax, which I did, but got a little constipated. So I tried 1/2 a dose for 2 days and had some leakage again. So, I'm certain now that it's the Miralax. Hope this helps.

Suzan
Hi everyone,

Suzanne,

I actually did not do any bio-feedback so I can't offer any information on that. I know that Jou Jou did try a little of that before surgery and is considering going again post op. Maybe she can help you out. It was about 5 or 6 weeks that I felt like if I had to go to the bathroom in public-I would survive. I had pads with me, a squirt bottle and charmin moist wipes in my purse just in case. Things only got better from there.

I can't remember who wrote what so I will address this to everyone.
I also had 3 incidences of fecal impaction within the first 2 weeks post op. That was not fun at all. My diet was a bit different from what I remember you all saying. I was on a clear liquid diet for 9 days followed by a full liquid diet for 2 weeks after that. (creamed soups, applesauce, puddings, oatmeal) In those first few weeks, I would feel bloated, my stomach was big and somewhat hard, and I just had a stomach ache. I would take milk of magnesia 1 Tbsp and drink a lot of water to help pass the stool. I also had liquidy soft leaking stool that pretty much fell out of me for 2 to 3 weeks. After that it started firming up. My dr. never wanted me to take stool softners so I just did the benefiber, and milk of mag when needed. I would usually have a few loose stools with the MOM, but it was short lived and relieved the impaction. This is when I started playing around with my fiber and diet a little more to help regulate my stool better. I didn't have any more issues really after that. I did try to eat a bowel of oatmeal or raisin bran everyday and that seemed to help me. I also got several UTI's and was on multiple antibiotics which also caused me to get a lovely vaginal yeast infection. My dr. gave me a diflucon pill that cleared it up right away. My progress was slow over about 2 months or so. First I remember being able to feel the urge to have a BM which was new for me--It had been a long time since I could feel that. Then I started testing how long I could hold it--A minute or 2 before making it to the bathroom. It gradually got better, and no I didn't always make it in the begining. I had the same smearing issues, and slight going before making it to the toilet, but it got better and better, until I had complete control and evacuation. As you have probably read from my earlier posts--I still struggle with BM's occassionally (the wonderful 3 hour one the other day) and I think we all need to remember that this is going to be a lifelong change for all of us. I just came back from visiting a friend 2 1/2 hours away, (we went to see riverdance--another 2 hours sitting) and that car ride and my tender bum is still a reminder for me of having this surgery 4 1/2 months ago. Hopefully some day, I will be able to forget about it, but it is still fresh for me right now. Hope everyone continues to improve. Keep in touch :)



Also----Please don't forget the gauze between the cheeks for comfort from drainage and chaffing. It really really does help!! Change it often. This was the single most important thing that made me feel better. Also, the pain meds and inactivity cause constipation so drink lots (I did 100 ounces of liquid a day) and short walks to get your gut moving again. Take care

Kelley
Hey everyone,
I feel good today. I'm glad to hear that most of you are doing better also and recovering nicely. This is day 10 post surgery and I stopped taking my pain meds on day 9. I feel I no longer need them and are virtually pain free and I'm up and around a lot more around the house. I even drove to the corner store (5 blocks away) to pick up a long time craving (chips)! I don't recommend this to everyone but it's virtually traffic free and I miss driving! I don't think I would do it again until I get the ok from the dr after my 2 week checkup. My bum is also still tender when I sit too long or stand too long and so I have to alternate constantly. I'm am still taking the stool softeners just in case but stopped taking the laxatives. I seem to be doing well as far as my bms since I stopped taking the vicodin. I'm still watching what I eat though and trying to eat soft foods as often.
Hang in there and I want to thank you all for the encouraging words.
DeCav
DeCav,

Glad to hear your doing well!
Kelley
Kelly,

Thanks for the input. I've done some research on biofeedback, post op, so I have a good idea what would happen. I just want to make sure I'm doing the Kegel exercises correctly and if they can offer any advice on what more I could do to improve my situation. I've read a lot about the Kegel exercises, and every author seems to have a different method of repetitions. So, I just settled on one and will stick with that if I continue to improve.

I'm doing the same thing you did with feeling the urge to go and seeing how long I can wait. It's much better than 3 weeks ago. Also doing the same thing with the gas issue. The gas issue is more difficult. I can stand in one place and hold it somewhat, but then if I try to walk, I lose it. That is going to take a LOT of work.

Thanks to everyone for all their great input. This message board has been a God-send to me. I read that only 0.6 of the population have this problem. The stats get higher with people over 65. And since it is such a difficult issue to talk to anyone about that hasn't experienced it, everyone's candor and frankness about their own experiences is wonderful.
Hi everyone!

Kelley, I can't even begin to thank you for sticking around after your surgery to help the rest of us through this. It means the world...I know to me...and I'm sure to all of us to hear from someone who is going through/has gone through the same thing.

Mindy, glad to hear that you've decided to wait till the end of summer to have your surgery so you can enjoy your family. Have you picked a date yet? I just spoke with my doc's nurse on Friday. I asked her if I could have the names of some of the women who have had this surgery with my doc & if I could speak with them. She's getting back to me on that. I also chose October 16 for the surgery...but already, I'm going to have to move that up a week because of a scheduling conflict with my hopeful caregiver (gotta love mom!).

K-Ann, I hear ya about not having the money to spend on $40 probiotics...I feel like I've spent a small fortune trying to cure my stomach. Just this past January, I spent $250 on an intestinal cleanser (Colonix). It seemed to work wonders at first, then kinda fizzled out...and my stomach went back to the same-old, same-old. But I'm willing to try anything to find something that will work! The probiotics that I'm taking now are made by Ethical Nutrients & they're called "Intestinal Care DF". They're a combo of bifido & lacto. They seem to be working for me...on most days...but like Harry said, something else may work for you. Talk to your local health food or organics store to see what they recommend.

:wave:
Rose
Roise,
I am having trouble pin-pointing when I want my surgery. I orginally had wanted it the end of August, when the boys go back to school, but a group of my close friends are planning a "girls trip" to Chicago the end of September, so I am torn. Although, I don't know if going would be a good idea. I might be miserable :mad: I really want it done as soon as I can, so it will probably be the end of August. I too am waiting on some names of some of my Drs patients that have gone through with this surgery to get their take on recovery, etc. Let me know after you talk to some of your Dr.'s patients, as I will be interested on their stories.

I hope everybody had a great Memorial Day weekend. It was hard to get up and go back to work this morning..

Everybody keep us up-to-date with your recoverys. I hope everybody gets checking this board as I will need your help and support the end of August.
Mindy:wave:
Hi all, I hope everyone is doing well. There are so many of us now who have had the surgery and are posting that I have quite lost track of who is experiencing what and when your surgeries were. My own surgery was 9-10 weeks ago, and I feel very normal as far as the incision site (still a bit sore sometimes and one small tender, fragile area-I think by around 7 weeks is when I felt like the healing was nearing completion) and ability to control any urges when out and about (I first ventured out around week 4, and felt comfortable with it around week 6.) I leak after every bm, just as I did before the surgery, and I also have a hard time controlling gas. Like someone else said, I can often control it if I stand very still (and clench my butt), but if I make any movements, I lose it. I have 3 young children, so there really isn't a lot of standing still. It embarasses me and the kids, too, but I don't know what to do to stop it. I have been on a high fiber diet since week 4, and though the gas varies, I could not honestly say that it has decreased since getting used to the diet. I went for 2 biofeedback sessions before the surgery and 1 just last week. They are expensive and not covered by (my) insurance; but the cost & coverage likely varies. Each session lasts about an hour and consists of mild electrical stimulation via a probe that is inserted into the rectum. It isn't painful. After about 10 minutes of stim, the nurse leads me through a series of exercises (contract your sphincter, bear down, relax, etc) while we watch a computer screen which shows how the muscle is working. In addition to managing my diet and doing kegels, I am also supposed to be working on a sort of bowel training regimen, where I train myself to have a bm early each morning. I have never seen any discernible benefit from the biofeedback, but robyns has mentioned having better results. My newly attached muscles are very weak, and I have never been able to squeeze the sphincter in isolation. When doing kegels, I end up squeezing my cheeks, thighs, everything. It's the only way I can contract anything. I am going to continue for at least one more session because I don't know what else to try to correct my problem.

One thing that you all might try is blowing out very hard (like inflating a balloon) several times when you are having a bm. It helps the muscles in your pelvic floor to relax or contract or something to expel the stool. It hasn't prevented my leaking afterward, but it has definitely helped me to evacuate more fully than I previously could.

Kelley, you have mentioned several times about being in the bathroom for hours. Is that because of inability to pass hard stool or soft stool? If you don't mind me asking, what are you doing for that length of time? Relaxing, pushing, waiting? I ask because I am still trying to find something, anything to help me improve my ability to get it all out and stop the leaking!

Take care, JJ
Hi Jou Jou,

I am sorry, you are not having a better success with everything you have gone through. My heart really goes out to you. My problem is that for my autoimmune connective tissue disorder I am on 5 different medications including steroids. I think the prednisone is really constipating me. Everyday I am having issues with very bulky hard stools. I have some of the same issues with pushing a BM out as you do. I have attributed it to my nerve damage. I strain and strain and it seems like sometimes I do acrobatics on the toilet to have a successful BM. Lately, I have been getting it to the outlet, and it gets stuck there. Because of this, I have no choice but to sit and pray to God that I can push hard enough to get it out. It usually takes 30 mins to 3 hours! I am now adding a stool softener back into my routine to see if that doesn't help. I have drinking a lot more water, and increased my fiber. My diet is not as good these days because I am trying to be careful and not gain a ton of weight on these steroids. I just started with the stool softener so I hope that helps. I am definitely sore in my rectum again, bleeding on and off, and praying that I don't cause any more harm or get any hemorrhoids. I am trying desperately to gain better control. It is crazy to go from one extreme to another. I hope things get better for you.
Kelley
Kelley,

How awful that you are dealing with such problems from the auto immune disease. We are both too young for this! Lately, I have been using a pediatric glycerin suppository (I happened to have them on hand for an incident with one of my kids) on occasion to help me more fully eliminate. My surgeon assured me that it would not cause any harm or dependency. Maybe that might help your situation. The other thing that I have kind of discovered on my own is that it seems to sometimes help have a bm if I lean all the way forward 'til my chest is on my thighs (toilet acrobatics, maybe you know some other tricks). None of this has eliminated my leaking problem but sometimes seems to help "get more out". Thanks for your response and well wishes. I also hope that things get better for you soon. Take care,

JJ
Jou Jou,

Thanks for the info--I had to laugh because I know exactly what your talking about. I already do those laying down, up on one cheek, then on the other, stand up, sit down, feet up, feet down--you name it acrobatics! Unfortunately, I think the stress of the rectal surgery is what did me in and put me into a huge autoimmune flair. Hopefully things will get better. I hope you start to see some improvement with the biofeedback. Hang in there.
Kelley
Hello Ladies,
I too can say I have survived sphincteroplasty too….barely. I am now 8 days post op and struggling with impaction I think. I saw my Dr today for follow up and she said it seems soft, but it will take time because i am still so swollen. In the meantime, I am really sore and feel so much pressure to have a BM, but nothing will come. I too have that horrid opening I hear JJ and Kelley talk about. It is pretty big, but Dr said not to worry. I am switching to 600 mg of Ibuprofen and backing off my Vicadin now. I have had a lot of pain with my surgery. Hard to move even or sleep.

They released me after 6 days in the hospital, I now think I should have stayed longer. We drove 7 hours home okay. But the next day I started vomiting for not eating and drinking enough. I ended back in the ER for fluids for dehydration. So make sure you drink A LOT of fluids after surgery.

I am very depressed these last two days. Really wanting to have a BM to relive the pressure of going. I also find it hard to urinate. Did anyone else find that hard? I have to really relax and concentrate to let go.

My Dr did a sphincteroplasty on internal and external sphincters and also he said he had to take muscle from my pelvic floor and scare tissue to fix the internal. He said it was really hard to get to and it took him longer than expected, but he thinks I should have very good results with the extent of damage.

Any advice on having my first BM? I think i am normal compared to everyone else's past posts. My stool seems hard, but I am on laxatives, Milk of Mag., Citrate drink, very low fiber diet, lots of water, coffee, small walks….anything else?

It is soo great to have this board! I am really struggling through this. I do have my mother by my side taking care of my son and helping my husband keep things together. But, this surgery has brought back a lot of suppressed emotions from having my son….

I will have to take more time later to catch up on all the new posts……take care…….Lisa
Lisa--Congrats

I have been thinking and praying for you. First off. You may have a urinary tract infection. It is very common after having the catheter in your bladder. If your bladder feels sensitive--sort of irritable, you are having trouble passing a large quantity of urine, or if there is any burning, or frequency involved, get a sample to your doctor. I had 2 post op followed by a yeast infection. You could also be just swollen and irritated, and that inflammation can cause you to not be able to go but it is better to get it checked out. As far as your impaction, I struggled with this on 3 occasions during the first 2 weeks post op. My dr. didn't help a whole lot, but I knew I was impacted. Bloated, belly, stomach ache. Drink lots of water. Try everyday to sit and go. If you hold it, it will get worse. Take your time and be patient. It could also be a little from apprehension about it hurting. I took back to back doses of 1 Tablespoon milk of mag, along with 1 tsp benefiber twice daily and about 100 ounces of water daily. I also ate oatmeal and rasion bran, or shredded wheat to help. I kept taking the milk of mag cautiously until I was able to go. Be careful, there is a very fine line line between impaction and diarhea. Chances are the initial stool is constipated, but what is farther in may be loose already. I wish you the best. Take it easy, and don't forget the gauze between the cheeks. Your surgery sounds similar to what my doctor did with taking additional muscle from the perineaum to build everything up. That is what make the muscle stronger. Hang in there. Lots of sitz baths 4 times a day help with the would healing--and no wiping. Squirt or spray off to clean. Take care.
Kelley
Lisa,
It is so good to hear from you. I have been thinking and praying for you everyday. You have gone through the surgery, now on with the recovery and with this board, I believe we will all get through this. Did you have a BM before they had you leave the hospital? Take it one day at a time, you will be just fine :) . You are not alone..

Kelley and JJ,
I too have a very hard time extraction everything from my BMs. I have never been regular and somewhat always on the constipated side. I have always had trouble with regularity. I maybe go every 4 to 5 days. I have found that if I press on my belly under my rib cage and sit way forward hunched while on the toilet, it makes my bm's come out more. I think it gets your colon going to get the bm out?? Sometimes it works and sometimes I feel like I am on the toilet for hours.

Kelley,
Do you think that the taking muscle to build up the perineaum is the procedure that is called the perinealoplasty? I too am having that done. Also, hang in there with your auto immune problem, I have been thinking of you.

Talk to everybody soon,
Mindy
Hi Mindy,

Yes, that is the perinealplasty. It builds up the wall somewhat. I really feel like A lot of my issues with pushing power are directly related to my nerve damage. I feel like I can strain and push and I get much better results on one side, and I feel like I can push and push on the other side with no progress. My doctor said it would be a concern. My sphincter is so tight, (in a good way) but it is hard to expel the bulky stools. I don't think there is anything that I can do to better feel and push with the nerve damage. Oh Well.
Kelley
Hi Lisa, so good to hear from you. I am a week ahead of you on recovery, so maybe I can give you some insights too, as Kelley and Mindy did. I agree that you might have a UTI - get it checked out. Also, it's almost impossible to urinate when you have an impaction, soft or hard. Before my impaction was diagnosed, I went 24 hrs without urinating and that can be dangerous. (I finally could urinate standing up in a warm shower! seemed to relieve the pressure). I had a soft impaction and it was nothing I could clear by myself. It felt like everything was swollen inside my whole abdomen, and I could only squeeze out 1" soft pieces of BM and that was with much difficulty. Had it been hard, I would have been back in the hospital. It surely made me feel depressed and discouraged too. The Dr. had me do this routine: Two Rx enemas of cottonseed oil and liquid Colace, each retained for 30 mins. Then 6oz. citrate of magnesia by mouth, 8oz water, and finally a Fleet enema. What an afternoon, but I virtually exploded the blockage out and I had diarrhea for 12 hrs afterwards but it was worth it to get rid of the impaction without having to be hospitalized. I hope by now you have passed some of it; if not, please call your doctor again. Let us know your progress! How wonderful you can have your mother there, and a helpful husband.

Kelley, JJ & all, yes I think we have become experts at toilet acrobatics and gymnastics! For me, leaning forward for a few mins and then going upright or a little backwards helps sometimes. Also deep breathing, and sometimes pressing gently on the cheeks near the anus helps - but be careful not to stretch or put pressure on the incision(s).

Kelley, I also have an autoimmune disorder - Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Giant Cell Arteritis, but I didn't have a flare, thank goodness. Good luck with keeping yours in check. Prednisone helps with inflammation, but also delays healing. I'm down to 3mg now. Has adding the stool softener and more fiber & water helped you get softer stools?

JJ - re the Kegels... my Dr had me start them at week 2, trying to isolate the anal sphincter (not primarily the muscles around the urethra). I find it's easy to do them just when I wake up in the a.m. and just before I fall asleep. I'm in bed, totally relaxed, and for me I can contract and hold the muscle without engaging too much of the cheeks or abdomen. During the day, all the other muscles want to be in on the action! I don't know why. Suzan, how are you doing with your Kegels? I agree every Dr. has a different approach. Mine says slowly contract 5 secs, hold 5 secs, slowly relax 3 secs. 20 reps 5x a day.

Well, this is too long already, but I have time to respond today, so I did! Actually I'm trying a new method: typing this into a word processing program while looking at your posts, then copying & pasting into quick reply box. Hope it works!
... Mary
Hello! I am just joining and want to first say thank you all for sharing your stories. I am 2 weeks away from a sphincteroplasty by a colorectal guy--my first one was 8 months ago by an obgyn and did not hold. I'm fearful, to say the least and didn't realize, until reading some of your posts, how long the recovery time was going to be. I arranged for someone to come help with my son for about 3 days and here i'm reading 4 weeks!! before people started going out of the house!!
I'm still trying to decide if it's worth it or not. My main problem is controling gas ( I'm okay with stool most of the time) but this makes me not able to go to any yoga classes, run with anyone, etc. But what if I go thru all this and it's still the same and maybe plus other new problems?
Hard decisions!
Robin
Hi, Robin, Welcome! Yes, hard decisions. For me, it was worth a chance, as there was such an urgency, sometimes incontinence, and that was not OK. I joined 2 days before my surgery and it was so helpful to read the posts. I too had planned on going out, driving, etc. much earlier than the posts indicated. In reality, I was able to drive at 2 wks and take walks, do my simple yoga, etc. But not over-doing it. I can get out and not worry about incontinence although I still leak a bit after a BM. I still (at 3 wks) get tired and do take a nap every day. Not back to my full energy level yet. I don't have little kids - I'm sure I'd tire much more easily if I did. I don't have gas issues since the surgery, but I don't know why, because my diet is now about the same as before. Perhaps the rectocele (now repaired also) had been a little "fermenting" place.

Was your recovery fairly quick from the first surgery, even tho it didn't "hold"?
...Mary
Lisa, I hope you are a little better by the time you read this post. You have been in my thoughts. That horrid opening of the incision is really scary, I know, but it does eventually heal. Pack the gauze all the way deep into the opening. So many of us can relate to what you are experiencing. This very early stage of recovery is the hardest, and it will get better. I was very nauseated for about a week, dry heaves, etc; keep drinking, even if you have no appetite for food. I have had so many UTI’s in the past (not associated with this surgery). The clincher is if there is burning when you go and a constant feeling of needing to go. If you are going with normal frequency and feeling relieved afterward, you may just be irritated. I had to really relax and concentrate to urinate at first, but there was no UTI. If that is the case, use a soft squeeze bottle with very warm water and squirt a stream over yourself while you try to pee. Also, the warm sitz baths seemed to help me relax in that area some. If you feel the urge while you’re in the sitz bath, just go ahead and relieve yourself there. You can easily dump the pan and start over if you have to. I am so sorry that you are depressed. I was too for a bit; felt so sorry for myself. You will undoubtedly start to feel better when you get that 1st bm over. You probably want to stay away from the narcotic pain killers as much as possible to prevent more constipation, but don’t be shy about taking the ibuprofen, because being in pain will only make you more depressed. I hope you are eating or drinking milk with the ibuprofen so that you don’t have more nausea/vomiting. I am very impressed that you drove home 7 hours and did ok. You clearly have weathered the worst and can only start feeling better now. I hope it is soon!

Mindy and Mitzee, Thanks for sharing what toilet gymnastics work for you. I will try all of them! Sometimes, the technique of having a finger just behind the sphincter seems to help get the stool out. My morning and evening kegel routine (with biofeedback sensor in place) is contract & hold for 10 seconds. 6 reps, rest, repeat the sets twice. Mindy, my perinealplasty has resulted in a kind of muscular wall or dam just in front of the sphincter. It actually is a physical divider whereas before, the sphincter and vaginal opening were just so close with very little space between.

Robinlake, Welcome to the discussion. Was your original sphincteroplasty at the time of child birth? How and when did you know that the first one did not hold? I am still having some problems following my sphincteroplasty and am questioning everything that I have done or am doing and whether or not there is any reason to think that I can still improve. I wish you all the best making your decision about what to do. It is very hard to know what is best.

Sorry for the long post, ladies. Take care, JJ
"... That horrid opening of the incision is really scary, I know, but it does eventually heal. Pack the gauze all the way deep into the opening. "

JJ - the "horrid opening" - I don't have one; did the incision just open for you who have that, or was it there since surgery? I have a ridge of extra tissue just in front of the sphincter, kind of bunched up perineum with some stitches in it (dr says the stitches will dissolve) - is this what turns into an opening?
Lisa,

Hope you are doing better this afternoon. I did not have the impaction issue, but just having regular BMs hurt. The pressure from sitting on the toilet hurt so much I could only tolerate it for short periods of time. The surgery was a lot more painful than I thought it would be. The sitz baths are definitely a help. I also did not have the urinary tract problems. My roomate in the hospital who had rectocele and hemroid surgery had a difficult time with urinating. I was only in the hospital 2 nights. I had to take Milk of Magnesia when I got home that first day, per doc directions. I went, but it was painful. I had rectocele & perinium repairs and sphincteroplasty as well. I went for my 6 week check up today and don't have to go back to the doc unless something happens. He said my gas issue should improve with the Kegels. I'm healing really well. I also did not have the opening you all are talking about.

Mary,

The Kegels I have been doing are: holding for a count of 10, then releasing for 5-10 counts and doing 100 of those 3 times a day. I'm so freaked out about not being able to hold gas from expelling that I'm very committed to doing the Kegels. One of the articles I read said to do them the way you are. I started out with holding for a count of 3, then releasing for 3. (After week 2 of the surgery) I do them lying down. The doc said my sphincter muscle is much stronger than before, so hopefully with the combination of surgery and Kegels I'll be able to have better control over the seepage and gas. Since being off the Miralax, I haven't had any seepage. So I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Lisa, give yourself lots of time to heal. So glad you have help. I'm an empty nester with a great hubby who took good care of me, so I'm lucky not to have little ones to have to run after.

Something I did from the beginning was drink a lot of fruit juices. Grape, Cranberry and Orange. I was also taking Citrucel, ground up flax seed and Miralax the two latter in V-8 juice. That may be why I didn't become impacted. But I was having 3-4 BMs a day, usually in the morning. I also have IBS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia. The CFS did flare up during my recovery and is only now getting a little better. I still have to rest a lot more than I thought I would after 6 weeks. It's just a long slow recovery.

Take Care Everyone,
Suzan
Mitzie,

The opening is where (in my case) almost the entire incision opened up. Basically the stitches ripped open leaving a huge gaping wound that had to heal from the inside out. It is actually pretty common in this type of surgery because the area is so very fragile, and the skin thin. I was still on bed rest when mine occurred. You are very lucky to not have to deal with it. It took mine 4 1/2 months to completely heal shut. In the meantime, I had it cauterized every 2 weeks to help with the healing. It was very sore and a huge pain to deal with. It added tremendously to my recovery period. The ridge that you are talking about is the area that you need to be careful of. You are not out of the woods for it opening up. Mine occured at about 2 weeks post op. The stitches will dissolve (I had a few stragglers removed) and that ridge will soften out and appear more normal looking after it is completely healed. Mine was the same. Be careful with lifting, and bending and straining too much.

Suzan,

I am so glad your seeing improvement after quiting the miralax. It should only get better from here on out. I agree that this surgery really wipes you out. I also have other issues similar to yours and I had a terrible flare and am still recovering now after the surgery. It has taken me a long time to feel like myself again. Now that I am on medication and feeling better, I have an improved outlook on life :) I am sorry you have fibrom. and cfs--I know how you feel (for me doctors are still in limbo as to whether I have RA or lupus (for now, connective tissue disorder) I hope you are feeling better soon.

Robinlake,

Welcome, sorry you too suffer from this horrible stuff. Can you tell us a little more about your first experience?? I am sure we would all like to hear. I also was going to have my ob/gyn do the surgery but decided to have a second opinion and went with the colo-rectal surgeon instead. I am glad I did. How bad is your gas that you are considering surgery again?? Does the colorectal surgeon say he can fix that problem? I ask because I had a sphincteroplasty, levatorplasty, and perinealplasty in January and I still suffer from gas leakage also but was told there is nothing that can realistically help that.. From the begining my surgeon was not optimistic for correcting the gas situation. I have no problems with leaking stool any more, and have just been dealing with the gas because I wasn't sure it could be fixed. This must be a very difficult decision for you. Especially because you know what the surgery entails already. Let us know if there is anything else we can help you with.
Kelley
Wow, Kelley, thank you for the heads-up about the "ridge" opening. Now I will be much more careful. I have perhaps been doing too much... trimming bushes, etc. just because my body really felt OK. So I will settle in with popcorn tonight and watch a movie. Thanks again!

Question about yeast infection: mine is apparently just on the skin around the anus and I'm treating it with Mycolog II cream. But I wonder if it is inside the intestine too? I don't see the Dr for 3 more weeks, and I'm still passing clear gel-like mucous. Has anyone dealt specifically with this?
Kelly,
After reading the various posts I have to ask myself the same question you (more or less) asked me: is it bad enough to be considering surgery? The gas issue is not that bad (thanks to an amazing thing called Tanalbit--this stuff has worked SO well for me. It's the only thing that had made it possible for me to work and be in social situations without major embarrassment for the whole last year!) however...I still remember what my life was like BEFORE all this happened and I'd like it back. I can function in society for the most part but I am very careful about what I eat so that I have as little gas as possible. I can't do what I love which is yoga, aerobics classes, running, or even going for a walk with my co-workers at lunch time because it's especially then that I have no control over my gas.
A year ago I had a natural childbirth at home with a midwife. Normal size baby, normal presentation but a 24 hr. labor. I remember the midwife's assistant saying 'push like you're pushing out a big bowel movment'. I thought, "oh, okay. I can do that." I changed the way I was pushing and soon after felt a sharp twinge. I thought ooo, that's not right. And went back to pushing the way I had been. So, I know when the tear happened and then the second thing that went wrong is the midwife didn't check me close enough to see how badly I had torn and so I didn't get sewn up untill about 2 months after my delivery. I've struggled with alot of anger and resentment towards my midwife but what can ya do? It doesn't change the situation I'm in now and my anger wasn't hurting her any, only myself. Someday maybe, I will make the effort to talk to her again and explain what she could do differently, and maybe save some other client of hers similar pain and suffering but right now it would be all I could do just to have a civil conversation with her.
I'm interested to hear about peoples recovery times. How soon untill I can pick up my 1 year old (25+ lbs)? My dr. doesn't give me alot of specifics. My first surgery was a 'perineal reconstruction with sphincteroplasty' but I didn't even have to stay over night, do a bowel prep or anything. Other than that being an 'end to end' repair and this an overlapping one I don't understand the difference and what make this as much worse as it is.
Hello all,
I finally, after long hours in the bathroom and a bottle of mag citrate, i broke through my compaction. Wow, that was not a good experience. I can tell you that my pain has diminished about 50% and i can actually move and sleep and eat and drink and wow, i am a whole new woman!

I am concerned that I read about everyone doing sitz baths several times a day. I was never told to do sitz baths only to use my bottle to keep clean and shower at least everyday. I am questioning if i should add this to my day now? Were you all told to do the sitz baths for cleanliness? I was doing them alot after i had my son with my original injury.

As for the diets of fiber, I am on a low, almost no fiber diet. Will this change as my recovery times passes? When did you all switch to fiber in your diets? I was reading where you all were on mixed diets so it does sound like it depends on the person.

Also, did you all have mucus on your gauze when you changed it? I am finding a lot more mucus now. I have read where some of you have mentioned mucus so i am hoping this is normal.

Mary,
Thank you for your suggestions. I used a bottle of the citrate and it did the trick. My biggest fear is going through that again.....I am now taking Milk of Mag at the advice of everyone else off this thread. Did you find that helped keep you regular? I am scared I am going alittle overboard with taking laxatives three times a day, milk of mag in the am and pm and eating a lot of coffee, fruit and water. Did you find anything work better than others?

Robinlake,
I was told I can not pick anything up for 6 weeks; he said the only thing i should have in my hand is my pain meds and a glass of water (ha, little did i know he was serious). My Dr said nothing, not dishes, clothes, and especially my two year old. I have been trying to stick to that, but today i helped my son pull his tyke in the kitchen and i should not have done that because i landed my self on the couch with a very sore backside. The recovery time will be several weeks, if not months. I had to plan my surgery so my mom who is a teacher could take care of my son and help my husband out (he works long hours). So planning this surgery will be a pain ( I know) because you will need a lot of help the first few weeks.
Mitzee, My incision began opening around day 10, post op and continued along almost the entire incision line. Mine healed a little faster than Kelley’s, but there is still one very small fragile area that is not completely healed. I also had the ridge you described (right after the incision closed up again). It was very hard and I worried about that, but it has softened up a lot and is just a flat incision line now. Most of my stitches dissolved but a few had to be removed by the dr (ouch!!). Keep taking it easy. I still find that I am exhausted so much quicker than I was before the surgery. As far as the yeast, I am taking daily probiotics and eating Activia yogurt just to see if my overall condition can be improved, even though I am not aware of a particular yeast problem in the intestines. Your dr can probably give you samples. I did have to give myself 2 treatments for vaginal yeast infections. With all the antibiotics, it’s almost impossible to avoid yeast. I don’t remember how long ago your surgery was, but I know that I was passing all kinds of mucous and gooky stuff from everywhere down there for awhile, eventually it subsided…waiting and hoping for a normal life…

Suzan, I am interested in your flax seed. What was the reason you were eating them? Was it responsible for the 3-4 daily bm’s? Did you grind the seeds yourself?

Robinlake, It was 8 weeks before I picked up my 35 pound child. I am going to be doing a search for Tanalbit. What is it? Have you tried biofeedback therapy? It has not been an answer for me, but since you don’t have incontinence of stool, maybe it would be worth investigating, especially since you seem undecided about repeating the surgery Another lady, robyns, who has gone through all of this has had more success with it than I.

Lisa, I am so glad you are feeling better! There was a lot of mucous, drainage, goop of all sorts from everywhere down there. Change your gauze often. I used so much gauze! My understanding is that the sitz baths are for cleanliness and to stimulate circulation, and thus healing. I did them after every bm, and at least 4 times a day in the beginning. My diet was liberalized beginning around day 9, post op. From then, I gradually added fiber until I was eating a “high fiber” diet with 25 g fiber by around 4 weeks post op. I hope you find the right formula to prevent constipation/impaction without getting diarrhea.

Take care all, JJ
Hi Everyone,

Robinlake,

I am sorry you have had to deal with that birth experience. So much can go wrong during childbirth, and women are just never advised of the risks--it's sad. It seems like your gas issues are really getting into the way of the things you enjoy. I also have more gas when exercising, and when I am more active. I will also try that tanalbit--maybe it will help me. Where did you find it, and what is it? The repair that you had initially--and end to end repair is what most of us probably had initially from our ob/gyns. That is how a tear is basically just simply stitched together. The overlapping sphincteroplasty has much higher success rates from what I remember talking to my surgeon about and researching. It is much more involved than an end to end repair. My recovery was rough, but I have no more leaking of stool, which was my major complaint. I have 3 kids and my youngest was 16 mos old and 26 pounds at the time of my surgery. I was lifting restrictions (nothing heavier than a magazine) for 5 weeks. It was hard--we did a lot of snuggling in bed. I was also on mandated bed-rest and a liquid diet for 3 1/2 weeks. This differed from some of the other ladies. The main concern with this type of surgery is the incision opening up. I am not sure if that will pertain to you with just a sphincteroplasty and no other perineal wall, or rectal wall repair. I was in the hospital for 6 nights on a morphine drip for pain. I have a very high tolerance for pain, and gave birth 3 times with no medication, but this hurt, and I did take the pain meds quite liberally. I started to really feel better at 3 weeks, and really good at 5 weeks, with a lot of healing problems along the way. Hopefully yoo=urs won't be that involved.

Lisa,

I started sitz baths 4 times a day on day 3 post op. I was told it is the single most important thing for healing. Hydrotherapy is great for keeping tissue healthy, sloughing off all of that gunk and goo, and keeping clean./ It also helped a lot with the pain, especially after BM's I actually just sat in the bathtub full of really hot water. The hotter the better for 20- 30 mins 4 times a day. I did them for 8 weeks. My fiber supplement was started the day I came home from the hospital on day 7. I tsp of benefiber twice daily. I was not on any other stool softeners or laxatives besides milk of mag a couple times when I was impacted. I think the impaction problems (from a nursing standpoint) are a given in this situation with the bowel prep and sleepy bowel from surgery, not eating, and narcotic meds. You know your body, just be vigilant about listening to it. I would add some fiber into it, it should help. I also eat lots of activia yogurt. When I had my yeast infection, I demanded a diflucon pill (mine was the week after surgery) because I was not interested in sticking a vaginal suppository in. :eek: This would help with a yeast infection in the gut, If there was one present. You will all be amazed by what comes out of your body after this surgery. From yellow slimy greasy, mucousy junk to blood and other gross stuff--ALL NORMAL (but surely GROSS!) The gauze helps so much with this. Otherwise you will get skin breakdown, and chaffing. Hope everyone is doing well. Take care.

Kelley
The Tanalbit is antifungal tannins that manage the bacteria in the gut. The 2 things that usually cause gas are fermenting bacteria and fermenting yeasts (candida). This works on the bacteria. The number to order it is 800-333-7414. It costs $19/bottle plus $7 shipping but for me it has been so worth it. My primary care dr. said it helps in about 80 percent of the cases where people complain about gas and bloating. I get mine at the Born Clinic so I don't pay shipping but they hadn't heard of it at my health food store so I'm not sure how else to buy it and not pay shipping. Says to take 2-3 3 times a day but I take 2 in the am and this seem to be a good maintainance dose for me.
Kelly,
What is the reason for a six day stay in the hospital? Is that protocol for your type of surgery? It is mainly so you can be on the morphine drip for pain control?
Robin
Hi, Robin... I ******d Tanalbit and it looks like a good thing! I might try it for my gut yeast infection if the Dr doesn't tell me to do something different first. Do you know if there are any harmful effects from it, or drug/vitaminn interactions?

As for the hospital stay - mine was 5 days; had to produce a BM first, that was my ticket home. And I was on morphine for 3 days then codeine for 2, sent home with vicodin which I didn't use (afraid of constipation). I am amazed that some just had a 1-2 day stay. My repair was overlap of the external sphincter, as end-to-end is definitely not the preferred method these days. It usually fails.

Can anyone suggest a very soft mini-pad or pantiliner to use along with the gauze? Some I've used are like cardboard!

Mary
Hi Mitzie,

I use always panty liners--Soft, but I found I needed the thin long maxi during recovery.

Robin,

Thanks for all the info. I will try it. Never heard of it. So nice that we can all help out eachother! My hospital stay was supposed to be 3-4 days, but I had very low blood pressure (60/30) Uti, coudn't pee, had the urinary catheter replaced for 3 more days, and a very extensive repair and my doctor wanted me in the quiet hospital resting away from my 3 children. He said from the begining he was in no hurry to send me home. I did have quite a bit of pain also. I have a history of 7 hip surgeries, and it took me several days before I could even walk more than a couple steps without my hips and legs giving out on me. Robin, have you had an anal ultrasound done to see if you still have a defect and how large it is?? Keep in touch.
Kelley
Hey all,
Thanks for the advice on sitz baths. I will start doing them to help the healing of this awful opening.

Mary,
I like the kotex brands, they seem softer and cheaper. I know what you mean, I sometimes depend on my pads to cushion the sitting.

Question for all surgery survivors,
How long was it before you could drive? I was hoping I would be able to drive my son to daycare by three weeks. Is this realistic? I was going to get him a stool to lift himself in his car seat, but was hoping to be able to drive so my mom does not have to be here so long.

My hospital stay was 6 days and should have been a few days longer, but I wanted to get home. I was on a morphine drip for the first three days, then Percocet and then Vicadin. I was on bed rest for two days and then they made me walk to halls 3 times a day after that to get my bowels moving. I was only on a liquid diet for three days, then they put me straight on a soft, low fiber diet. I think that is part of my impaction too was that i started too soon with soft foods. Just make sure they give you laxative, or softners if they put you on a soft diet. I opened up on my ride home, day 6. Not really sure what did it because I did not move much. It is annoying though that is for sure.

Praying for everyones speedy recovering and drinking lots of water,
Lisa
I forgot to ask if anyone was made to do water irregation? I call it a water enema? they had me do this when i was in the hospital starting day 5 and 6. It was pushing water up and holding it as long as you can and then letting go. It is supposed to help get you moving. I had not heard anyone mention this and was curious.........
Hi Lisa,
No, I've never heard of the water irrigation. Did it help you?
I could drive short distances between 2 and 3 weeks, but sitting on a very comfortable pillow and avoiding all bumps in the road. Now I'm at 3+ weeks and feel I could drive about 40 miles or so. But my incision did not open up (yet) and it's not too sore, just has one little tender spot and some leftover sutures. If your incision opens or you are sore, delay the driving as long as you can.
Mary
Jou Jou,

My CFS doc recommended I use ground up flax seed for my digestive problems quite a while before I had my surgery. I grind the flax seed in a coffee grinder. The doc recommended I get the flax seed from Heintzman Farms in Onoka, SD. I bought a "kit" that included the grinder. But you can get it at any health food store I found out. The last time I was in to see the doc and mentioned my gas problems (3 weeks post op), he said I should cut back on the flax seed because it can CAUSE gas!!! Go figure. The issue I was trying to address in the first place could have been causing the problem to be worse. I have since stopped using it and just using Citrucel, but plan to switch to Benefiber since Kelly says it causes less gas for her. I'm very interested in the Tanalbit and plan to look into that. I have the same social issues about walking with someone or going to yoga class, or about ANY group situation. I'm always afraid I'll have gas. It has really limited my outside the house activities.

Day before yesterday I had 2 BMs then the 3rd was diarrhea. Took an imodium and ended up constipated yesterday. After the doc exam, however, I was able to go to the bathroom. Then, today, I had 2 BMs and again the third one was diarrhea. I took another imodium, but I can't figure out what is going on. I haven't changed anything in my routine for a couple of weeks and no new meds. Has anyone else encountered routine diarrhea? I just barely made it to the bathroom. Thank goodness I was at home. My mornings seem to be occupied with going to the bathroom since the surgery. I really hope I can get down to 1 BM a day so I'm not stuck at home everyday in the morning. Also, don't want anyone coming over in the morning with this happening. I just hope the diarrhea is a very temporary thing.

Suzan
Hi all, I’m so glad we can all share and help each other.

Robin, my hospital stay was 8 days. I was on a morphine drip most of the time. The last few days I had Darvocet. My rectum and vagina were packed with gauze until about day 4 (it’s a bit of a blur). The foley catheter was removed the same day as the packing and then I began to get out of bed to shower and for very brief walks in the hall. I was told before hand that the stay would be about a week. At the time of discharge, I had very, very tentative bowel control. Thanks for the info about Tanalbit. I am going to give it a try.

Lisa, My dr told me at my 2 week appt that I could drive, but that was not realistic. I couldn’t even sit due to the open incision. If you try to drive any time soon, make sure you are just going for a very short distance. When I began to drive around week 4, I had to sit on one cheek while keeping my weight off my bottom. It really affected my ability to look over my shoulder, and I didn’t feel I was really safe or would have great reaction times. Also, the odd posture caused me to have sciatic nerve pain. I never was told to do the water irrigation until just this week. It was just recommended to help me with the leaking. I cannot imagine using an enema in those early weeks!

Suzan, thanks for the info on the flax seeds. I had bought some several weeks ago but never used them as I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Based on your experience, I may postpone that experiment. I hope you get your diarrhea under control. I know that is so difficult.

Take care everyone, JJ
Lisa,

I started driving a little bit at 3 weeks and it was very uncomfortable. I sat on a little throw pillow and sat on one cheek leaning way over and hanging on for dear life. Needless to say, I did not drive far. My daughter's preschool was almost across the street. I had a very large open wound and didn't really start sitting on it at all until about 3 weeks post op. Just see how you feel and do a small test drive. I don't thing it is out of the question that it is possible. I tried to get other mom's from her class to take her and drop her off--Is that possible? I never had to do any sort of water irrigation, and frankly I was way too sore to stick anything up there.

Robin,

I never had a BM while in the hospital. Mine was 24 hours after I got home, and it was induced (per dr's orders by taking Milk og Mag) My surgeon was actually glad that I hadn't gone while in the hospital. He said the longer It could be postponed, the better. I think that was his philosophy on keeping me on a liquid diet for 3 1/2 weeks was the for the same reason--To limit bowel activity, but keep it active enough to still work a little. He wanted to have the healing well underway before I had to stress it with all the BM activity.

Suzan,

I had a lot of different experiences regulating my bowels in those first few weeks also. I remember also going through a period of 3 BM's every day. It gradually lessened to 1 Bm daily, and I still struggle now to try to have a daily one. When I let it go longer, I have issues with constipation. It is a hard balancing act. Water really seems to help me stay regular. I would try to find different foods that you can use to help regulate yourself instead of relying on laxatives and immodium. You are bound to be in a vicious cycle that way. I think you may be confusing your gut with all the medications. The stomach and digestive tract is a very sensitive organ. Also try eating activia yogurt or taking probiotics to help regulate your gut. I think they have helped me. Everything is probably out of wack from surgery still. It will get better. My doctor told me you have to give your stomach about a week to get used to a change (example-- for a change in diet, medications and such) Try seeing what happens with just fiber and diet changes, but give it some time. Hope it gets resolved soon. Unfortunately, I think it is normal after this surgery to have your life revolve around your BM's for a period of time, but I can gladly say that for the most part, They don't rule my life anymore. :blob_fire Hope some of my suggestions help you. Take care
Kelly,

Thanks so much for the advice. Right now it seems my entire world is caught up with BMs and gas. Mostly the gas is just before my BMs, but with this wedding coming up in 6 weeks, I'm hoping and praying things will normalize a bit before then. I've been having these panic attacks because of my fear of not being able to control things. Does anyone use Depends, etc.? I know some of you say you use pads. I wish I had a crystal ball and could see what was going to happen down the road so I could adjust for it or relax. I am trying to eat more veggies and fruit. I'm much more inclined to be a meat eater. I have had constipation problems all my life. The laxative/imodium routine is not the best way to go. It's better if I get regulated on my own. Do any of you have any fiberous foods that work best for you?

I was able to drive after 2 weeks, but didn't do much of it. I was still pretty sore also. At 3 weeks, I did drive 65 mi. each way to see my CFS doc in Dallas. I did OK, but I did not have the open wounds you all are talking about. I still felt pretty weak.

I did not have my first BM until I got home from the hospital. I was directed to use Milk of Magnesium. It worked, but it really hurt. I did not have to stay on a liquid diet, just soft foods for the first week.

Have any of you worked with "bowel" training to try to get regulated? I've read a couple of techniques and asked my doc about it. He said there is a big National Convention for Colo-rectal docs in St. Louis next week and he would have some updated info for me about that. I am supposed to call him when he gets back. I'll let everyone know what he tells me.

Hope today is a great day for everyone.
Suzan
Jou Jou,

Found the tanalbit at [url]https://www.illnessisoptional.com[/url] for $15.00 + 5.95 shipping and handling. I ordered some. It's supposed to help with chronic candidiasis which I'm being treated for by my Chronic Fatigue doc. I keep testing positive for system candidiasis and we are having a difficult time treating it. This sounds like it my kill 2 birds with one stone. I have ordered from these people before and they are very good to work with.

Take Care,
Suzan
Susan,
That' s cool you found the Tanalbit so much cheaper! My dr. office just raised their price to $24/ bottle. I'll definately order it next time.

To all,
Maybe this is a dumb question but I don't understand why so many bowel problems from this surgery? I thankfully have pretty good bms now, after alot of treatment from a holistic dr. and I'm afraid of messing that up. Did most of you have bowel problems before surgery or is it just a temporary thing from all the meds and a prolonged period of time on a liquid diet?
Robin
Hi all,

Suzan, thanks for the info about the Tanalbit. Like all of us post-surgery posters, I initially had several bm’s daily for awhile (this was after the diarrhea subsided), but eventually it decreased to a single daily bm. Occasionally, I might now skip a day or have an extra bm. 6 weeks is a long time in this recovery. I can almost guarantee that you will feel like a different person by then. Even if you are still working out your diet/bm routine, you will have better predictability & control. It does get better. I am trying the bowel training (along with EVERYTHING else) because I am still having leaking after bm’s. The training consists of being regimented about waking, eating a high fiber breakfast, doing my kegels (using a rectal sensor from biofeedback therapy), sitting on the toilet for at least 5 minutes. When I sit down, I put my feet on a low stool and blow out hard (like inflating a balloon) several times. I sit there even if nothing is happening. No straining. So far, it has not helped with the leaking. Personally, I don’t care what time of day or even how frequent I have bm’s if they could just be complete without leaking afterward. I think Kelley gave you some good advice to avoid the vicious cycle of laxatives/anti-diarrheals. Be patient with yourself. Even though I still have problems and I am very focused on my diet, I can say that it is not as all consuming as it was just after the surgery.

Robin, my problem before the surgery was incomplete bm’s with leaking afterward (and incontinence of gas). Incomplete bm’s are defined as constipation even though they may not be hard or hard to pass and even though I never had the feeling that it was incomplete. I never had any problem with regularity, diarrhea, or inability to have a bm. Nor do I have those problems now, “just” the leaking. The surgery undoubtedly causes short-term bowel changes. I am guessing that any long-term bowel problems are related to the damaged muscles and nerves plus the never ending tweaking of our diets, routines, etc, not the surgery itself. A good question for the dr.

Have a great weekend! JJ
Robin, yes I had bowel problems before the surgery - urgency mostly. I had less than a minute to find a bathroom once I felt the urge. Now I can tell the difference in my sphincter (almost 4 wks post-op) and it "holds" for much longer. I think if I keep doing the Kegels that will even improve more. But yes, there are changes from the surgery and meds (and yeast infection in my case) but I expect those to resolve.

BTW, how does one know if the "yeast infection" is systemic or just localized (in vagina, or on skin)? Is there a test?

Thanks for all the good info, everyone!
Mary
Mary,

For systemic candidiasis my CFS doc does blood work for Candida Antibodies (IGA, IGM, IGG). Right now I am on diflucan everyday, for 3 mos. The last course of diflucan I took did not do the trick. I also tested positive for Chlamydia Pneumoniae (not to be confused with the STD - this is different). I finally tested negative to Epstein-Barr. I was on 2 antibiotics for 6 mos. Now, I'm down to one, 2X daily. Of course, antibiotics can do a number on your "gut", so I also take probiotics. You may have a difficult time finding a traditional doc to do the tests I mentioned. They usually won't. My CFS doc (Fibro and Fatigue Center(s)) goes above and beyond what other docs normally check. [url]www.fibroandfatigue.com[/url]

Robin, I had bowel problems before the surgery. Losing small amounts of stool and inability to retain gas. I didn't know until a few mos. ago that there was treatment for it. The gastro doc that did my colonoscopy didn't help at all when I told him about my problems. The doc that did my surgery was recommended by my primary care doc. I'm 6 weeks post op today. I still am losing small amounts of stool and have a worse gas issue than before the surgery. I'm really hoping and praying that with my Kegel exercises and getting my BMs regulated all this will improve.

Suzan
Jou Jou,

What is the "rectal sensor from biofeedback therapy"? Did you have biofeedback before, after, or both for surgery? If so, did it work for you?

Suzan
I hope someone can give me some insight. I had a baby 9 months ago and suffered a 4th degree tear. My sutures didn't heal properly and had to be taken out---ouch! Anyway, I am having a sphincteroplasty done in 2 weeks and I am very concerned/scared to have this surgery. I am not having any bowel issues now unless it's diarrhea. My biggest issue is GAS! I work as a nurse and I am constantly taking GAS X before I go to work. My preop forms are telling me to have a clear liquid diet the day before my surgery and then I am doing the Go-lytely bowel prep the day before. If someone could reply and let me know how their surgery was and how long the recovery was. I would GREATLY appreciate it. I am taking 1 month off work and I'm hoping that is enough. Also, my doctor didn't really explain the risks of the surgery. If I could get info in regards to that it would be great.
Thanks in advance.
Hi, Linds77 - welcome to this board! You will get many answers to your post, so stay tuned... I found the board 2 days before my sphincteroplasty and levatorplasty, and the gals really helped me prepare. My surgery was about 4 weeks ago. The surgery itself took about an hour and I was in the hospital 5 days, with morphine & codeine drips. I am still a little sore and need to sit on a soft pillow. My incision (perineal) did not open like some of the other women, which would have increased recovery time. I developed a urinary tract infection from the Foley catheter (which was in 3 days); that is common, so watch for signs. Once you get home, plan on lots of rest, many sitz baths, and being careful to not stretch the incision site. Be good to yourself, and be patient with getting back to normal with your BMs. Take as much time off work as you can; 4 weeks might be a little too soon if you are on your feet a lot, but everyone is different. Keep us posted!
Mary
Mitzee-

Thanks for the quick reply. I certainly plan on taking it easy after my surgery. My mother in law is coming into town to help with my son for a week and then my mom is helping for the 2 weeks after. How long after the surgery until you were out and about--running errands, etc.? Also, I have a nine month old--will I not be able to pick him up for awhile? My BMs now are fairly regular and I am not having problems with much except maybe having to change my undies often b/c for some reason I can never wipe completely (sorry for being so graphic) Will I have leakage after the surgery? Is this normal? I am not having leakage issues now at all. I was for the first month or so after my delivery, but things have gotten better.

What did your doctors tell you about possible risks from the surgery? I know about infection, possible fistula. Did anyone mention that if a complication arises---that you might need a colostomy? This is one of my fears and I haven't really asked my doctor about it.

Thanks again for your help.
linds77
Hi Linds77,

You will get a lot of help from this board. I did not find it until after my surgery. I am 6 weeks post-op. I had a rectocele fixed, plus perinium repair and sphinctoplasty. I am an empty nester, so I didn't have the baby issues you are talking about, but several people on the board have small children. I agree with Mitzee that 4 weeks is probably too short for recovery, especially if there are any problems, such as the wound opening, as it has for some of the members here.

I had leakage problems and difficulty controlling gas before the surgery. The doc said I had one of the worst rectoceles he had seen, so surgery was recommended. I did very little research before the surgery, blindly trusting the doc (recommended by my primary care doc).

I have been having problems with urgency and worse problems retaining gas since the surgery. (BTW read as many of the old postings as possible. You will get tons of info.) I was using Miralax, Citrucel and ground up flax seed to keep my BMs soft, but that overloaded my system and I was having difficulty making it to the bathroom. I cut back to just the Citrucel, but was having intermittant diarrhea, so day before yesterday I cut out the Citrucel and today the urgency was not as bad as it has been. The gas is a big issue for me. I cannot hold it. I'm doing Kegels 3 times a day in hopes of gaining control. I am slightly better than right after the surgery, but still not anywhere NEAR what I think is acceptable.

I was told the recovery would be 6 weeks, initially. Then after the surgery the doc said it would take about 3 mos. to fully heal. I was driving after 2 weeks, just a little, and more as time went on. You'll be pretty sore, so sitting directly down on your bottom can be a challenge. The surgery was more painful than I thought it would be, but I was completely off pain meds by about 10 days. So, the pain comes mainly right after the surgery. Sitz baths really help.

I can't help you on complications. But several of the other members can and you will find them on the old postings.

Are you confident in your surgeon? How many has he/she done? Can you talk to some of their other patients? My doc has done over 1000 of these surgeries, so I was pretty confident in his ability. I just can't get this darned gas issue resolved yet. I'm told by other members that things will probably get better with time.

Hope some of this has helped. This is a very open and caring board, so ask anything you wish to know. Someone will mostly likely have an answer for you.

Suzan
Linds 77, Suzan has given you some good info... and do try to go back and read other posts too. One thing I forgot to mention: ask the doc if the repair is overlapping the ends of the defective muscle, or "end-to-end". The latter almost always fails and is rarely done any longer, per my research. As to possible risks, my doc didn't tell me much except that I had a 5% chance of getting worse, 15% of leakage/urgency staying the same, and 80% of improvement. I took the chance because the odds were pretty good, and it worked so far. BTW, I'm quite a bit older than others on this thread, so their chances of improvement are much better. I think colostomy is a rare, rare necessity.

I was running very short errands at 3 weeks, sitting on one cheek and probably being a danger on the road. Now a week later I'm driving just fine, sitting on a microbead pillow, which I found works better than down or other fillers.

For gentle wiping, I like Pampers unscented babywipes, and I'm sure you have some of those around, with a 9-month old! But after surgery you will wash after every BM with a flex shower spray (get one, if you don't have one already) or a small squirt bottle that others will tell you about. And sitting in a tub of warm water really, really helps healing. Yes, leakage is normal after the surgery. Pantiliners are a must. Others have found gauze packed between the cheeks helpful, but for me it irritated because I developed a yeast infection around the anus and the skin was too sore to have anything pressing on it.

So many on this thread have tremendous issues with gas too. I am wondering if it is more a diet issue than a sphincter failure issue... I suppose anything we can do to lessen the gas production in the first place will be helpful. I know for me, onions, beans, high fiber, and sometimes wheat give me more gas than usual. I have less gas production now since the surgery, probably because the rectocele is fixed (I'm guessing).

Hope this helps. We are all here supporting you so don't hesitate to keep asking questions as they come to mind.

Mary (Miztee)
Suzan, I went for 2 biofeedback sessions before the surgery and 1 since. Each session lasts about an hour and consists of mild electrical stimulation via a probe that is inserted into the rectum. It isn't painful. After about 10 minutes of stim, a nurse leads me through a series of exercises (contract your sphincter, bear down, relax, etc) while we watch a computer screen which shows how the muscle is working. In addition to managing my diet and doing kegels, I am also supposed to be working on a sort of bowel training regimen, where I train myself to have a bm early each morning. I have never seen any discernible benefit from the biofeedback, but robyns has mentioned having better results. I am going to continue for at least one more session because I don't know what else to try to correct my problem. The nurse is very supportive and full of tips and observations, so I do feel the meetings have some value even though they have not been a miracle answer.

Linds, Welcome to the discussion. I’m sorry that you are having this problem. You will get most or all of the questions you raised answered by reading through the entire thread. It’s worth taking the time. I had a sphincteroplasty, perinealplasty, levatorplasty (& rectocele repair) in March. The surgery took 3 hours and I was in the hospital for 8 days. I was first out and about on a limited basis at 4 weeks. My incision had opened around day 10 which made sitting a near impossibility. If your surgery is less extensive and/or your incision doesn’t open, your recovery should be shorter. You should not lift anything over about 8 pounds for at least 5-6 weeks. My kids and I did a lot of cuddling in the bed as a substitute. The way you describe not being able to wipe completely and needing to change your undies frequently sounds as if you ARE leaking after bm’s. This was also my problem (along with incontinence of gas). When you read the thread, you’ll see that most of the women might leak initially after surgery but not after they have recovered . I wish that I didn’t, but I have the same post bm leaking problem. My dr said that the most common complication with this surgery was wound infection (which includes the wound opening). I feared needing a colostomy, too, but as I understand it, that is never or almost never indicated. My dr was very optimistic about the surgery helping me with the leakage but not the incontinence of gas. As you read through the thread, you will hear a lot of us talking about having trouble controlling gas. I am now about 10-11 weeks post op, and I feel normal most of the time, but my perineum is still sore. Other women on this board and that I have spoken to say that it could be 6 mos to a year to realize a complete and full return to “normal”. We will try to answer your questions. My recovery has been so helped by this board and knowing that I am not alone in this ordeal. Good luck.

JJ
Hi Linds,

I am also a fellow nurse--In the NICU/PICU--Welcome. first off, are you having your surgery with a colo-rectal surgeon or ob/gyn?? please don't take this the wrong way, but it is something to think about...My ob/gyn said the surgery was not worth doing until 1 year after I had my son (I have 3 children total) The reason for this is because the area is still healing and gaining its shape back from childbirth. I was monitored for a year, and things got steadily worse for me--but I had been having problems for 6 years total. Your smearing is considered leaking, and I had a very bad case of this as well as incomplete emptying and full blown accidents almost on a daily basis. It was awful. Also, if you have this surgery, you will need to have a c-section in any subsequent births, so I was told to make sure I was pretty much done with my family before I had the surgery. I would not expect the surgery to fix any gas issues--I had it before, and I still struggle with it on a daily basis with no real improvement from surgery. Also, if your initial repair from childbirth failed, it was probably an end to end repair. This type of repair-- overlapping sphincteroplasty is much tighter. Did you have any testing to see if there is a defect in your sphincter?? Did your dr. talk about a perinealplasty or levator muscle plasty?? I was in the hospital 6 days, on a morphine drip, drains in place, on a liquid diet for 3 1/2 weeks, complete bedrest for 3 1/2 weeks, and no lifting for 5 weeks (my son was 18 mos at the time) I was off of work for 9 weeks total. My entire incision dehisced open and had to heal by secondary intention. I don't want to scare you, and if your sphincter is not completely together, you should probably have it repaired, bit it is not a fun operation. The good news is that you are only mentioning a sphincteroplasty, and that should be an easier recovery than what JOU JOU and I recovered from. Best of luck to you. Check back with any questions. My dr. did say there was a risk for a colostomy but it was small--and I don't think that would be the case with just a sphincteroplasty. Your a nurse--so of course you would be worried about that--I was too--terrified actually! I started the original threads--if you click on my name you can read other posts that basically journal my plea for help in the beginning all the way to my pre-op, post op and recovery. I am now almost 5 months post op and doing very well. No leaking of any stool, but still gas issues. My recovery was very long and hard, but that has not been everyones case. I also had to have my wound cauterized with silver nitrate every 2 weeks for a couple months to help it heal. (not fun) Read back a little bit and you will find a listing for some Tanalbit antifungal tannis that we are all going to try for the gas issues. another member has had some good luck with it and I plan to order it soon. Good luck, and let us know if we can help any further. There is a ton of info on the previous posts--more like a soap opera!
Kelley
Linds,
I to am having a sphincterplasty, levarotoplasty and perinealoplasty due to incontenance and leakage from childbirth due to the delivery of my son who is 8, so I have been dealing with this for quite awhile. I just never had the nerve to talk about it to anyone and just thought it was was one of the lovely side affects you deal with after having children. After I read more about it, because it was getting much worse, I found this board and found out I am in no way alone in this horrible ordeal. I have found mine has increasingly gotten worse and I too worried about the exact same things you are worried about. I have a hard time expelling my bms so I leak all the time and always have that feeling that is it not all out. Then there are times that I don't even feel anything in my undies until I sit down and see that I have quite a bit. I had a anal ultrasound and manometry which showed a tear in my spinchter between 10-2 (think of a clock). Don't worry about being so graphic, everybody on this board has dealt or is dealing with the exact same thing you are. I have seen 2 colo-rectal Drs. and have decided because of the recovery time to wait until the end of the summer after my 2 kids go back to school (one is 8 the other 5) so I can spend the summer with them. I am very scared and nervous to have this surgery, but I also know it will never go away and will get worse down the road. With this board, I know I will have the support to get me through the surgery. I also have extensive nerve damage, which they can't do anything about so that scares me as well. I have always had bowel issues (even before having children). I had dealt with constipation most of my life, having a bm maybe every 3-4 days, and sometimes once a week, so I will have to do a major overhaul of my diet and make sure I don't get that way after the surgery. I also struggle with gas issues, but I have learned to deal with that, it is the leaking and constant changing undies and not even being able to go to the store hoping not to have an accident that I can't live with. You are in the right place to help you get through this. Take Care and ask your colo-rectal surgeon tons of questions. You will have a great support system in this board.
Mindy
Mindy... good idea to hold off on the surgey till your kids are in school. Will you have help at home, though? I have a question for you about your nerve damage. I had understood that the pudendal nerve responses should be intact in order to be a good candidate for sphincteroplasty. Does your colorectal surgeon think you can improve your bowel control even with the nerve damage? just wondering...
Mindy-

What is perinealplasty? I know they are fixing my perineal area when they are doing the sphincteroplasty...is this the same thing? I had my nerves tested and I am happy to say that there wasn't any nerve damage. My ultrasound did show a bad tear in th sphincter muscle (my colorectal surgeon was actually surprised with how well I'm doing with the extent of my tear). I am so happy that I found this board. It is helpful to talk to people who have had similar experiences. I certainly wouldn't wish this on anyone as it has been horrible to deal with. One thing my doctor didn't mention is that I would have to be on a liquid diet for 3 weeks. It certainly makes sense...but he only mentioned being on a full liquid diet while I'm in the hospital. My surgery is scheduled for June 15th and I'm not supposed to see him before them...but I might schedule a meeting. I've already seen him about 4 times.

Kelley-
I am having a colorectal surgeon do my surgery. My OB/GYN has done them in the past...but I certainly wanted an expert. That is terrible that your wound dehisced (sp?) are there ways to prevent that from happened...or is it just the luck of the draw? They did mention that I will have to have a c-section from now on which is FINE by me. I certainly don't want to risk having another bad tear. I also didn't want to wait until I had all my kids to have the surgery. I'm ready to be done with this...
When you had your 4th degree tear...what did the doctors say in regards to why this happened? Obviously some things can't be prevented...but they aren't a common occurence. I actually did my preceptorship in L & D and I didn't even see a 2nd degree tear...
I am scheduled to work 5 weeks after my surgery. I'm only working part time. Do you think this is a mistake? Also, do you take Gas x for your issues with gas? Is it bad to take this every day? I work in the ER and it is hard to have gas when you are working w/the docs and patients constantly.
Linds, FYI - although others might have been on extended liquid diets for reasons unique to them, I was not. Pre-op day before, yes. Then 3 days in hosp no food (i was on IVs, not even hungry) Day 4 soft foods, day 5 normal diet with high fiber. Since then I 've had to cut back on fiber because my stools were too soft and I was having 5-6 bms a day; I have colon "rapid transit" so I needed to slow down the action. Now it is better - one or two bms a day of good consistency. Everyone is different. Ask your doc about his expectations re diet.
Mary
Mitzee,
My Dr. did say it might affect my recovery, however he didn't seem that it would matter much in the beginning. It may affect later in life.. As far as help at home, my husband can only do so much. My mother in law is coming to help out (I can only handle for so long even though she is great), then my mom is coming to help out. I should have it covered. I really think it will be the hardest on my 5 year old. My 8 year old will understand the Mom needs her rest, but I fear it will be hardest both of us for my 5 year old. He has a great relationship with his Dad, however he is very attached to me.

Kelley,
You had nerve damage also, being as you have had your surgery and the great outcome you have had, what did you Dr. say regarding the nerve damage?


Linds,
If they are fixing your perineal area, then you are more than likely having the perinealoplasty. From what I understand, mine perineal wall was very thin, almost nonexistent, therefore they are going to build that wall up with muscle to help the sphincter.

Kelley and JJ, you both had the perinealoplasty, is what I am saying correct since you have already had the surgery?

Hope everybody is well.

Lisa how are you doing?
Mindy:wave:
Hi Everyone,

Mitzie and Mindy,

I had severe nerve damage on one side (1 pudendal nerve) I was told that this could not be repaired, and could decrease the quality of the repair. I feel like the repair has been great--no problems at all. The place that I attribute having nerve difficulty in is in pushing and contracting to have a BM. I can definitly tell that my muscles contract better on the side without the damage. This is where my toilet gymnastics have come in to help me on that side with the damage. I sometimes have to put pressure down on one cheek, sit sideways to put more pressure on that side, and do all sorts of weird things to help get it out. I am getting more experienced and I feel like I finally have found what works for me most of the time. :dizzy: I also still have to be careful and make sure I evacuate completely.

The perinealplasty is when the the perineal muscles are used to bulk up the perineal wall. My perineum was also non-existent--but I am told I have a very nice one now! :)

Linds,

It sounds like you definitely should have the surgery to fix your tear. It will probably only get worse with time. In the last 6 months before my surgery, I became so much worse. The final straw for me was trying to take a nice warm relaxing jacuzzi bath at my parent's house and finding out I had leaked all over without even noticing--talk about humiliating! My surgeon had me on 2 weeks of a clear liquid diet, and then 1 1/2 weeks on full liquid, then high fiber diet. I think I am the only one who had such crazy diet instructions. It did help holding off the BM's which is what the dr. wanted. He finally induced a BM on day 9 because he didn't want me developing an ileus. Everyone has had different experiences. My surgeon felt very strongly about the diet, NO stool softeners, and no lifting anything over 5 pounds for 5 weeks. He also felt strongly about the bed rest. My work was delayed for 9 weeks mainly because I stand at incubators all shift, and the pressure of standing was sore on my bottom. I also stayed out longer because of the dehiscance. If you can avoid ripping your stitches out, you should be fine. Unfortunately, my surgeon said to expect that the wound would open up. It did while I was still pretty much on bed rest. I felt a lot better at 3 weeks and really good at 5. You will have to be careful working in the ER--you will be on lifting restrictions and it is suprising how every movement seems to tug at your bottom in one way or another. Do you work 12 hour shifts? In regards to my 4th degree tear--it was my own fault. I deliverd naturally with no epidural, and when my daughter was crowning, the dr. said "stop pushing"....I got a huge contraction and couldn't help pushing, and I pushed really hard and she flew out--ripping me. It's hard to control the urge with no epidural. :mad: Working in the NICU, I attend deliveries all the time, and I also worked L&D and post partum for a while--I have seen a lot of 4th degree tears. Sometimes it is because the dr.s don't let the perineum stretch long enough (too busy and in a hurry) and sometimes it is because of a big baby, or a small mom with a very little perineum to begin with. I have also seen a lot of bad deliveries with just plain bad practices---suction, forceps, interns delivering that don't have a clue what they are doing and of course emergency situations where the babies safety is #1. It can be prevented sometimes, but not always. You can also have a torn sphincter from pressure alone, and no perineal tear. Hopefully everything will go smoothly for you, and you can get back to normal and enjoy that beautiful baby. My 3 were well worth it! :) Take care Oops--About the Gas X--I have not tried it. I worked last night and found myself running away from gas a few times hoping no-one would notice. I work in a tight-knit unit so that is hard. I will try to use the restroom if I am having a bad day. My gas usually revolves around my BM's so if I can take care of the BM, I am usually ok. My issue is more of a loudness than odor thing-but I deal with both at times. I am going to purchase that Tannilbit and try it. I need to ask my Dr. if It is ok to take with all my other meds. I have an autoimmune connective tissue disorder and am on steroids, anti-malarials, and other things so I have to be careful. Take care
Kelley
Kelley
Linds, since you have no pudendal nerve damage, you should have a good surgical outcome. My understanding is that pudendal nerve damage decreases the likelihood of a successful outcome, but doesn’t make it impossible. I had/have no nerve function on one side and delayed nerve function on the other. Perhaps this is why I continue with my leaking?? My dr thought that I would benefit from the surgery since my sphincter defect was severe, the perineum was very thin, and there was still some nerve function. The repair of your perineum is the perinealplasty, and I am sorry to tell you that this is what was the most painful for me. However, the worst of the pain is over within a week or 2. Although the soreness and aches do last much longer, they are bearable. The bulked up perineum is supposed to help the sphincter function better. My diet was nothing by mouth for 3-4 days, clear liquid x1, full liquid x1, then soft diet, gradually progressing to high fiber. I thought it would be hard to go without food, but it was easy, just like Mitzee said, I wasn’t hungry. Like Kelley, my wound opened while I was on bed rest. But you should still be very careful about how you move, even turning over in bed, to try to prevent any strain on the incision. Do not sit upright until the incision has begun to knit together. My tear happened 10 years ago with the birth of my 1st child. I don’t know why it happened. My ob didn’t use forceps or suction, and the baby wasn’t huge (almost 8#). However, I had an epidural so I couldn’t feel anything, and I am pretty small. I delivered after 30-40 minutes of pushing. After the delivery, my ob stitched me for almost an hour, and I didn’t realize that I wasn’t working right for a while. I just kept telling myself that the problem would get better, but it never did. I have never used Gas X, but I am quite willing to try. Do you take it once a day? With every meal? How effective is it? And does it cause any change in the frequency or consistency of bm’s? Good luck to you as you make your preparations.

Take care everyone. Lisa, thinking of you and hoping your recovery is going well.

JJ
Linds,
As far as my delivery (8 years ago), I was a 10 at 7am and didn't get him out until 1:45. So I was in the "pushing stage" for quite awhile. I should have had a c-section. I am very small and his head would not fit through the birth canal.. I tore and they used everything from forceps to the suction cup to get him out. It was well worth it, having my son okay, however I should have never gone through all of that trauma. I am hoping that since I do have the nerve damage, I will have success. I can only pray and hope that it will be better than it is today. It is only going to get worse, so I have nothing to lose.

Take care,
Mindy
Hey all,
I have made it to my third week post op. I think I am going crazy staying home and resting so much. My two year old has defintly not been happy about me not lifting him. He refused to hug me for a few days. I expected that though. I am still so incredibly sore and on pain meds. My stitches have opened up all the way now. It is not fun. I use tons of gauze everyday. I am having a hard time believing i will ever heal. I have a large amount of mucus now and started bleeding some this week due to the opening.

Kelley,
when did you start your cautherizing to help healing? I have opened up from opening to opening. I am a little scared about it healing anytime soon.

Linds,
Welcome to this board. I am sorry you are having these issues, but we are not alone. I don't want to scare you, but I want to warn you that if you plan on having anymore children, you need to talk to your Dr about the realization of that and the possiblity. I was told before my surgery, more children were possible with a C-section. After my surgery, I was told more children would cause me to have a colostomy bag and severe damage. He said I would be able to have more children (with help from a specialist because I also suffer from endo), but that my body would not be able to carry it due to the extensive work he had to do. We have decided not to have anymore children now. It was a hard decision, but my health is most important. I do not want to chance a colostomy bag. He said my internal sphincter was very close to my something (not sure) and carrying a baby would cause damage. I am only 5 foot and 115 lbs so maybe my size has something to do with it. Just be cautious if you plan on having more children.

My surgery was only a sphincteroplasty to both my internal and external sphincters. But my Dr talked about building up my perineal, so i am not sure if i had a perinealplasty. I was in the hospital for 6 days on morphine for 4 days. I opened up when I was realeased from the hospital. That was not fun. I have my mom here staying with us to help and I don't know how others get by with out that constant help. I am not supposed to lift anything for 6 weeks. I was put on a low fiber diet when I was released. I see my Dr next week so I am not sure if I will go on a high fiber diet now? You will need to buy a lot of gauze too. I go through so much gauze in one day. I think the hardest thing for me is relaxing this long. I know I need it, but i have been resting and not doing anythign now for three weeks. I still have three more weeks to go. I am going to attempt to drive this weekend. I won't have my mother after this week so i need to be able to take my son to daycare and start working from home. I am scared of how much I have opened and being out of work so long. But rest rest rest is the most important. I think all my questions have been answered on this thread and it has been a wonderful group. so take the time to read everyones story. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. You will get through this.....

My two year old has also decided to potty train himself this week. Daycare has informed me he is completly potty trained at school now. Of course, the one time i can't pick him up or move well he decides to potty train. So i know i have opened up from straining and bending over. I have been pretty down lately because I feel like I am missing this time with him. But I have to keep in mind he won't remember this time and I want him to remember me not running to the bathroom all the time.

I hope everyone is doing well.
Lisa
Lisa, That’s too bad that your wound has opened. I know that it is scary looking and painful and oozy. But, it will heal! Really. My wound was so scary and deep and gaping all the way from my vagina to anus, and it did heal. You will too. Just hang in there. Continue with your gauze, sitz baths, etc. There will still be lots of mucous and goo until the skin closes. Ask your dr about the underlying musculature so that you have reassurance that it is intact. I am so sorry that you had to face such a hard decision about increasing your family. My heart really goes out to you; I hope your spirits are a little higher soon. Take care,
JJ
Lisa, I'm so sorry your stitches have opened up. That sounds like a very, very common - but not welcome - event following surgery, even when one doesn't move around a lot and "cause" it to happen. I think mine have opened in a few teensy places and will see the surgeon Thursday. But most of the incision seems intact. I am so sorry for those on this board that have had such an opening, but thank goodness we can support each other no matter what!

Congrats to your son for potty training himself just when you need him to. Smart kid! This will make it easier for you in the weeks to come.
Here's to an extra nap for all of us,
Mary
Lisa,

I am so sorry! I called my Dr. almost everyday after my stitches opened up scared to death. The poor nurse reassured me every day that it was ok, and expected, and it would heal...she was right. For me, it was a very long road to complete healing and guess what?--after many days of continued soreness, and slight bleeding with BM's I did the mirror check to find that relentless little spot of mine opened up again!!!!!!!! NO wonder I have been sore. On the 18th of June it will be 5 months post op for me. I will probably just leave it alone--I am tired of Dr.s and concentrating on getting my other health issues under control now. The hole will heal. The gauze is important for pulling away the dead tissue, and the sitz baths really promote healing also. All the sudden, tou will notice it starting to heal up and granulate. My bottom was completely unrecognizable after surgery. It didn't even look like I had a rectum at all--rest assured I look normal now except for a lot of visible scars--but who's looking ...right??? My cauterizing was done a couple times in the first 8-12 weeks, and then every 2 weeks from 3 1/2 months on. It did help--but they won't do it when you are really raw and sore. They wait until the healing almost "stalls" and the cauterizing boosts the rate of healing back up again. Hang in there....It will get better. Remember to sit on the cheeks on a soft pillow--Don't stress your incision anymore. Take care.
Kelley
Lisa-

Thanks for your insight. My doctor never mentioned the possibility of not being able to have other children after this surgery. He did mention that I'd have to have a c-section. I am definitely going to contact him first thing in the morning because we want to have at least one more child. I'd certainly postpone my surgery until after I was finished having children.

Mindy/Jou Jou/Kelley/Mary-

Do you guys recommend waiting until I'm finished having children to have this surgery? I am unsure at this point what I want to do. Gas is my biggest issue and from what I hear that isn't going to change after surgery anyway. I know that I need the surgery--but if it puts me at risk to not being able to have more children--I might have to hold off for now.

Please send me your comments on this. Lisa, thanks and I am sorry. Did your surgeon mention this to you as a possible risk?

Thanks.
Lindsay
Linds,
If I were you, I think I would wait to have the surgery until you are done having children. If you definitely want another one, then I would wait. I have two boys (8 and 5) and am done having any more. I would think with the surgery being what it is (recovery and all) I would hate for you to indure that then have more children, and possibly do more damage or much worse. If you can live with it until after you have more and you know you want more children I would hold off. I have lived with this for about 5-6 years, but knowing we don't want anymore children, I know I need to get this taken care of now, even though I am scared to death. I know you will make the right decision for yourself and your family, but having a precious baby will make the wait worth it :)

Lisa,
It is good to hear from you. I think that is my biggest fear as far as the surgery is having the incision open up. I know you will be just fine, and remember to take it easy. I can't imagine having a little one to care for, at least my 8 and 5 year are self sufficient, but I am sure they will want to be with Mommy while she is in bed. Just remember, you are already 3 weeks post surgery and everyday that passes is another day of recovery. Hang in there, you are doing great! I honestly don't know if I will be able to take a mirror and look at my incision when I have the surgery. It might freak me out too much. I don't do good with stuff like that :dizzy:

I have a appt. with my Dr. in 2 weeks to pin down a date for surgery. The last day of school was yesterday, so summer has begun. I am sure it will fly by and before you know it will be time for surgery.. :eek:

Hope this finds everybody well.
Mindy
Linds,
My surgey is also scheduled for the 15th. Let's hope it's our lucky day and every thing goes with out a hitch!! Exactly 2 days after my son turns one year old. What a crazy year!! My first repair was an end to end done by an obgyn 2 months post delivery but it didn't hold. So...here we go again--round number two. This one is being done by a colo-rectal guy--overlapping repair but now my fear is--what if it's too SMALL when he's done???
I never thought I had gas before (although I did feel bloated often) but after wards I had gas all the time!! Very embarrasing at work, to say the least. But my dr. did a stool sample and found candida and high bacterial levels so she gave me Tanaltib ( a natural antifungal ) and this made a world of difference!! It actually made me think that maybe I could get away with out having the surgery. She said it help in about 80% of people who have gas and bloating issues. She also put me on oral nystatin for a month to kill the yeast. The Tanalbit is a supplement so you don't need a script for it. Look back in the links--someone found a place on the internet to buy it cheaper than I get mine. I'll be interested to hear if it helps others on this site as much as it has helped me.
Good luck! I'll be interested to hear about your progress after surgery!
Robin
Lindsay, You are, of course, the only one to decide what is right for you. But, for me, it was important to complete my family before having this surgery. For one, you aren’t having full blown accidents, and while the gas and leaking is not an insignificant problem, it seems like something that could be tolerated in the interests of having more children. Especially if something like the gas-x or tanalbit or chlorphyl could help. Secondly, additional pregnancies/deliveries could cause the same or additional damage. If you wait, you could, hopefully, have surgery to fix the problem without chancing more damage. My damage came with my 1st child. Afterward, my ob/gyn told me to wait until I was done having children before pursuing a remedy. When I began to see surgeons, many years later, the 1st one I saw told me that some women can get damage to the muscles and/or nerves just from the pressures and physical stress of pregnancy, even if the delivery is by c-section. This is just my opinion. You should talk to as many people as possible before you decide either way. It is hard to live with this crappy problem, but I am glad I waited. Also, interestingly, during my 2 subsequent pregnancies, I never experienced any leakage or incontinence of gas! It must have been something to do with the pressure of the baby, I don’t really know, but it was wonderful! I was very regular, with complete, easy bm’s. Good luck to you.
JJ
Lindsay,

My doctor also did say that it would be better to be done having children before having this surgery. I would have to have a c-section with any subsequent births, but the main risk is of pressure during the actual pregnancy on the pelvic floor. This is not to say that you couldn't have more children, but I didn't want to risk it. Also, tears in the sphincter can and do occur without vaginal deliveries. I know it is a hard decision to make. I did not have the good fortune that Jou Jou had during her subsequent pregnancies. My leaking became a horrible issue while pregnant with my other 2 children. I also had urinary problems, so if I wasn't peeing all over myself, I was leaking stool all the time! :dizzy: I have heard that recovering from c-sections is so much harder than a vaginal delivery that I was not very excited to have that be my option either. I would talk to your dr. more extensively about it. Maybe he or she can offer more insight into it. If you are only having the gas issues, maybe try that supplement, and see if that helps in the mean time. Either way, you definitely deserve to not be miserable. Take care,
Kelley
So my surgery is a week from tomorrow. I've been buying herbal baths and homeopathy remedies all with the hopes of speeding healing and minimizing the chances of infection. I think I'm ready (mentally) to do this. I'm so excited to live a normal life, go to yoga classes again, run with other people and be rid of the constant fear of embarrassment. But the question I'm afraid to ask is... what if the second time fails too? Then what do I do?
Pray hard right now, I guess.
Robin
Hi Robin... sounds like you're ready! Please keep us posted on your progress. My experience was different from some others on this thread in that I am 4 wks post-op now and my incision has not opened, in fact has healed nicely. I am almost back to normal with my BMs and look forward to getting the bottle of Tanalbit I ordered, to be sure I don't have too much candida in my intestine. I managed to get throuth a UTI, an impaction (remember the mag citrate???) and an external yeast infection, so I think I'm in the home stretch now. I just want to reassure you that some of us do have fairly quick healing and I hope you'll be one of us. It's a good thing your repair now is overlapping, not end-to-end. I'm not sure about the herbal baths, if they might be irritating. I've just used plain warm water in the tub twice a day and that seemed to do fine. It sounds like your main problem is gas, right? I have much less gas since the surgery; less trapped stool and less fermenting. I hope the same goes for you. How long will you be in the hospital?

If the "second time fails" then you'll just deal with it. You have more strength than you realize.

I'll be thinking of you...
Mary
Hi Robin,

At this point, you have done all you can do. It is time to relax, pray, and have a lot of positive thinking that this surgery will be successful for you. I know there are a lot of "what ifs," and I was scared to death having the surgery..but keep a positive attitude-it really does help. Please keep us posted on your recovery when you can. What kind of post op directions have you had so far (length of stay, diet, restrictions??) I will be thinking of you.
Kelley
Robin,

Like Mary, I have healed exceedingly well. Had no impaction, no wound opening, yeast infection, or UTIs. I used my sitz bath (that the hospital supplied) 3 times daily, especially after BMs. My doc also had me using a cream on the incision that had "caine" in the name, usually used for hemorroids (sp). You can buy it over the counter. I also used gauze for the first couple of weeks, but just used pads after that for drainage. Only had 2 days that I had any bleeding, and it was a very small amount. I couldn't sit straight up for several weeks, but that passed quickly. I'm 7 weeks post op and am getting some energy back. Had a flair with my chronic fatigue/fibromyalgia, but that is better now. So, all in all, I've had it much easier than some of the people on the board. I do have problems retaining gas, as I have mentioned many times on the board. I am no longer having panic attacks about it and I keep telling myself I am getting better everyday. I'm doing the Kegel exercises 3 times daily, but they take about 3 - 6 mos. to show improvement. I've only been doing them 4 weeks, but I do think I see a little improvement. I have my BMs in the morning, usually 4-5 still. I'm taking stool softners and am using 1 tsp. of Benefiber each night in a can of V-8 juice. It has kept my stools soft, but I don't go a lot at a time, which is why I'm having so many of them. My digestive system has not caught up with the changes yet. However, I'm mostly free of gas in the afternoon. So I schedule everything around that right now. I don't work outside the home, so I can manage my time and BMs OK. The urgency has decreased, so I can hold it for longer periods of time. That has been a major concern about not leaving the house before my BMs stop about 11:30. I think I could make it to a public bathroom now if I needed to. I wear pads when I am out, just in case I have an accident, which hasn't happened. But, good insurance. I also have not had any leakage of BM in a couple of weeks.

The healing process will take time and is different for everyone. I was pretty ignorant about this whole process before the surgery. Found out so much by being part of this message board and the support is wonderful. I wasn't scared about the surgery beforehand because I didn't know enough to be scared about. Try to relax, and as Kelly said, you have done everything you can in preparation. Now it's just having the surgery, being patient with yourself with the healing and knowing it will take time. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Suzan
Robin,
Good luck. I'll be thinking of you and hope the surgery and recovery go very smoothly.

JJ
Hi Suzan... my surgeon had me eliminate stool softeners and reduce fibers so that I'd have fewer BMs. He also Rx'd Lomotil (generic = Lomox) which works like anti-diarrheals like Immodium only faster, to slow the action of the colon. It has helped a lot and for the last 3 days I've only had one or two BMs each morning, around breakfast. I was concerned about getting constipated or forming an impaction, but that hasn't happened. About 5 yrs before this surgery I was diagnosed with "rapid transit" which resulted in 5-6 BMs per day so my colon wasn't absorbing nutrients, plus I had the problems of not being able to hold it due to the sphincter defects and rectocele. So perhaps you might try slowly cutting back on the stool softeners...? It worked for me.

I started Tabalbit 2 days ago, just two caps before lunch. Hmmm... I'm sniffling & blowing my nose several times each afternoon. Maybe I'm allergic to the plant tannins? Anyone else had this experience?

Mary
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