Rectocele repair recovery

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Some help/advice please ladies I am just over three weeks post op for rectocele surgery (vaginal approach) I am only 39 and felt I was doing brilliantly until two days ago when I did something stupid. Because I felt I was recovering well, I decided to have a feel around. Since then I have felt like there is a tennis ball in my vagina and the vaginal entrance feels very sore and tender, with some stitches hanging down. I did see a doctor at the Gynae Assessment Unit. He snipped the stitches but didn't check internally. Could I have ruined the repair? I am really freaking out about this. Also terrified the surgery will have wrecked my sex life and that if I have prolapsed again, it will be worse than before. Feeling that I should have deferred surgery and worried it's all gone wrong. The doctor I saw was quite sniffy about my age and having surgery so young and also said he couldn't tell me if sex would be possible again. I felt quite upset - I didn't exactly want this procedure but I had a rectocele! I do wish my consultant had made me aware of the outcomes and limitations of the surgery. I have done my research post procedure and now it's too late.

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19 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi sal

    Try not to worry too much, you are very early days as yet. This is major surgery and can take up to 3 or 4 months to recover from. It will be swollen, tender and narrow from the surgery and around 4 to 6 weeks the wounds will tighten up and stitches will loosen off.

    I had front and back pelvic floor repair a year ago and didn't feel that the swelling went down until around 6 or 7 weeks and it will slacken off and resettle.

    Just be very careful not to put any down pressure on your pelvic floor whole healing and don't lift anything heavy or be on your feet for too long . Your body will tell you when you overdo things it's a long drawn out recovery.

    Take care,

    Phyl x

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    • Posted

      Thanks Phyl. I feel like I've done too much because I was feeling so well. I've been going on long walks, on my feet a lot, bits and bobs of housework and carrying light shopping. I'm so worried as it feels like there is a bulge in the same place as before only MUCH bigger. I've been stupid and if the surgery has failed it's all my fault and I'll probably be in a worse state than pre surgery. 😥

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    • Posted

      They really don't warn us properly to take it easy. We feel so good at start because anesthetic effect takes time to completely wear off and then we can be on painkillers for a few days or more then because we are resting we think we are OK. It is too easy to forget we have just had major surgery and not being able to see the actual wound doesn't help. Unlike other wounds the pelvic floor takes the full weight of all the pelvic organs so we really have to be careful. I wish they would explain this properly to patients when being discharged.

      I did rest first time I had repair op for a couple of weeks but then thought because I was told possibility of being back at work from 6 weeks that I should be back to normal by then so started building up walking, and household chores far too quickly and of course may have contributed to failure of repairs. They are setting us up for failure not impressing the need to rest and giving a recovery time as from 6 weeks, there is no way that repaid ops done vaginally are going to be repaired enough to travel regularly to work at 6 weeks plus cover a full shift.

      Keep resting and build up slowly, you just need time for body to recover.

      Phyl x💖

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  • Posted

    I had a large rectocele and had it repaired last year, at 41.   I can have sex just fine, although it took several months to want to try.  Somewhere after 12 weeks.

    At my 2 week appointment there was a gentle internal check, which makes me think that you gently checking wouldn't destroy the surgery.  It shouldn't be done, of course, but I think bacteria might be the biggest danger.  Something like sex would be much more traumatic and I think could wreck it.  This is just speculation on my part, but I think you will be ok.  Just keep an eye out for signs of infection an for leave things alone.

    When I checked internally at 6 weeks I didn't feel all the bulges you felt, but there was still a Frankenstein like scar.  It is gone now, smooth and faint, and even early on my husband couldn't feel it during sex.  Things looked much lumpier early on and I bet they would have felt a lot worse, too.  It takes quite a while to fully heal.  Just give yourself time.  It really does get better smile

     

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    • Posted

      Thank you for your reply Dorry. If things haven't settled in a few days I think I will get a check up. I need to know one way or the other.

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    • Posted

      Hi Sal12. Sorry you feel so upset about this, as the others have said, it's early days yet so don't despair. I do think you have been overdoing things though so now it's time to rest up and take care of yourself. Feet up and lie down if you feel achy and heavy down below. I'm now12 days since my op, Rectocele repair and SSF and feeling ok ish but still get very tired and lie down a lot. It's the only position I can get comfy as sitting seems to compress everything and I feel pain then. 3-4 weeks is when we feel like we're well but a false positive as we still have to take care, things tend to take a backward step at this time so rest, rest and more rest! I have been through this before, some years ago and now 74 so not too bad I suppose. Let your family help more with shopping, cooking, housework etc and give up long walks at least until you're about 6-7 weeks then build up slowly. Take care of your self now. Pollyanna UK xrolleyes 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Pollyanna. I've been resting a lot today and not really done anything. I also find that lying down is more comfortable. Hopefully I'll be okay in a couple of weeks as I'll be back to my job as a primary school teacher, so lots of standing and no chance to rest.

      Good luck with your recovery, hope you're feeling okay. X

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    • Posted

      I am almost 7 weeks out. I felt miserable after week #2. Seemed like things got worse not better! Definitely rest, rest and more rest. You will feel guilty for all the resting, but your body needs it, trust me. I was completely freaked out that I had screwed up something. I even went to the lengths of trying to take pictures down there, which isn't easy! Then I would compare it to another pic if something felt off to see if there is a difference. Girl.... don't put yourself through that. It is easy for us to feel like we messed something up. Get a check up, to at least settle your fears. Hopefully, it is just a part of healing. My Dr. Said 3-6 weeks is when most of healing takes place. I took short walks, like 1/3 of a mile at a time, but rested the rest of the time. I was downright lazy! I did begin watching youtube channels and started crocheting again. That was a saving grace for me. I go back this week for my check up and release to return to work. It does get better! This is my 1st week of no pain since surgery. Still tired but that's ok. Please just rest! Let us know what your check up shows.

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    • Posted

      I'm ok but taking things very easy. Please ask advice before you return to work when you've had the post op checkup.  I've work in a primary school years ago and it is hard work, getting down to their level! Be as lazy as you can for awhile now. If you go to the top of this page, click on Genitourinary Prolapse then fine the post on Rescources. Lots of help and advice on here from Matron if you can find it ok. X

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  • Posted

    Hi - I am booked for Rectocele repair tomorrow (in Queensland, Australia) I am 40, have a very active sex life with my husband - my doctor who is one of the best private docs in my area has told me that although I may be 'narrower' it won't affect our sex life - alot of the reviews I have read people are pleased with their sex life after .... that's horrible that the doctor you saw couldn't tell you if sex would be possible again!!!!! At 39!!! What a jerk!

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    • Posted

      Good luck with your surgery Jewels, sounds like you have a reassuring consultant. I am still not feeling right. I think I need an internal examination but I cannot get in to see anyone. My GP is fully booked for a fortnight and my consultant's secretary told me I will have to wait until 3-4 months post op for follow up and won't be seen any sooner as, even if the repair has failed, nothing can be done at this stage anyway. Just want to know one way or the other. Are you feeling okay for tomorrow? Make sure you clear your bowels before the op as it can be difficult going afterwards and you don't want the pressure of that on your stitches or the discomfort of needing a poo/being constipated.

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    • Posted

      Hi Sal

      All over and done - I was feeling fine, there is something very calming and extremely competent about my doc/surgeon we spoke before the anaesthetist did his thing and again he explained I would be narrower but it wouldn't affect intercourse. This evening when he came to check on me he had mentioned the possibility of fixing any gaping at the bottom of the vagina if he noticed it in surgery (he hadn't in his consult rooms but I was slightly tense lol - can never fully relax my knees etc despite being told too!!!) when I asked him he said he hadn't needed to and he really doesn't like messing around too much unless really needed, especially because I am so young... bless him! I have had some pain and he took some of the pack out to relieve the pressure - still some pain but the pressure pain has eased.

      I'm really sorry you are going through such a tough time - I didn't read to see if there were any more comments or if you had sorted anything out with doctors? That's not good enough that you cannot get in to see someone asap!!!! Keep on their case - don't give up!!!! I will send all my positive, fighting spirit over to you ( I hope though I missed reading you found a solution...)

      I'm going to try and get some sleep so it's morning and I can get cannula, catheter and pack out and I can go home to my gorgeous husband and furbabies to rest up xx

      Cheers

      Julie

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    • Posted

      Hi Jewels. Sounds like you've got a super surgeon. He seems very considerate and understanding, which is what we need. I hope you're doing well and not too uncomfortable. Take it really easy and don't be tempted to over do it even if you're feeling well. I managed to see my GP yesterday thankfully. It was a young locum and she was lovely. She was really patient, had a proper inspection and answered all my questions. It seems I have a hard ridge of scar tissur forming which is what I can feel. She said it will smooth over with time. Asked her about sex and she said she doesn't see any reason why there should be a problem, just to wait until I'm ready and go slowly and use lubrication. I still have undissolved internal stitches but no sign of recurrence!! Yay! She had a look and asked me to bear down, but she couldn't find any evidence of a rectocele. I'm so relieved I saw her. Concentrating on taking things easy and trying to be patient.

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    • Posted

      So glad you have managed to see a doctor and she has put your mind at rest.

      When I went for my 12 week post op the first thing they ask is if you have had sex yet as this can be an indication of successful repair.

      We hadn't at that point as this time I had both front and back repair and the back edge of vag... was thin and nippy so I had to leave it for a while.

      At the top of the genitourinary forum page is a pinned section of useful resources and if you click and scroll down there is a section giving advice on comfortable positions for intercourse after repair surgery.

      It's really reassuring for us to hear that all is well, take care.

      Phyl x💖

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    • Posted

      Hi Sal, glad you managed to see a doctor for some reassurance. I think we all have doubts during the healing process, I know I am at the mo! My BM's are ok ish but still needing to wee quite often, I can't seem to hold on yet but it's only 18 days so I'm not in despair yet. I have some right buttock pain from the the SSF but was told to expect that. The large strong stitch they use has to hold a lot up inside and should eventually dissolve as the vault prolapse heals attached to the spinal ligament by the stitch they said. I seem to spend a lot of my time lying on the recliner or the bed sometimes. I get very tired still. I doubt if I will be able to do pelvic floor exercises for awhile, too many internal stitches from the rectocele repair. Keep taking things easy Sal, try not to worry about going back to work yet if you want the repair to last and get back to normal in all things! lol twisted 

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    • Posted

      Hi Pollyanna. I think you're right about worrying that things aren't healing right -  need to be more patient and not stress too much if possible!! You're doing the right thing by resting, it will help the healing process and get you over the surgery.  We need to remind ourselves that this operation is a major one and it will take time to recover. I hope as the weeks pass I will feel less vulnerable. All the best. X

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    • Posted

      Hi Sal

      That is fantastic that you got to see someone so caring - I'm so pleased your mind was put at ease - now you just need to focus on you healing before you get back into some action wink

      I had an ok night - woke up in pain a few times but the lovely nurses gave my some endone and back to sleep I eventually drifted... this morning the doctor came by and said I'm all good to go home - I have to see him in 2 weeks, I have been freed from all the extras hanging out of my body - just had breakfast and am now having a cup of tea before I venture into the shower (which I am dying to do!!!!) then it will just be waiting for discharge time smile

      I don't feel so bad at this point but I think the fact I have been lying in a hospital bed - not yet doing anything, the doc pumped the area full of local during surgery and I'm having nurses bring me drugs - may be the big reason for this.... most of the pain I've had is lower abdominal, cramping and lower back (which I have anyway but this feel different). Anyway I shall see how I go when I'm up and moving about but will take notice of your warning not to do too much.

      Once again I'm so please that you have received some peace of mind! BTW - just curious - where do you live Sal? ( I live in in the country just out of Bundaberg in Queensland, Australia).

      Cheers

      Julie

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    • Posted

      Hi Julie. Just wondered how you're getting on and if you're back home yet? Keep on top of the medication and laxatives for a while - the last thing you want right now is to get constipated!

      I live in Derbyshire, in England so my op was done on the NHS.

      Take care xx

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