Oh my God, gela, I had the same thing happen to me. I had my son back in 1986. It was a natural childbirth and the doctor gave me an episiotomy. I ended up tearing so bad with a 4th degree laceration. Back then I developed a rectovaginal fistula. I was in the hospital for six days with an infection. I kept telling my doctor there was something wrong down there, but he ignored me saying it was just my uterus contracting - trying to go back to normal. I knew he was wrong. By the time I got home, I freaked out because I had stool coming through my vagina. I was only 22 at the time. Over time, my fistula healed. But now in my 40s, I've had some problems with leakage. When I talked to a colon/rectal surgeon who I went to see for a colonoscopy, he took a look at me and couldn't believe what I told him happened so many years ago. I ended up having a very thin layer of tissue between my rectum and vagina. He said he could help me. Before my surgery, doctors ran test and noticed I had very little muscle and had nerve damage. So, I had surgery in June 2007, developed an abscess almost immediately after the surgery, so I was back under the knife. I spent two weeks in the hospital trying to recover. By the time I went home, I was back in the hospital to have everything repaired because it had all fallen apart. I received a temporary loop ileostomy July 2007. I was only to have it three months, but here it is 14 months later. My fourth surgery was in October 2007 to once again try to fix a fistula by doing a z plasty or flap. After four surgeries with my doctor, I decided to find someone else. I went to the Cleveland Clinic. I wanted a women's perspective because my male doctor was just too proud of his work with the z plasty/flap. I ended up with this "bulge" down there that to me, even though my husband and I will be the only ones to see it, bugs the hell out of me.
To make a long story short, I was feeling pretty good about my visit to the Cleveland Clinic. My new doctor went in to fix the rectovaginal fistula in May 2008. By July, it seemed to look like it healed, but she wanted to put me under and get a better look. Unfortunately, it still has not healed. Before putting me under in August, my doctor lined the head of gynecology at CC to see what she could do to get rid of the bulge I despise. This gynecologist was going to be present in the OR as well as bringing in a plastic surgeon to do their part. Because my fistula did not heal, the doctors did not attempt the surgery. I was devastated. My doctor had me stay over night so she and the gynecologist could consult my husband and me of options. They told me to really think about what is important to me. My doctors don't think I have a good chance of being continent because I no longer have the muscles needed to keep me continent. Evidently, I no longer have a sphincter? Furthermore, my doctor was shocked as to how much scar tissue I have. I cried so much because I thought I would have to have my ileostomy forever.
A few days after returning from the CC, I decided to quit feeling sorry for myself and do lots of research on my options. I read either on this forum or the J-Pouch forum of someone in Canada who is going through artificial sphincter surgery. It will be interesting to find out her results.
How long ago to you give birth? Was this just recent or years ago like me?
Hope to hear from you.
OMG - I couldn't believe my eyes when I was reading Gela and Ohio43's posts! I too, had a 4th degree tear during the childbirth of my first child in Dec. 1996. I was doing great for a few hours with my midwife and then the baby got stuck and she ended up calling the doctor in. He cut and I immediately tore. After I healed I never gave it another thought until all the horrible uncontrollable explosive D started with the UC four years ago. At some point I discussed it with my GI and he considered it and then dismissed it. Later, when I met with my surgeon, I brought it up again. He did numerous tests to test my sphincter muscles, all of which I apparently passed, and I went ahead with the 2-step j-pouch surgery. I am now almost 5 months post takedown and my only complaints are joint pain/arthritis AND INCONTINENCE!!! It's not horrible like it was with the UC. It's almost gentle, like I don't even know it's happening until I feel itching or burning down there. It's like I'm too relaxed and nothing's holding back the poop. It's worse at night when I sleep. I don't wear diapers, but I have to wear pads ALL the time. I probably change my pads 2 or 3 times a day (usually late in the afternoon or into the evening) and another 2 or 3 times overnight. I take Lomotil and Immodium, but I'm not sure they help. Metamucil wafers definitely help, but not enough. I haven't brought it up because I'm sooooo happy that I'm not sick anymore and I keep thinking that maybe it's temporary and it will get better, but just this morning I was telling my mom about it and that I probably need to make an appt. to see the surgeon and discuss it.
PLEASE keep us posted on what you find out. If I let myself, I could get very upset about this, but I love, Love, LOVE not being, feeling, acting sick anymore.
I've been thinking about this thread ever since I first read it. Some of the things you posted - like stool coming thru the wrong opening - I've had this experience (I think) a few times but since it didn't continue I wondered if I had imagined it. It happened after the birth of my children and I think it's happened a couple of times both pre and post op for the UC. I would really like to hear back from gela if she had this sphincter surgery. I know that my surgeon had talked about repairing those muscles at one time, but then he determined that they were strong enough on their own after doing a series of tests. I don't necessarily agree with him. I think the non-stop 3-year UC flare of violent, spastic, explosive diarrhea took it's toll on my sphincters (along with other parts of me) and that's why I'm having the incontinence problems now. I love my j-pouch and I could live with some discomforts, but I don't want this to continue and I wonder if this is something I should look into. Do you know of any websites or forums I could look into about this?
Thanks for being out there! -Laura
P.S. gela - come back!
sorry it took me so long to get back. yes i had the surgery 2 weeks ago. it hurt like $%^&
but as long as i don't have incontinence i'll be happy. ohio, were any of those surgeries to repair the sphincter?
Hi Gela and welcome back! I'm so sorry the surgery was painful. Did your surgeon feel that it was successful? How long were you in the hospital? Have you been able to stand or do you have to recline like he said? How long before you know if it worked? Sorry for all the questions. I'm so curious about this because of my situation. I think Mary (Ohio43) will be glad to hear from you too. As far as I can tell, we are 3 of a kind so far, but I'm sure there's more to this club. As I said, welcome back and I hope you're feeling better! -Laura
i'm not surewhen i'll know if it's successful. i; go to the doc tomorrow. my incisions are open now, which scares me, but he says that 90% end up that way. i'm hurting pretty bad a t times still, even though it's been 2 weeks. so much for the "couple of days of soreness." he should have to have the surgery and then he'll know what to tell his patients!
it still hurts to sit. i sit on a pillow or to the side at work now. i'm praying for healling!