Janet

Symptoms:

Painful adhesions and a visible bulge from my body.

Diagnosis:

Vaginal Vault Prolapse

Age at diagnosis: 63

How did you learn about your diagnosis?

My symptoms made it pretty obvious to me, but I felt embarrassed and frustrated by it. That caused me to ignore it longer than I should have. Eventually I saw a doctor and was diagnosed.

How did this condition impact your life?

The pain caused me to be less active than I normally am — moving around was painful. Going to the bathroom was always an uncomfortable reminder that I needed to do something to address my body’s needs.

What treatment options did you explore?

As soon as I talked to my doctor about treatment options I told him I didn’t want mesh. I’ve heard the commercials. He told me that a pessary was an option and explained how they work. He also told me there were surgical options that could be done through small abdominal incisions.

How did you make your decision?

I thought the decision was easy – I chose a pessary. I had already had a hysterectomy and wasn’t keen on another surgery. But over time removing and cleaning it became a burden. I finally told my daughter about the situation and we researched other options together. After that, I decided to have the abdominal mesh surgery.

Please describe your surgical and recovery experience.

The surgery was better than my hysterectomy. They just used a few small incisions on my stomach and recovery wasn’t too bad. In fact, I felt better sooner than I thought I would and felt ready to resume my life before the date my doctor had cleared me for normal activity. He had to slow me down and remind me that even if my incisions had healed, it was still healing internally.

How has your life been with your chosen treatment?

Now, I am back to my normal activities without any pain. It is nice not having to fuss with a pessary anymore either. My only regret is letting fear take hold for so long.

What would you say to another woman experiencing your same type of symptoms or diagnosis?

Don’t feel like you have to hide your condition from your doctor or close family. I felt pain for a long time because of fear.

*This story is fictional and the information presented is only intended to represent common experiences of women receiving treatment for POP or SUI. It should be used for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or other medical professional. We strongly encourage you to discuss all health matters and concerns with your physician before beginning, stopping or changing any treatment strategies.