Rectocele & Mesh
I was up very early this morning because a storm came through my area and awakened me. I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t because I began thinking about all the women who have mesh erosion in their colons. Yes it is happening all around the world and the results are terrible.
When I began researching this subject, I noted the amount of studies on this subject was only six months long. I could not find anything about studies after three, five or ten years. This is because no one is minding the store of what is happening to women with long term mesh in their bodies.
I look back almost four years ago and think about how ignorant I was and how much I believed that a doctor’s education protected me. Sadly since then I have come to realize that if I don’t understand about a certain medical condition, then I can be sure it won’t be explained to me. I now know education is the key to surviving the overuse of mesh in surgeries. This morning I am writing this blog for the woman who has just been diagnosed with a rectocele prolapse.
I remember being in a shower and finding my own rectocele prolapse and I was scared to death. Being ignorant I first thought I must have a tumor. I was so scared I asked my sister to look for me and see what she thought. She told me she thought it could be a prolapse. I knew there was such a thing but nothing more, so I researched and found a doctor to go and get it checked. That was the beginning of a long road through Hell.
First I did not understand that a prolapse was not going to kill me. It was uncomfortable yes because it protruded from my vagina and was causing bladder infections because I could not urinate properly. But the prolapse itself was not going to kill me even though I worried that it would burst and the contents of my bowel would spill into my body and would poison and kill me. Now I know this will NOT happen, so don’t panic. First get a proper diagnosis.
DO NOT set a date for surgery immediately when you get the diagnosis. Do not allow yourself to be convinced you need to do something NOW. You do not. First ask questions about your prolapse and specifically the size which you will be told in terms of one through four. One being it is very small and of no consequence and four being it is on the large scale. Do not panic if you are told it is a 3 or 4. Go home and research and think long and hard before you go back. Then ask questions.
First you will need to know one important fact. How will this surgeon fix your rectocele. Get specifics even if you don’t want to know. This is your life and you cannot stick your head in the sand. You need to know something VERY important. What will he/she use to fix it? Don’t let them give you terms you do not understand. Stop them if they do and ask again and say you need layman’s terms. The most important fact is will it be fixed with polypropylene mesh or sutures? Don’t let your doctor fill your head with things like “I don’t use the mesh that causes all the problems you hear about”. THEY ALL CAUSE PROBLEMS!
You should be aware that some doctors use mesh because it is quick and easy to do. They believe that adding a large patch of this stuff will stop you having problems in the future. Don’t believe it. Having mesh wrapped around your colon long term, meaning a year or longer can cause you agonizing results and lead you down the road to a colostomy. I KNOW THIS FOR A FACT because I know women that this has happened to. A colostomy may not be reversed and that many colostomies that are done “near the rectum” are unable to be reversed . A colostomy is the removal of your colon or part of it and they will put a bag to catch your waste outside your body.
If you are wondering what happens with mesh on the colon then I can explain. If it erodes through the wall of your colon, your waste will flow through your vagina and out your body causing you agony and terrible results. I don’t want you to live or die like this which is why I am writing this blog.
Some doctors will tell you that they only use bio mesh. So I looked it up and the FDA states this product should be used with caution. In other words they are giving you a warning. Start digging and ask more questions. If you have a friend who is an RN or nurse practitioner ask them to help you read about this and explain it so that you can understand. Cook or buy her a special lunch because believe me she is worth her weight in gold.
You should know that I had a rectocele done using sutures more than three and a half years ago. So far, no problems. My downhill slide came from the same surgeon asking me what happened when I coughed or sneezed. She asked me if I had any incontinence because of it. I admitted that there was times when I had a small amount when I sneezed, so I always wore a mini pad to protect my clothing, just in case. However, I did not have what I would consider incontinence. In other words I could control myself when I needed to go to the bathroom and could always make it in time. From that moment on she had decided she could make sure I never had to worry about it in the future and there was an easy fix. I had no clue that that easy fix would involve years of agony and many more surgeries to rid my body of mesh and try to correct more problems that came from the use of a mesh bladder sling. Don’t become me!
You may ask if there is a non surgical way to help with a rectocele issue. I having including a link to tell you there is. Please read it.
So now you have been warned. Shop for a doctor the same way you would shop for a wedding dress. Spend time deciding which to choose. Do not make instant decisions. Do not become involved with a charismatic doctor who tries to tell you that you have nothing to worry about. This is your life not theirs. Your body. Your future. Don’t let anyone take it away from you.
I found some links to help you through this journey. Get more than one opinion if you are not sure if you can wait. A prolapsed is not life or death. You can wait and decide.
More facts. Read this and stop worrying unless you are having symptoms that control your life. http://www.fascrs.org/patients/conditions/rectocele
Get your questions answered here. http://prolapse.hyperboards.com/action/view_topic/topic_id/4983
What is a colostomy http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002942.htm
What is biomesh http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomesh
Can I help myself without surgery? http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0501/p2719.html