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Reconstructive surgery involving a COLOSTOMY bag months after birth....anyone else out there?

(26 Posts)
Preezal Wed 13-May-09 10:14:38

I've had faceal incontinence problems since having my baby last Sept. I had a ventouse delivery following 63 hours of contractions and was not given an episiotomy. They repaired a 2nd degree tear when in fact it was far worse than that. Nearly 9 months on I'm now booked in for an extensive operation involving a plastic surgeon and colo-rectal surgeon. I will have to have a colostomy bag for 3 months and they will have to take skin and muscle from my thigh. Not only was the severity of the tear not picked up at delivery (which I can just about understand and forgive), but it was then not picked up following 5 examinations weeks later when I complained about the accidents I was having. I am angry to say the least and in shock at the gross negligence of the medical staff who were responsible.
I am so against the natural birth movement. I did the delivery on gas and air thinking that was the best way to do it. How wrong can you get. It was horrific. All other aspects of medicine have moved on but not childbirth. We're still expected to squat, bite on a stick and get the baby out naturally, RUBBISH.
Anyone else had such a rough time? It would really help me to hear from you.

hoochymama Wed 13-May-09 13:07:22

bumping for you, as haven't had a similar experience but hope that someone comes along soon.

V V sorry to hear that your birth was so awful, virtual hugs to you, hope that the surgery goes well.

Lulumama Wed 13-May-09 15:17:17

there is a thread that might be useful for those who've had 3rd/ 4th degree tears and resulting continence issues. it is in this topic somewhere i think. will try to find it and link for you

i don';t think the natural birth movement is at fault here, it sounds as though aspects of your care were sadly lacking and that is wrong.

i do think it would be worthwhile to make a complaint to the hospital and see if you can get some answers and an apology at the least.

i can totally understand why you feel so angry
and would also recommend getting in touch with the Birth trauma association or SHeila kitzinger;s birth crisis helpline . the BTA has s upport for women who have had bad tearing and continence issues post birth

it wou

Lulumama Wed 13-May-09 15:21:23 r#15301048 this thread might be useufl for you

CoteDAzur Wed 13-May-09 16:27:51

Preezal sad

I know what you mean. If men had to do pregnancy & childbirth, they would have invented many alternatives a long time ago.

I had a huge episiotomy and horrible pain for weeks afterwards. It took me months to feel human. The anger still burns hot inside me. Still, your experience puts mine into perspective.

Have you considered legal action against the hospital? I bet a bit of revenge action will help you feel much better.

mupet Tue 26-May-09 17:38:16

Hi there,

Im so sorry to hear what you have been through, i went through the same thing 5 years ago and still have my colostomy which i was told i would only have for 3 months, from when my membranes ruptured to when my daughter was born was 56 hours, my case in the high court is at the end of the year, i have been doing my own research into this problem and to how it occurs and the correct way this problem should be dealt with. If you can give me a bit more info regarding your events of labour and how long your membranes had ruptured and were you having problems dilating? I have fought to find support and answers for five years and havent had any joy as no one wants to no so i am finding out the clinical evidence myself. When did you have your baby and was your baby ok? Have you instructed a solicitor regarding this and have the hospital carried out any test with regards to your damages you have or offered you an alternative surgury for your injurys?
You are so not alone and through my experiances i will support you in any way i can, take care x x x

Gillyan Wed 27-May-09 12:06:09


I think I have read your post before, haveyou posted on the general Health topic? Thereis a sphincter support thread on there.

I am having a elec c/s this time as I had a 3rd degree tear last time. Luckily it was picked up straight awya and I had a good repair job and have had no incontinence probs, I am 34 wks PG now and I am having the section as terrifed what has happened to you will happen this time.

My delivery wasn't instrumental or anything and no obvious reason for the tear.

I feel for you I really do, it must be very hard to cope with, I just hope that in the long run your surgery works and you get better. I know that musn't really help while you are going through it.

Thinking of you xx

Gillyan Wed 27-May-09 12:07:01

Ooops I see someone already put a link on fot the thread.

louloubee Wed 28-Sep-11 20:08:33


I know this thread was started a couple of years ago....are you still there???? I was in labour for 6 days and the whole time I was in excruciating pain as baby was posterior (not that anyone picked up on that).Unfortunately I was pretty much in the worst maternity unit around. I was left for up to 8 hours at a time without being seen and kept being asked to go home even though my contactions were only a few minutes a part and were so strong that they were almost off the scale when monitored. My baby was delivered by forceps...I sustained a 4th Degree tear (400 stitches).

Once home I noticed faeces constantly coming through my vagina and after going back to the ward and being told that "what you're describing only happens in 3rd world Countries", a consultant informed me at my 8 week check-up that I had a recto-vaginal fistula. Having the baby's head in the birth canal for so long cut off my blood supply and so a lot of my tissue died. Hence the fistula.

13 Months later I am due to have a colostomy bag fitted. The damage is so extensive that I have a 50/50 chance of repair surgeries working and the bag ever being reversed.

I am taking legal action and wondered how your case went?

I agree with everything you say about natural labour!!! I'm also so sorry to read your story. We have been treated disgracefully by "health professionals". Now that so much time as passed I hope you have recovered??

Ushy Wed 28-Sep-11 22:29:48

Had a quick look for you in some stuff from where I work - payouts seem in the region of £140,000 - there are a growing number! How on earth you could have been left for days in that kind of pain - appalling.
Make sure you go for a specialist obstetric litigation lawyer or a practice with a specialist division. (i.e. don't use your local solicitors). The specialist teams have much higher success rates - it is a very specialist area.

Good luck - and hammer them for every penny. It seems to be the only way you bring about change in the NHS!

soapy4 Sun 16-Oct-11 18:24:16

Hi there,

Im also getting a colostomy next year how was it??? did your surgery work my 4th degree tear went unnoticed for weeks hence the pain 7 months on I still cannot sit or use toilet roll sori tmi I attend the pain clinic still the pain has never eased I wonder how these staff are supposed to be qualified if they could not see this

Preezal Mon 21-May-12 22:07:39

Hi All

I haven’t been on this site for so long. I am staggered by these stories.
As per my previous message, I had my baby girl in Sept 08 by ventouse following a 63 hour labour. With only gas and air I sustained a 3C degree tear (i.e. internal and external sphincters were torn but no damage to the rectum). The damage was noticed neither after delivery nor at various appointments in the weeks and months after. I kept being told that faecal incontinence was quite normal due to the pressure on the bowel during childbirth. Without ever having experienced post-childbirth problems I just assumed I was normal and that everyone else was also suffering this embarrassing problem (e.g. towelling myself down after a shower and finding poo all over the towel).
Anyway, to try and summarise, the damage was picked up during tests 6m after delivery. I was booked in the have reconstructive surgery in London with a temporary colostomy. Having sought a second opinion I underwent reconstruction in the north-west where I live in July 09. The surgeon did not give me temporary colostomy but found such damage to my internal anal sphincter that it could not be repaired. My external anal sphincter was however successfully repaired (and therefore I no longer have large accidents) and the perineum and back wall of my vagina were reconstructed. Bowel movements for the days and weeks after that were so excruciating that I just wanted to die. I had another operation in March 2010 to loosen the vagina as sex was impossible, and an anoplasty (bowel trimming and skin flap, nice!). The internal anal sphincter is the ‘anti-leak’ muscle and because mine will never be able to be repaired I will always leak faecal matter and have no/little control of flatulence. I also have weekly accidents that are quite small and have urgency when I need the loo. So this is the state of play for me now with my outlook not pretty.

I decided in Sept 2010 to pursue my case with the lawyers and the case should be wrapped up in the coming months. Although it’s caused me distress to drag it all up again, it has provided me with contacts of top surgeons and consultants who I can use in the future. It has also allowed me to understand my current and future prognosis better as independent experts have had to examine me and write reports. There are a number of points of negligence but the main one is that the damage should have been easily spotted by doing a ‘pin roll’ technique with fingers which all professionals are taught to do following any vaginal delivery. My internal anal sphincter could have been repaired well after delivery but it needs to be done within 14 days of the birth. I would therefore not have to live the rest of my life with not being able to wipe clean and having to wear dark knickers or pads. I have some bowel exposed which will continue to get worse as there is no muscle to pull it back in. This makes me feel wet all the time and is very sore to wipe.

I’m about to start a course of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which was recommended by a psychiatrist who the lawyers instructed. I am still struggling to accept that this has been inflicted on me by an incompetent registrar (the top one in the hospital would you believe!) and that I have to live with it forever. It will never get any better than this and will slowly get worse, leading me to have more ops, sacral nerve therapy and possibly as colostomy.

It’s affected intimacy hugely, both mentally and physically. I could go on about that but I won’t. On the up side we have a baby boy in Oct 2011 by c-section and it was the best day of my life.

Louloubee – your story is astonishing. Well done for sharing. How are you getting on?

Mupet – thank you for your kind words. I am a sphincter expert now, and there was me thinking that bottoms couldn’t be damaged during childbirth! There definitely needs to be a forum about this as I felt totally isolated. I even contacted the Birth Trauma Association a couple of years ago to ask for help and they had never heard of anyone needing a colostomy after childbirth.

Hope to hear from you guys soon and sorry for the delay in messaging you all.

All the best, Preezal

p.s. will keep you posted on the legal case

Lunarlyte Tue 22-May-12 09:31:16

Preezal I didn't have the best VB (31 hours in total, G&A only, damaged tailbone which is still present 3 years on) but I am shocked to read what you've been through. I wrote a formal complaint to the hospital where I delivered DD1 and the reply was, in essence, the damage I sustained is a risk of childbirth. I just didn't have the energy to persue the issue further; I feel though, that if I'd been listened to whilst labouring, something could have been done to prevent the strain my tailbon took.

Anyway, I didn't want to read and run, so am sending this message to wish you all the very best, both in your legal pursuit and recovery x

Lunarlyte Tue 22-May-12 09:34:00

Sorry, meant to say a huge congratulations on the birth of your DS thanks

My second daughter was born by ELCS last month smile It was indeed a beautiful birth

Tallgiraffe Tue 22-May-12 16:19:30

This is such a horrific story, but congratulations on the birth of your second child! I hope the legal case goes well.

I just wanted to say that as someone who also suffered from faecal incontinence in the past due to a medical condition, rather than a traumatic birth, you have my complete sympathy. It is humiliating, and life-limiting. I just wanted to say though, that as someone who has also had an iliostomy, bags are not always the horrors they are made out to be! I know it sounds strange, but I remember sitting in hospital, feeling my bag fill up (apologies if this is tmi) and thinking for the first time in 10 years I can choose when I go to the loo to empty it. No more obsessive toilet checking and carrying spare clothes around. I know they aren't for everyone, and it is a big thing, but I just wanted to reassure you, and anyone else reading this that life with a bag can be great!

Pm me if you want any other info. Good luck xx

cardamomginger Tue 22-May-12 21:10:55

Hi Preezal. So so sorry sad. I, too, had a traumatic VB resulting in bad birth injuries - cystocele, rectocele, uterine prolapse, ripped through all the deep perineal pelvic floor muscles, displaced coccyx. Amongst my symptoms I've had faecal incontinence. I had one operation last year and am due my next one mid-June. This will include the pelvic floor repair. I'm having a 3D scan tomorrow to find out exactly what's ripped through and where the ends of the muscles are, so I don't know yet exactly what he can do. But I was wondering what your experience of that surgery was?
Just read your post again. I'm so sad and so angry. Congratulations on your DS. But it's not the point though is it? You should have your lovely children and an intact body. XXXXXX

cardamomginger Tue 22-May-12 21:13:35

Forgot to say - if you are on Facebook, the Birth Trauma Association have a page that you can request to join. There's a lady who was on there a while ago (maybe 6 months?) who also had a colostomy bag due to birth injuries. She may still be around on the page. I left it 6 months or so ago, which is why I can't be certain if she's still active. It was just all a bit much for me. X

Preezal Wed 20-Jun-12 20:31:27

Reassuring to know there are others suffering too, I hate to say that though. We shouldn't have too.
Carda - have you had your surgery? Sorry, have only just checked the site since posting my long message. Do you still want to know what my experience was like? I spent 5 days in hospital and had a very unpleasant time. Will add more if you want to know. I have never heard of cystocele or rectocele and have just looked them up. Did you damage your sphincter muscles? What did the scan show up? Hopefully the surgery can put everything right and you won't have to undergo any further ops.
I will have a look at the BTA, thanks for that.
Thanks tallgiraffe for your comments. Well done for your positivity, I am struggling with that at the moment. I think if I had a medical condition that caused these problems then I could more easily accept it, move on and look forward positively. But because this was inflicted on me and could so easily have been avoided, I am finding it so hard. Hopefully the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy will help.
I just want to be fixed and will never be. I have a permanently sore bottom because of the exposed bowel and I hate having it as a constant if I haven;t had it bad enough already (sorry, feeling sorry for myself which is not like me at all). My sunny exterior needs to be on the inside too.
Thanks all for your comments. Keeps me buoyant.

cardamomginger Sun 24-Jun-12 00:28:17

Hi preezal - yup had my surgery on Monday and was discharged yesterday. Surgeon is very pleased by how it went and is confident of an excellent and well-healing repair. Had a pretty unpleasant time of it, although my care was excellent. Reattaching the ripped puborectalis caused it to go into spasm which was very very painful - sitting was dreadful and couldn't bear to stand, never mind walk. He injected everywhere with botox, and as that kicked in and relaxed the muscle, the pain eased. But I had to go back on the morphine for a bit. Other horrid thing was that we think I reacted badly to the laxatives I'd been given to counter the constipating effect of the morphine and anaesthetic. I had diahorrea (can't spell it and can't be bothered to look it up) 38 times in 24 hours. Fortunately this was after my pain was under control!
As for the scan - my anal sphincter was undamaged, but I was still having incontinence because of the ripped pelvic floor muscles. Hopefully after I've healed and had my rehab physio I will regain strength and control there.
Just re-reading your posts - so so sorry this has happened to you. I know exactly what you mean about the avoidability of it all adding to the distress. Thank God my DD was not effected at all by the trauma of the birth. And thank God they didn't have to intervene to ensure her safety. But I feel I could handle all this so much better if it had been a choice between me being damaged and her health. I'd choose her over me in a heartbeat, and if I'd had to do that it would give my injuries and the surgery I've had to have some meaning. As it is, it's all pointless and a complete waste of time, energy and emotion. (Not that for one second would I want DD to have ever been in any danger at all - and I really don't mean to offend people whose DCc have been in danger durign childbirth. But hopefully, you know what I mean.)
Really wish you well XXXX

0120LISA17 Mon 19-Nov-12 19:04:52

hi guys im a bit late on this thread, i wondered if anyone is still here? im in need of someone to talk to. I had a beautiful baby boy 10 weeks ago, but with a horrific birth - lost nearly 2.5 pints of blood, had forceps with an epistomy and a 4th degree tear to the internal and external schpinter muscles. Leaving me with a colostomy which im told is temporary until they heal from the stitches. Im damnned sure i have a fistula (connected bwteen my vag and my bum) which mens further operations before they even THINK about reversing my colostomy. I have 3 main tests to go through before any of that but my main question is has anybody been through this, what happened, etc, thanks

cardamomginger Mon 19-Nov-12 20:53:14

sad sad sad for you. That's dreadful. Can't even begin to imagine.... You're probably better off posting in general health here: - this thread is all about birth injuries

and here: - this thread is all about the repairs.

There's some lovely women on both these threads. And if you are on Facebook, it might be worth investigating the Birth Trauma Association page - as I said in a previous post in this thread, there was a lady on there who had a colostomy. I forget her story, but she might still be around.

Sending you lots of love and hugs. And I'm so sorry this has happened.

0120LISA17 Sat 24-Nov-12 08:17:01

HI Cardamomginger thank you for your reply. i will look at your links thanks for the info smile

Ushy Sat 24-Nov-12 15:07:34

The Birth Trauma Association that caromomginfer mentioned is an organisation that we refer people to - it has a Facebook group which you can link to on its home page.

0120LISA17 Sat 24-Nov-12 20:25:41

thanks Ushy ive been added as part of the group now. thanks again x

Bambinobelly Thu 13-Dec-12 03:37:04

Hi lisa, sorry be gentle with me but it has taken me 12months to speak out on a forum in regards to my experience. After my daughter was born, I lost 2litres of blood so within 2hrs and I was taken to surgery for repair of a 4th degree tear the which also went into my rectal wall, I was lucky to have had a successful repair during this operation, However to prevent infection and allow proper healing I was given a temporary loop colostomy, practicing good hygiene twice daily with saline I began my journey to recovery I worked hard everyday for 3months to increase pelvic floor strength with the help of a physio therapist trained in pelvic floor, I Then had a anorectal examination to test the muscle strengths, i then underwent the major surgery of a reversal, I have been lucky that it has all been succsessful i have feacal/gas continents, returned to a normal sex life have no regular pain, however I do find I have urgency when going to the loo, many of
my friends don't know what I've been thru this year and it's nice to be able to reach out here. This experience was by far the hardest obstical I have ever had to overcome it has taken it's toll physically mentally and emotionally, it has and will continue to shape the person I am keep your chin up you are not alone I am happy to answer any questions you may have honestly as I too found it hard to get information.

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