Guest post: “Having a child resulted in Botox in my bottom”
As part of our Campaign for Better Postnatal Care, highlighting the physical impact of birth injuries, one blogger describes her struggle to get the help she needed to live a normal life.
Posted on: Wed 04-Apr-18 16:23:59
(34 comments )
It’s been more than four years since I had my first son. Four years of pain later and a shot of Botox up my bum, and I have finally decided to talk about the medical problems I encountered.
Other than the midwives who banged on about the risk of pethidine, nobody talked to me about potential issues or injuries birth could cause. No-one ever discussed the aftermath that I am still dealing with. Would I change having my son? No, not for anything, but I do think it’s unfair, and frankly bonkers, that childbirth means I still can’t have a poo without popping laxatives like they are Smarties.
My son’s birth saw him pulled out with the help of forceps, into a room with enough people to run a country, most of whom prodded, pulled and chatted about the weather. Days after the birth the stitches across my third-degree tear became infected and the antibiotics administered brought me out in an angry rash. Add severe itching to a ripped undercarriage, zero sleep and an inability to breastfeed and yes, it really was the stuff of dreams.
I didn’t know it would get worse when I finally managed a poo. Think red hot razor blades and trying to push out a particularly huge watermelon. I had anal fissures. These basically split the anus and bleed, but it’s so difficult for them to heal because, well, it’s impossible not to poo.
Life became a cycle: eat, panic, down laxative, sit on toilet for hours trying to ease out poo while screaming in pain, repeat. One month after birth, I returned to hospital, desperate for help. Sadly though, there is no quick and easy cure for fissures. I was put on morphine and sent home with a numbing bottom cream.
Life became a cycle: eat, panic, down laxative, sit on toilet for hours trying to ease out poo while screaming in pain, repeat.
Since that initial outbreak of fissures, I take medically prescribed laxatives every day so that my poo is soft, and the healed wounds don’t crack open again. I am very strict with my diet and ensure plenty of fibre and water and I go through stages when everything is fine and I can poo without pain. At other times, something triggers a ‘blockage’ and the anus splits and I’m back to phase one. I have learnt to massively increase my laxatives when I have a flare up, because pooing out water is less likely to split the fissures.
I have developed anxiety and am now in constant fear of the pain returning. This is the first thing I think about most mornings - and it massively affects my mood and my marriage. My husband feels totally helpless, and when I have bouts of pain they make me grumpy, irritable and incredibly sad and despondent.
Two years ago, I underwent a sigmoidoscopy to check my lower colon and a colonoscopy to check my large intestine. The results were clear and I should have been relieved, but all I wanted was a diagnosis. I like explanations and facts - instead I had a bleeding arsehole, was walking like John Wayne with a broomstick up his bum, and was being told, ‘There’s nothing wrong with you.’
My consultant finally suggested Botox in my anus to help to heal the fissures’ muscles and to relax the internal anal sphincter to allow me to poo without spasm. It didn’t work - I should have asked for a bit in my face to at least gain something from the experience.
So, two years ago I tried a new method and saw a nutritionist. She simply gave me a list of ‘alternative’ remedies to take at an extortionate cost - none worked. I then tried Chinese medicine and acupuncture with no improvement, a dairy free diet, a sugar free diet, a diet which pretty much consisted of dust and air, and yet nothing improved my symptoms and the laxatives continued to be a part of my everyday life.
Finally, last year I was recommended a women’s health physiotherapist. She suggested that my pelvic floor was to blame as it was so tight that it was causing spasms, resulting in blockages. She recommended a different private consultant and it’s like finally someone understands what is wrong with me. His recommendation is to stretch the anus because it’s too tight and the way to do this? Yep I had to buy a pack of metal rod sex toys and I must put one up my bottom every day, gradually increasing in width as the anus becomes more ‘giving’. I’m not even joking. Anus stretching, sex toys, metal rods. This is my life now.
It didn’t seem as if the medical professionals I saw understood my postnatal health issues and it felt like I was on my own in relation to postnatal health. In France, women have 10 to 20 postnatal physiotherapy sessions to retrain the muscles of the pelvic floor, and yet it took me three years, huge costs and various health specialists to understand that my pelvic floor was the issue.
Who knows what will happen and if the magical rods will solve the problem, but I have hope and when you have chronic pain, I think hope is hugely important. Anyway, if nothing else I can hold my head up high and confirm I have had Botox up my arse and probably have the smoothest bottom around.
By S Haselwood
I've had a few children, and Ive been incredibly lucky on that score.
If your post helps just one new mum, to know that she's not alone, and that there is help out there, you've done a good job writing here.
You've been very brave, and have a great sense of humour considering the misery, your condition has put you through. 🌸
Did you go on to have more children OP ?
Thank you for this post, I read with tears in eyes and a smile on my face at the same time. I’ve been suffering with a fissure for a year now, and my youngest child is 8! I think Botox is next plan, my Mum laughed and thought I was joking when I told her.
It is refreshing to read such a truthful account of something that probably a few mums suffer in silence with, I so wish you a recovery and I hold out hope every morning that one day this will resolve!
You could be writing my story. Its 11 years since I had my son, and still plagued by fissures. The doctors say there isn’t much they can do as apparently fissure surgery isn’t awfully effective. In the last few years, I’ve given up trying to fix it, I just use lots of sudocrem and hope for the best.
I ended up with fissures after my c-section. Wasn't allowed stool softener (I'll never forgive that midwife) as I was bf so the laxatives sent my IBS through the roof and I very quickly had fissures. A decade of crap (literally) on and I had botox last Oct. It seems to have helped a bit the fissures aren't totally healed though.
I know what you mean about them making you grumpy . I dread sitting down for long as it's uncomfortable. Although running and exercise does help, I'm lucky that I'm able to do this.
And, yes, I'd like my flippin' scowly face botoxed too.
I hope it'll settle down in a decade or so once both my dc's are at uni and I'm not so stressed all the time.
I had fissures after DC1 (also forceps, but avoided the 3rd degreee tear, just). Awful, awful experience. And in the first six weeks I had fecal urgency too and my bum sort of 'hung' open and v gradually closed again after a poo . The urgency etc resolved Ina few weeks, but the fissures did not. I had the stuff for angina that gives you a really bad headache, I used things you shoved up there to numb it. I tried diet. I had a consultant exam twice, and they decided against Botox and proclaimed me better (I was not).
They never fully healed before DC2 2yrs later, but during pregnancy it was all fine. Maybe all the increased blood supply? Who knows. Such a relief. Then afterwards, they came back. Back to pooing glass etc. Not quite as bad. There were times where they healed, but never fully went.
Pregnant with DC3, healed again and never returned, not even after DC4 (7.5yrs after DC1).
Thank fuck for that.
I love this
Thank you for your honesty.
You poor thing.
My bottom has been destroyed by constipation from opiates I had to take the manage the pain from the nerve damage I incurred as the result of my pregnancy in my back.
You are so brave x
I can't say that I have had the same cause as you but I have been on opiate pain killers for so long that it is a normal thing to be bleeding after going for a poo. I really feel for you, as you have been through what sounds like hell for those years. I really hope that something can ease your pain soon.
I winced reading this, and my experience was nothing compared to yours. I had forceps too, but the tearing was thankfully prevented by episiotomy (which brought problems of its own but that's another story). I do remember the pain (and fear that I might rip something open) of those first few poos. I also have a lifetime's experience of IBS, haemorrhoids and "Javelin Arse" and that's been bad enough. Hope you find something that helps - and thank you for your openness.
OP, I’m so sorry.
It’s so shit that women have been giving birth for however long and we haven’t as a human race mastered how to do it with women’s health being a priority. Being a mum with horrible injuries is near impossible without a good support system which some women don’t have.
Thank you for this post OP. My DD is 6 months and I'm suffering with fissures after her forceps delivery. Sometimes they're better then I have a bad week and I'm back to square one. No one told me anything like this could happen although I obviously wouldn't swap DD for anything in the world. It's good to know I'm not alone.
Feel for you OP. I also had a third degree tear from an instrument delivery, but living in Switzerland I had several months of intensive physio on my pelvic floor, which helped massively. It still took the best part of a year to take a no.2 normally, but at least I didn't need laxatives and wasn't in pain.
Had a c-section with DS2 but still plan to use my pelvic floor electro-stimulator again to strengthen the muscles after 9 months of extra weight on them. I'd recommend all new mothers use one.
I could have written this post.
Piles during pregnancy, forceps and episiotomy required during delivery due to cord being around babys neck, babys heartbeat dropping from compression and staff ignoring my pleas that I was ready to push. Baby was born less than 5 mins after being moved to delivery suite.
He is now 11 and half.
Laxatives, haemmorhoid creams, steroid creams that gave me excruciating headaches that meant migraine tablets which contained codeine which exacerbated the constipation and the cycle would start all over again. And every time the fissure would end up infected, another internal investigation and I would end up with another course of anti biotics that would help for a wk or two. I was in so much pain I couldnt sit down, driving was agony. Botox injected into my sphincter did absolutely nothing and I then had a 2 and half yr wait to see a new consultant.
I am now 6 months post op after having a seton suture placed to allow the fissure to drain and heal. I will probably be on Movicol for life as I also have IBS flares but so far so good. Not sure how all will be once the suture is removed but I have another few months before that happens.
There is hope ladies.
Do not despair 😊
And ask your consultant if you have one about setons for anal fissures.
What a great article humorous but so to the point , hope helps other women in future and that more will be done to prevent this happening .
Thank you all for your kind words. It’s all been pretty tough as I’m sure you can tell from my article, but I just wanted to share to show others who are suffering that they’re not alone (as cliched as that sounds). I have felt like I am the only person in the world having awful problems after childbirth, but it seems I’m really not. Terrible that so many of us suffer in silence.
Ps so thankful for the OP, it is a v lonely thing to deal with and not something that is discussed anywhere near enough. A lot of my friends are child free, some through choice and some because it just hasn't happened but I felt I couldnt discuss this with anyone other than my poor husband who has seen enough & heard enough to last him a lifetime and my GP, who frankly looks horrified when I raise the subject.
I feel for you too. I got anal fissures from birth. It's agony. Try senna as a natural laxative alternative.
I bled and still do sometimes bleed too. It's nice to hear you're not the only one though sad for everyone too.
Thanks for sharing. The potential for postnatal injuries is one of the reasons I asked for sections. All the risks need to be presented with both options.
I’m so angry for you.
And so sorry you’ve had this.
I really hope the anal rods work (there’s a sentence I never thought I’d type).
Thanks for your frank (and funny) post
I also had a fissure after DC 1 worst pain ever and months of taking Vaseline to the loo and boshing fibre tablets!
My Dr gave me some cream which was lidocaine (numbing) and something else which relaxed the muscles I can't recall what anyway it helped after several months of careful care
No one tells you this! I've since told all friends having a baby to take fibre tabs immediately after and carry on for a while
Omg! This sounds so similar to the birth of my son 10 years ago. After 40 hours labour, he was born by forceps, lots of people in the room, both of us had infections so stayed in hospital for a week. I was bleeding while breastfeeding, got an infection in my episiotomy scar. Then I had anal fissures for a year after. I was really traumatised after the birth. And crying in pain every day on the loo. After a year of excruciating pain I decided to go private. They gave me a cream and I was healed in a week! Amazing ! I’ll find out the name for you. Please pm If you’d like to chat. Xx