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Diagnosed with rectal prolapse, grade 5. Would like to know your experience with surgical repair.

By June 11, 2010 - 6:33pm
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Recently diagnosed with rectal prolapse. I have never been pregnant. Could not have happened at a more difficult time in my life as I was forced to end a 20+yr. relationship.
I'm in my 50's.
I had very severe problems with constipation due to the sudden and extremely hurtful ending to my relationship. Two doctors have told me I need surgical repair and the stress and inflammation caused by the break up (couldn"t eat or sleep for months) was a significant factor in causing the rectal prolapse. I had almost daily fecal impactions for

several months with bleeding.
I read this type of repair could negatively impact future ability to have a normal sexual
relationship. Would like to know what type of surgical repair would offer the least complications. How long is the recovery process?

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You are correct that I was talking from clinical experience, but it was clinical experience with real people going through things, so it's still something.

Have you discussed your concerns with your surgeon? If so, what was the response?

It sounds like the issue here is that you are going through so much already that you have lost all of your confidence. I don't think the surgery is what will keep you from a partner as much as your fear and depression. I'm glad you are in therapy, because with everything you are going through, it helps to have a way to discuss all of these issues.

Suppose for a moment you won't be able to have conventional intercourse. I feel that is unlikely, but we'll imagine it. There are other ways to have sex, orally and manually and about as many ways as a human mind can imagine. So if for some reason you could not have intercourse, you could still have sexual relations with someone that could be just as satisfying. Again, I don't think that will be the case. But it may be that you are worried about so many things that you are throwing all of your energy toward worrying about this surgery rather than the rest of your life. That makes the surgery seem huger and scarier than it is.

I hope someone with personal experience will respond to your question. In the meantime, hang in there. You are having a rough time, but you'll get through it, and we're here to help. Please let us know how things go.

June 15, 2010 - 6:43am

Thanks so much for your encouragement. I assume that your adice is based on professional experience, rather than personal experience. I, too, read the Mayo Clinic information. I have spent the last week searching the Net for any personal stories and all the medical journals I gained access. Everything I read was was written in 2007-2008. The trial stops there & I don't understand why. But all info from personal experience & medical journals clearly states rectocele repair, as opposed to the other types of vaginal prolapse repair, severely limit a women's ability to have actual intercourse.
I read this is because all surgical repairs (no matter the approach)
requires removal of some vaginal tissue to shorten the vaginal space. Women reported it ended marriages and relationships, even with the most understanding partners.
Due to the break up of my long term relationship, age (late 50's) I'm
wasn't feeling very confident about finding someone. I'm currently unemployed and my lack self esteem, based on loss of career and allowing myself to remain in an emotionally abusive relationship, you can understand just how hard this latest news hit me. I am truly hopeless. I do see a therapist, but it hasn't helped much because I my severe depression is chemically resistant. So if anyone has had this type of surgery and been able to resume the ability to have intercourse, I would be so grateful to learn which approach their doctor took. Otherwise I must find a way to accept that this surgery will prevent me from even seeking a partner. Having to begin dating at this late stage of life, with the additional burdens I carry and the probable inability to have a full relationship make any hope of a recovery of a real life impossible.

June 15, 2010 - 4:00am

Hi Roxanne

I'm sorry you have to go through this, but there is no reason you cannot have a relationship after this surgery. It is hard to say exactly what your recovery will be because it depends on the method of repair that you and your surgeon decide is best, but I found a page from Mayo Clinic that explains the different approaches very clearly: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/rectal-prolapse-surgery/MY00312/DSECTION=what%2Dyou%2Dcan%2Dexpect.

You can most certainly have a relationship. I want you to know that even if the surgery had complications for some reason, that would not prevent you from having a relationship. People have all sorts of medical issues, especially as we age. Women with colostomy bags can still have relationships, including sex. So I know you can, too.

If we can help you further, please let us know. Thank you for writing, and good luck to you.

June 14, 2010 - 6:54am
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