I was only in my 50’s and was rather smug that I hadn’t reached Menopause but this darned leaky bladder problem was more than annoying. Every day I wore panty liners but felt they were struggling to contain my problem. I was too embarrassed to talk to my Dr and tried to do the Vagina tightening exercises (Kegel exercises) they told all woman of a certain age to do – and which all women of a certain age know are a complete waste of time. I was a non smoker and a healthy weight.

I was now down to not much more than a 30 min walk before needing an urgent loo stop but it wasn’t until friends wanted to go on a mini Pub crawl one evening that I decided I had to do something about it. I came home, 2 glasses of wine later,  just glad I had worn black jeans and that it was dark night so you couldn’t tell the extent of my leaky little problem.

I made a Drs appointment and then managed to get a referral to be assessed as to whether I was bad enough for a surgical bladder lift – how bad did you need to be! So knicker-less, they made me drink a jug of water then stand over a bucket and cough. The sophistication of the test amused me. Not a lot happened and they removed the bucket  – I suddenly sneezed and in doing so, splashed my feet with about a cup of urine. I’d passed the test.

They booked me in to see the consultant a few weeks later. He felt my abdomen and said he thought there was something he needed to investigate further and booked me in for an MRI a few days later.

Two days after the MRI, I had a call at work to tell me there was a large tumor and I would need to go in for an operation the next day when he would give me a full hysterectomy and a bladder lift. He tried to be reassuring and said it was probably benign, but I was concerned.

So I had the operation. The bladder lift result was amazing. I’d had an 11cm benign tumor and they also removed my omentum, in case it was cancer as they said that was where it would spread to first. I was left with a big scar going from just above my navel down to my pubic hair, dividing my belly in uneven halves. The menopause kicked in.

Around  1 -2 weeks later I was in excrutiating pain each time I tried to pass a motion. It felt like the poo was moving down my colon horizontally.

It was less than comforting to be told this was common and he called it a ‘rectocele’ – a hernia of the bowel. So back into surgery I went and rather than disturb the existing scar, the surgeon went up through my vagina and I left hospital with strict instructions to have sex before he saw me in 6 weeks.

Sex!! That was the last thing on my mind. I was in pain. Anyway, a few days before my follow up, we tried. It was very painful and the surgeon was dismissive and said he had given me a ‘designer vagina’! I just wanted the one I had before. I lost confidence in him but in spite of a series of follow ups with a different doctor, I have not been able to have pain free or pleasurable sex since.

However the bladder lift was an amazing success and I am grateful that I had it when I did. It’s sad how many woman are made to feel ashamed of a prolapse and fobbed off to do Kegel exercises.