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Old 08-25-2010, 12:06 PM   #1
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bummed22 HB User
Unhappy Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

I am currently 10 weeks pp following a stage four tear and am having symptoms of a RVF. I have gone to my OB for follow up appointments but she says she isn't able to see or feel anything. She at least trusts me that I'm not making up my symptoms and is having me come back in a few weeks.

I am assuming that I will be reffered to a colo-rectal surgeon to help diagnose the issue. It is obvious to me that something is wrong.

Is there anyone out there who has experience with this who can tell me what kinda surgery they had, its success rate and what the recovery process is like???

I am really nervous because what I have read from another site isn't very encouraging

 
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Old 08-25-2010, 01:09 PM   #2
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

So sorry that you have to go through this. I was just wondering what your symptoms are? Just to make sure that your symptoms aren't "just" from your tear.

I had a 4th degree tear, no RVF though, with problems "holding it in", so I will be having surgery in a few months, which scares me to death.

There is a woman here, Penny, who developed a RVF after a sphincteroplasty (the surgery I will be having), she might be able to give you some answers.

Good luck!

 
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Old 08-25-2010, 05:41 PM   #3
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

hello newbie: I had a recto-vaginal fistula and it was removed through a serious surgery because it is dangerous to have. I had a laparascopic sigmoid colectomy which means they took out 8" of my sigmoid colon or lower section. I had it done on 6/28 and am now in recovery and it is a long recovery. My fistula was from my colon to the vagina which is why they removed part of the colon. Surgery was quick and easy--3 nights in the hospital--but the recovery is inconvenient and uncomfortable, not painful, and it lasts for weeks. I'm happy to answer any questions you have. bostonandparis

 
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:35 PM   #4
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

Thanks for your replies-it helps having other people who have gone through this to talk to!

Boston-did a colorectal surgeon diagnose you? Was yours from childbirth too? Also did they tell you what the complications were if for some reason you never fixed it? How bad were your symptoms?

Babygirl-I'm having airbubbles and passing gas both rectally and vaginally and then if I have a loose stool, I will have stooly discharge on a pad afterwards. Sometimes I will wad up toilet paper and insert a portion in vaginally after I've noticed the discharge and there will be some on the tp. Im pretty sure its an RVF

 
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Old 08-27-2010, 02:22 AM   #5
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

Bummed, yes, it definitely sounds like a RVF. So sorry you have to go through this. It can be fixed though, so don't give up! I hope you find a doctor who can help you.

 
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Old 08-27-2010, 04:36 PM   #6
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

hello bummed. I had a colovaginal fistula. It was not from childbirth it was from having a hysterectomy--the uterus was gone and the colon sunk down and through a diverticulitus episode the colon joined onto the vagina by a fistula. I too had a lot of air coming out and stool once or twice.

A colorectal surgeon did diagnose me and so did my primary care. It is a dangerous thing to have because there is a high rate of infection from stool entering other parts of your body; my gastroenterologist told me I was "a walking time bomb."

The surgery was not bad; the hospital stay was three nights; recovery is slow and long as you have new bathroom "experiences" that have to be accommodated--sometimes I am in the bathroom 20 times a day and it is 2 months later.

I had a laparoscopic surgery with 3 small incisions. This is now the preferred way and usually it is done unless the doctor gets in there (after you are under anasthesia) and finds something unusual and then the doctor uses a "cuff" to stick his/her hand into your gut and bring the intestine out on top and sever it there. Then you have a larger cut which is more painful to heal. Look it up on u-tube.

However, I had laparoscopic and the surgery was not bad; the recovery is "inconvenient" but not painful just "uncomfortable." However, you have to have the surgery and do it sooner rather than later. bostonandparis

 
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:30 AM   #7
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

Thanks, your post was really helpful.

I go back to my OB next week and will get the referral to a colorectal surgeon from there.

I'm really nervous to go and get all the tests done, are they painful? I think I need to stop reading some of the stuff on the internet. I only read horror stories of failed RVF repairs and no success stories

I wonder why they are so hard to fix, when you read the explanation of surgery it seems like it would be an easy fix with the flap

 
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:31 AM   #8
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

One other question...

did you have to have a colostomy?

 
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:00 PM   #9
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

Quote:
Originally Posted by bummed22 View Post
Thanks, your post was really helpful.

I go back to my OB next week and will get the referral to a colorectal surgeon from there.

I'm really nervous to go and get all the tests done, are they painful? I think I need to stop reading some of the stuff on the internet. I only read horror stories of failed RVF repairs and no success stories

I wonder why they are so hard to fix, when you read the explanation of surgery it seems like it would be an easy fix with the flap
Hi bummed out: I did NOT have a colostomy--people only get those when their colons are infected and need time to heal so the stool is rerouted to a colostomy bag.

I don't think or know about a flap as no one mentioned it to me. again, my fistula was from the colon to vagina not rectum. It does seem to be an extreme measure to cut 6-9" of your sigmoid colon out because you have a fistula but that is the solution and I was at an outstanding hospital in Boston. I did not have a "cuff" when they make a bigger incision, use a condom-tpye looking thing that the surgeon uses to put his/her hand through your abdomen to your colon to do the surgery instead of going laparoscopically.

There were no painful tests at all--I just had a catscan that involved drinking two big glasses of barium. no other tests were needed because my symptoms were so obviously a fistula.

The only nasty part of this entire thing is recovery. Going to the bathroom becomes a serious issue and you need to stay close to the bathroom as you go 20 times a day for the first few days or weeks. I am now over surgery exactly two months and I am down to about 13 trips a day to the bathroom. It is just your colon doing its job and adjusting to not having that extra 6-8 inches. And where the staples go in is just sore and that takes a while to heal also.

Ask me any questions you want but don't wait as it a good idea to get this surgery done as soon as possible. And I hope your baby is doing well! bostonandparis

 
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Old 08-29-2010, 06:05 PM   #10
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

just to answer your questions, my fistula was from having a hysterectomy and not having a uterus so the colon descended and I had diverticulitis and that attached to the vaginal wall. I am older than you are. I had terrible constipation and through straining in the bathroom, the fistula opened up and i had the same symptoms you have. after the surgery, i had constipation once and I am VERY CAREFUL never to have it again becaue it strains the area terribly. yes, a colorectal surgeon diagnosed me and she was an expert. i had to wait 2 months for surgery due to her schedule and finally it is over. the recovery of your colon could take up to a year--adjusting to things, not painful but....inconvenient. bostonandparis

 
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:32 PM   #11
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

HI! I am not sure how long ago you posted on this site. BUT I am 4 months PP..I started to show symptoms of a RVF 2 days after I had my baby. I told my nurses and my doctor that I was "passing gas through the front" and they told me because of my tear being so bad that it was common that I feel that way because the muscles are so swollen and being held with stitches. I went home knowing there was something wrong. When my baby was 2 weeks old I was back in hospital in EMENCE pain..I had to be surgically disimpacted because I just couldn't go to the bathroom rectally due to the hole that it was trying to push past. My fistula is (was) 1.5 inches. I was passing gas and litterally...going just from there for over 4 weeks...purely just from there...There was no other way to explain what was going on. I have a few questions also so if someone could get back to me...that has been in this situation...or knows about this...it would be so appreciated. I am 24...and I believe this may be the hardest thing I have ever gone through.. I hope someone can still relate....but if not..I am happy...because we all know "it only happens in third world countries"*sigh*
-Kendra

 
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Old 09-03-2011, 11:47 AM   #12
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

Kendra a fistula means stool is leaking into your vaginal area and this could cause serious infection. Do not wait. Go and see your doctor immediately and schedule surgery. A fistula is a tube from one area to another that is abnormal and must be cured by surgery. It is a serious operation but not that bad. 2-3 nights in hospital. Get it one and don't wait.

 
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Old 09-03-2011, 02:17 PM   #13
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

My surgeon is saying 4-6 months before they can do any repair. Was wondering if this was normal for this??? I have all of the symptoms listed...it is identified as a fistula.....i believe it is the fault of the doctors...It..is discusting..and def. not a great first baby experience. Legal aspects?

 
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Old 09-06-2011, 09:04 AM   #14
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

Hi Kendra: When I went to schedule my laparascopic sigmoid colectomy to get rid of a colo-vaginal fistula, it took about two months to scheule. This included all of the pre-op testing and also, I believe, a backlog of patients. If you can get this surgery done laparascopically you will have a much easier recovery. If they use a cuff or have to cut hip to hip, the surgery is much longer to recover from.

I think you should go around your ob-gyn and schedule an appointment with a colo-rectal surgeon and have them take a look at you.

I had one doctor say I could live with it with no problems, and my gastroenterologist said to get it fixed immediately because it was life/death situation with stool entering areas of the body that could cause a massive infection. So I got it done as soon as possible. I believe I started talking to the colorectal person in March and had the surgery at the end of June 2010. Recovery wasn't that bad but you want to make sure you do not get constipated and have to push because that strains the entire area which is not good. I am taking Miralax every day to make sure my trips to the bathroom are regular and not strained.

Assert yourself, go to see a gastroenterologist who will refer you to a colorectal surgeon, or bypass the gastro and go to the surgeon on your own. I wouldnt wait because it is a serious condition. Good luck.

 
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:13 PM   #15
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Re: Rectovaginal fistula after childbirth

Kendra..

I am sorry you have to go through this as well. I went and saw a colo rectal surgeon when I was about 3 months pp. I currently still have my RVF and my baby is a year old. I still get the symptoms but it is mainly gas bubbles. If the stool is liquid than I have some come through vaginally. They estimated my RVF at about 5mm...it isn't very big.

My colo rectal surgeon said when I am ready she will perform an advanced flap repair. She said I could either wait until I am done having children or get it fixed now. I was also told to wait at least 6 months initially like you so that the area could heal. I have decided to wait to get mine repaired until I know I am done having children. All other births will be c sections so the area doesn't get damaged further. It is truly up to you. I found another group on another website with women who developed the RVF through childbirth and it seems pretty split with women who got it repaired right away vs women who chose to wait.

As boston was saying, just make sure you clean yourself well. I have become accustomed to the always wipes to clean myself good. Please keep me updated on what you choose to do. It definately helps to talk to others about it.

 
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