During my 4th pregnancy in January 2017 I suffered a collapse of the vaginal wall dragging my rectum down into my vagina. It was frightening and incredibly uncomfortable. I still had to give birth but was told I could have a normal vaginal delivery.
The prolapse caused me a lot of difficulty in passing stools, unable to empty my bowels properly and leaving my genital area swollen after passing a stool. Once I had given birth and recovered from the birth I was then ready to find out what to do about the prolapse. I was referred to a consultant who diagnosed a grade 3 rectocele and suggested I wait until I finish breastfeeding to have an operation to remedy this, however the operation would only last up to 10 years and therefore I would have to have it done again every 10 years. He also stated that he couldn’t guarantee another part of my vagina wouldn’t collapse after the operation.
I went to an NHS Physio for the next 4 months and did all the pelvic floor exercises given to me, the physio and consultant both seemed confused as my pelvic floor was not as bad as they expected ( having had 4 vaginal births). However the prolapse did not improve.
The prolapse had a remarkable effect on my personal life also as I felt very self conscious and did not want any intimacy with my husband. It took a toll on our relationship and left me stressed and anxious.
In January 2018 I spoke to Anna, who asked me to postpone my operation and give her chance to help my situation without surgery. I was convinced, due to the grading by the consultant, that Anna wouldn’t be able to help but thought it was worth trying as the Op would have meant I couldn’t lift anything for 6 weeks after which would have been difficult with 4 children 6 and under.
I have now had 4 sessions and I can honestly say that I feel like a different person. The prolapse has lifted, I can’t feel it dragging, I can now sit down and stand up for long periods of time when I couldn’t before. I went back to the consultant in March who downgraded the prolapse to a 2 but only due to the fact it was still visible at the entrance of my vagina.
I no longer have to manually assist the passing of stools and my confidence has returned. I am not constantly aware of the injury.
I have now cancelled the operation and will not be going ahead with surgery.
When I remember back to how things were before I met Anna, I felt disgusting in my own body. I was experiencing physical and emotional post birth trauma. I felt a strong heavy dragging sensation in my uterus and vagina. I was alarmed by a significant puffy fleshy blob that was hanging externally out of my vagina, which I knew shouldn’t be there, but midwifery staff kept reassuring me it would shrink back ‘eventually’. As well as this constant discomfort when walking, standing, sitting and lying down, I couldn’t lift my baby without a huge gush of wee coming out of me, I’d have frequent accidents, even walking up stairs.
I became so worried about venturing too far from a loo, in case I couldn’t clean myself up after a leak. There are so many crushing and humiliating embarrassing moments I want to forget. One is weeping in a public toilet cubicle trying to dry my trousers whilst breastfeeding my baby, another is packing nappies for my baby and nappies for myself. I sometimes wouldn’t drink enough water to reduce the need to wee when I was away from the house, which is not sensible for a really thirsty breastfeeding mum. My pelvis, back and legs were always sore; sometimes the pain would reach a level where I didn’t feel safe to carry my baby. The times when I felt brave enough to try sex again it was so painful. My confidence and self-esteem had become so low, even with all the reassurance and loving kindness from my partner. We felt overwhelming joy, love and gratitude for the ‘safe’ arrival of our new beautiful son. But all these wonderful new mum feelings were soured with feelings of fear, hopelessness and a violation of my body.
After an examination with my GP I was referred to an uro-gynaecology specialist who informed me I had a mild uterine prolapse. The skin, which was protruding out of me, was excess skin from my vaginal wall close to my episiotomy scar and I had very weak pelvic floor muscles (even though I’d been doing them every day during pregnancy and every day since the birth). I was informed the excess ‘skin tag’ could be cut away, so I hesitantly put my name on a waiting list for the operation. I followed their advice to practise a regular pattern of pelvic floor exercises multiple times a day. Later I was advised to use a vaginal probe, which I had to insert inside myself and practise the exercises against the added resistance. This all felt horribly alien to me, I had to really psych myself up for this, most of all it was hard finding the time to do this with a new born. But I was keen to improve things so I vigilantly followed the advised plan. The following appointment there was disappointing news – my pelvic floor strength hadn’t improved at all, and I was still leaking a lot.
I was in despair. A healing massage friend recommended getting in touch with Anna; she knew I was craving something holistic that took into account the whole of me. When I met Anna I found her so warm, respectful, sincerely interested in my problems and an exceptionally sensitive and empathetic listener. I’ve had multiple gynaecology operations so I had become accustomed to impersonal awkward interfering inspections and interventions, paradoxically to the most intimate part of me. With Anna though, I knew I was being touched and held with loving and knowing hands, so I was instantly able to trust her and her myofascial process.
It was a remarkable first session, full of strong sensations which took me back into my birthing experience – some were bruising or gnawing or stringy but others were warming and expansive. Anna helped me get in touch with my uterus again, like joining us up after months of separation.
Throughout the sessions Anna could feel and unravel the story of my pelvis, she was able to unwind physical knots, which held hidden information as to how my new anatomy was this way and why I was feeling pain in different areas of my body. This was very powerful for me because so much of what had happened during the end of the birth was confusing and upsetting, so it was good to feel informed about my own body again. The episiotomy repair had been stitched so hastily and tightly after birth that the scar was now pulling on tendons in many different directions, which was rotating my pelvis so I had wonky hips causing more back pain.
The myofascial approach was a full body and mind experience for me: I was noticing a reduction of tightness around my spine, neck and legs. One session I experienced a huge wave of heat enter my pelvis, this was joyful and energy giving. Another week I felt exhausted for days after, which I respected and tried to rest my body. Another week I experienced a fundamental physical release in my pelvis and I wept with tears of relief.
I attended 8 sessions with Anna between March and December 2018. During this time Anna also introduced me to other women’s health professionals in Leeds who could compliment and support me alongside her treatment: a Mizan therapist, Pilates practitioner, an osteopath and a spiritual womb healer. Many of the self-care exercises and practises I have learnt from meeting these wonderful women I now use daily or weekly or in connection to my cycle. With this new range of understanding I feel hopeful, resourced, courageous and more in tune with myself and other women.
Thanks to Anna, today I barely leak; I wee in straight line again. I no longer feel a dragging sensation. The skin tag does not irritate me anymore, it’s less inflamed; in fact I rarely notice it. I can lift and play with my baby gleefully and energetically without fear. My cervix is central and in a good position. My body is healing. I have more pain free moments in the day. I continue to practise my pelvic floors, but conveniently without a machine. My confidence for intimacy with my partner is beginning to creep back. I have decided not to continue with the skin tag removal surgery and live in and love my body the way it is.
Anna’s treatment, and the hope that it gives, is nothing short of remarkable. I’d suspected the advice I’d been given by my GP “to do lots of kegels” wasn’t right and an examination with Anna confirmed this – my prolapse was being caused by an over-tightness on one side of the pelvis, rather than an overall weakness/failure of the pelvic floor – doing kegels would have actually exacerbated the problem.
Instead of heading down a path that would have actually made things worse, by meeting Anna, I discovered a way out of what had previously felt like an “unresolvable” situation. The treatment isn’t always pain-free, but Anna always works in a very kind, very matter-of-fact and fully-respectful way, so the treatment feels perfectly normal and professional, just like any other medical or physiotherapy treatment.
After a few sessions I already noticed a difference. The prolapse was much higher and much more central and well on its way to being resolved. I’m only part way thorough my treatment, but I am already feeling much better and much more hopeful. Anna’s perspective offers a viable possibility of reversing your prolapse, rather than simply learning to deal with the pain or discomfort, rather than facing things getting worse with time, or resorting to more drastic measures like surgery. I’d very much recommend a consultation with Anna to find out what is REALLY going on with your prolapse and to give you an opportunity to address (and potentially reverse) the underlying causes of the prolapse, rather than just doing what you can to deal with the surface symptoms.
I went to my GP with symptoms of a prolapse – she confirmed this and offered to refer me for “surgical options”, which I definitely wanted to avoid! Luckily I heard that Anna was developing non-surgical treatments. My symptoms improved immediately after the first treatment and have now cleared up. Anna explains exactly what she is doing and the basis of the treatment, and is very supportive.
After trying msk physio referred by my GP with no luck, I was given a recommendation from a friend to get in contact with Anna. I had various problems but the main issue was the pain in my leg which no-one was able to understand exactly where it was from. The prescribed exercises given to me made little difference. I was six months postpartum and nothing had changed. I had a difficult birth ending in ventouse delivery and an episiotomy. I lost some control of my pelvic floor; and found passing stools painful so had to be on laxido. Since I started the sessions with Anna, nearly all my problems have improved. We are towards the end of my treatment, with the pain in my leg almost healed. She was able to correctly diagnose that the pain in my leg was the result of my episiotomy, where the trainee doctor had stitched me up too tight after delivery. What Anna has done for me in such a short space of time is incredible and I can’t express how grateful I am to her.
I had been suffering from prolapse for a while and almost accepted the dreaded feeling of heaviness and the dragging down effect that is associated with prolapse. After a routine smear test, my GP suggested that I should consider surgery as an option. I didn’t like the thought of an operation and thought it was too drastic for me and decided to see Anna instead. I went in with an open mind and I can honestly say I was blown away with the outcome and didn’t think I would feel any benefits straight away from my first session which I did. I wish I had known about this treatment earlier and would not hesitate to recommend this to any women with this condition.
“I came to Anna after a friend recommended her. To be honest, at the time I really didn’t want any more ‘pelvic floor physio’, I was fed up of being messed about with in a very personal way, for very little gain. I was told I would never run again and couldn’t do any high impact exercise. Never mind that, I couldn’t even walk the dog down a hill (and sometimes on the flat) without the familiar uncomfortable, dragging, bulging sensation.
I am so glad I made an appointment; Anna was my last ditch attempt and she should have been my first. Anna has genuinely changed my life – it was so depressing not to be able to do ‘normal’ things like run after my kids in the park (or even walk fast after them – let’s be honest), stand for more than a few minutes or have proper bowel and bladder function…..now I feel things have really changed for me – my prolapses are now no longer the first thing on my mind when I wake and for most of the day thereafter. I have a plan (made possible by and with Anna) for how I will get my pelvic floor back to being the pre babies me and hopefully by next year I will be able to go for my first run in almost 6 years. Now that, is priceless. I will never be able to thank Anna enough for that.
Over the last ten years I have suffered from incontinence and in the last year have been diagnosed with both anterior and posterior prolapse.
I did some pelvic floor exercise under the supervision of an NHS physiotherapist, which improved my situation somewhat, but even with stronger muscles I was still experiencing incontinence.
I began searching for the next step and Anna Crowe was recommended to me as she works with women who have experienced prolapse.
The session involves myofascial release, in my case Anna has found some scar tissue possibly from the infection I had post-partum. The treatment also encourages the organs to return to the correct positioning.
Anna is very professional and friendly and makes what could be an unpleasant treatment quite relaxing.
I am in the early stages of treatment and so far, I feel an improvement in my incontinence, greatly reduced pelvic pain and most importantly I finally feel hopeful of a full recovery without surgery.
I would wholeheartedly recommend Anna to any woman experiencing prolapse or incontinence.