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Finally Brave Enough to Face an Unwanted Reality (Anonymous)

Original entry here.

Age: 26
Pregnancy and births: 1
Age of children: 3 years

I’ve been avoiding writing this letter. I think it’s because writing it means I will have to face a reality I don’t want. For almost three years I have been telling myself “it’s got to get better – maybe just another year and it will be back to normal”, but I don’t know if I can believe that anymore. And to compound the problem, it’s one of those “off-limits” topics that women (and I now realize doctors, nurses, and prenatal educators) don’t really talk about which has left me rather isolated. I have turned to you wonderful women at SOAM in hopes that I can connect with someone who has had a similar experience. I last posted in 2007 and have also provided some updated pictures. It has now been almost three years since the birth of my wonderful daughter.

When I first posted on this site, I only addressed things that most women do: breasts, bum, thighs, stomach, stretch marks, etc. But as I have learned, there are many more parts of a woman’s body that pregnancy and childbirth can affect – one’s that aren’t so easily seen or covered with clothes, but that still affect our self image.

I had a fairly difficult birthing experience – my daughter was occiput posterior and it took 2+ hours of pushing until she finally made her entrance into the world. My birthing nurse was not very engaged or helpful and let me push and figure it all out of my own while she chatted with her colleagues. Not one helpful tip about pushing, no perineal massage, nothing, until I tore so badly that she had to run and get the doctor because there was so much blood. Thankfully, after about 1 year, these tears (one internally on the vaginal wall, and one perineal tear) healed up nicely and I have no recurring issues in this department. However, there was so much pressure from my daughter being OP and also not pushing efficiently that I suffered from hemorrhoids, a peri-anal hematoma, and anal fissures after her birth. In the maternity ward, not one nurse mentioned to me that I had hemorrhoids when they came around for my checks and I could barely left my legs for them. When I left the hospital 2 days later, I had to shuffle out of the hospital, moving about half a foot and a time, because I was in so much pain. Being a first time mom, I had not idea this was not just part of normal birthing pain. At one of my daughter’s newborn checkups about 2 weeks later, the nurse at my physician’s office noticed that I was sitting sideways (on my hips instead of my bum) on the chair in the waiting room, and asked if I would like the doctor to check me out. I happily accepted and a few hemorrhoids were discovered. Over the next 9 months, I tried prescription strength hemorrhoid creams, suppositories, steroid creams, and finally internal ice therapy (which actually worked pretty well!). About 11 months after my daughter’s birth, I got in to see a specialist at a world-renowned clinic, who pretty much told me I didn’t have hemorrhoids, but I had anusitis (irritation and inflammation of the anus) from using all the creams. I cleared that up, and when 3 months later I still wasn’t feeling any better, I returned to the clinic for another investigative exam. This time, the doctor told me I had an anal fissure starting on the inside and coming out and up towards my tail bone. He gave me a prescription for nitroglycerin cream as he simultaneously backed out of the room (great bed-side manner, let me tell you…). I used this cream to no avail, and returned to my physician to get a referral to a different doctor. A few months later, I saw the new doctor who gave me a sigmoidoscopy, confirmed the presence of a mass of internal hemorrhoids and the anal fissure, and told me there was nothing he could do for me. I told him I needed to get this under control because I wanted to have another child but couldn’t while in so much pain, to which he replied “Well, if you want to have another child that’s your prerogative and you’ll just have to deal with it”. I left his office in tears.

Time went on and I was in an enormous amount of pain. Every few weeks I was confined to the couch, not able to walk, bend down, sit, pick up or play with my daughter, and certainly not have sex with my husband. Frustrated with doctors not listening to what I was telling them, the next time I had a flare up I bit the bullet and got the camera out. I took pictures of the marble-sized black and blue mass on my anus (sorry, but it’s true!) and called the first clinic I attended to make an appointment, but requested a different doctor. The doctor looked at my pictures and confirmed that the intense pain I had been having since my daughter was born was from a peri-anal hematoma. An appointment was made for the next week, and 20 months after the birth of my daughter, I had it lasered off (I was terrified, but the surgery was less painful than the flare-up!). I thought this was the end of all my problems, but about 6 weeks later, the pain was back. This pain was different, so again, I made an appointment at the clinic where I had the hematoma lasered off, and again got nitroglycerin cream for the fissure which wasn’t successful. To compound this problem, I was diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) when I was 14, and the alternation between diarrhea and constipation does nothing for my fissure or hemorrhoids. It has been 16 months since I had the hematoma removed, and I am 100% better than I was, but still suffer with pain almost every day. Depending on how my IBS is doing, the pain alternates as being from either my fissure or the hemorrhoids, and I haven’t been successful in healing either. I am sure I don’t have to go into how much this destroys my quality of life. My husband has been so supportive and patient and tolerant through this whole ordeal, but I can tell that he is getting tired of it, as am I. I want to be able to take advantage of naptime and jump his bones, without turning him down because my bum hurts or going through with it and suffering with the pain for the next 3-4 days. I hide my true feelings by saying I don’t want another child, when in reality I would love one but am so scared that because of what it will do to my already injured body I won’t be able to go through with a pregnancy and subsequent birth. It is the only thing in my life that truly brings me to tears every time I think about it. Is this my reality? Is this the rest of my life? Pain every day, always worried about if the foods I eat or the next bowel movement will cause enough pain to keep me from doing the things I really want to do, especially being a mom of two? That thought is like a punch in the stomach.

Has anyone ever had problems with a hematoma, hemorrhoids, or fissure after childbirth? What did you do about them? How long did it take to heal? Any natural remedies that were helpful? Anyone have surgeries to fix these problems? And what I’m most scared to ask, has anyone had these problems and then had another pregnancy? Did it make the problem worse? I am at a loss, and I really don’t know what else to do. I am a strong person by nature, but this is about as much as I can handle. I appreciate anyone who can help shed some light.

As mentioned, here are a few pictures of me almost 3 years after my daughter was born. And I must say, even though I have been through so much pain, my daughter is the best thing that has ever happened to me, and I wouldn’t trade her for the world….although it would be nice to have a bum that doesn’t hurt!

in Belly, Breasts, Butt, First Pregnancy, Hemorrhoids/Etc., Postpartum, Question, Update

58 comments… add one

  • Jennie Friday, February 6, 2015, 10:05 pm

    I understand the pain. I had a son almost 8 months ago and they performed an episitomy. Since the birth every time I have a bowel movement I feel excruciating pain. I went to my OB and he said I didn’t now have hemroids and with time I should heal. He said the stitches were done perfectly (I don’t know if it actually was, or he just said it beacaue he performed it).. It’s 8 months later and when I use the restroom I can barely handle the pain. It makes me want to cry on a daily basis, I am currently trying to find a doctor who can help me and tell me what is wrong. I discuss the pain with husband but feel no one truly understand the pain I feel and how scared I am of going to the restroom. It’s a difficult situation and it can takes its toll I am trying to stay positive and I know that my son was worth whatever pain I have. i just wish I could find the problem in order to work for a solution.

  • Lala Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 4:25 pm

    I just want to write a quick comment to say 2 things- firstly, Anonymous, I have suffered from horrible fissures for 4 and a half years, and have had very little respite, although through squatting with feet on the seat does relieve the straining slightly and eventually allows the fissure to heal (until I get dehydrated by accident then it’s another 3 months of pain). When I gave birth I pushed for an hour and a half and they did not even see the top of my sons head until the cut me and went in with forceps high up. Anyway I also have a daughter who will be three in one month, she is a little angel and popped out on the second push so just to give you some encouragement!
    Also the second thing is to Jennie, it sounds like you have an anal fissure too. Get the doctor to examine you. It will hurt a lot but some people do respond to medication. And try squatting on the bowl, no one told me that and it took me two years to work it out, it does help if you only ever go like that.

  • bee Sunday, February 22, 2015, 12:31 am

    :( I just had my first and only baby October 2013. TMI warning but I’ve suffered IBS as a teen and resulting from that I had fissures and had a little tear that turned into a little skin tag. After I had done all that pushing to get my daughter out, I’ve healed they’ve gotten worse. The one tag I had got bigger and 2 smaller tags came along. Tmi again but I looks ugly like a vagina. I want to cry. After I delivered my Dr said I had hemorrhoids as well as nurses. But I basically had fissures that got worse. Does anyone know if they have a surgery for it? What it’s called ?

  • Carla. Lindsay Monday, March 9, 2015, 4:29 am

    The 26 year old who posted this message I was wondering would you email me because I have a few questions and afraid it will get lost with all of these comments. if not its okay. Carla Lindsay 42 at gmail . com thank you in advance

    Thanks

  • Mary Tuesday, March 17, 2015, 9:52 pm

    I had my baby 1 year ago. Pushed for four + hours. They had to suction her out…. Anyways this led to many of the issues you all have complained about. In tears when you have to use the bathroom etc (I believe I have extensive anal fissures and maybe internal hemeroids.) Not to mention just the sore perineal muscle pain that is always there. On days when I had a bowel movement it was super bad. I am an RN so was diligent about trying to sort this out with my med background. Tried warm sitz baths (which did help somewhat but who can do these three times a day?) and many other things you all have tried. I also have mild IBS.
    One day, I was talking to a patient- they always willingly share health problems etc- and this gal told me she had been suffering from an anal fissure and finally got it cured- the magic? Of course I picked her brain. MIRALAX. So I went straight to the store, started taking it once a day. It basically turns your BM into soft serve ice cream (sorry but true) But anyways, in 1 week I felt 100 times better. I took it for about four months straight (this is the key…. You can’t be lazy and miss a day). Then I tried to go off it to see if things had improved. They didn’t. A few days after stopping things were super painful and uncomfortable again. So I am back on it daily. It doesnt cause me any issues and there is no harm in using it longterm so for now, I am sticking with it as I feel 80% better. My perineum muscles still ache from time to time and my anus is still tender to the touch, but overall, night and day. I may have to seek further med help if things NEVER get better without the miralax, but for now I am so relieved to have an effective treatment. I am also pregnant again as I wanted another child, but because I didn’t want to make things worse or go through what I did last time I am having a c section which I think is a great idea for those of you in my shoes. It took the stress and worry away once I decided on that.
    One thing not mentioned by anyone- for anal fissures- Botox injections can be a miracle I’ve heard- I work frequently with Botox and plan on this as my next step. Hopefully this will help someone. All I can say, if you haven’t given miralax a solid go- do it. (And this is not the same thing as using a stool softener daily- those don’t do anything!). Good luck!

  • Not alone Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 10:02 pm

    Hi! I know this post is 6 years old, but if there are more mothers out there with these issues and searching the internet like crazy for answers (me) they will likely stumble across this and hopefully feel better too. I’ve loved reading all the comments, and knowing that the original poster (when this was posted) is around my age. I had my baby 2 months ago..(she’s my 2nd baby & my last) .. During my first pregnancy, I would see blood in the toilet, and I did have horrible pain, so I did have to take sitz baths. They got better, and when it was time to give birth I wasn’t dilating so I had a c-sections. No issues. Period! Second pregnancy, dealt with seeing blood in the toilet again but not too bad I guess. I gained 30lbs with my second baby And also had her one week early via c-section. Well first off, my diet with my second was HORRIBLE! (Myyy baddd…which is why I have a lot of self blame and depression now) but ya… Basically I ended up really constipated and pushed more than I should have. I started seeing blood in the toilet (a lot of it!!!) and I stupidly ignored it cos there was no pain really. Then my bum got super itchy, so what did I do??? I itched the crap out of it!! (Pun intended). BIG MISTAKE… One month after having my 2nd baby I could no longer poop like a normal person. I spent almost all day in the bathtub! I couldn’t walk, sit, and it hurt to move even if I was laying down. I finally had an appointment with a general surgeon 10days later and he said I had an anal fissure, but due to my inflamed skin tag that was the size of a raisin, and the massive amount of debilitating pain I was in, he couldn’t actually look inside to confirm anything. Anyway to make a long story shorter…I have been trying to heal this on my own.,. I know I have hemmies, and I believe I have more than one anal fissure now due to a really bad episode of constipation and compacted feces which I literally had to take a finger to try to get it to come out…. It just totally tore me badly. I did have 2 weeks of feeling like I was almost better… Here is what I did before I got bad again,,,
    1. I started using organic virgin coconut oil suppositories that I made myself. (This almost instantly helped with the spasms and I was able to walk normal without wanting to cry)… It even hurt to pass gas but with doing the suppositories after pooping, it felt better)
    2. I was prescribed nifedipine which is a calcium channel blocker to relax my muscle spasms and I’m not sure if it works but I’m still using it.
    3. I’m still on maternity leave and also breastfeeding my little one and so I do drink tons of water and I also am on a pretty healthy fiber rich diet, no caffeine, no sugars or enriched flour products…milk has never been an issue for me but it says no dairy, so I’ve cut it out of my diet.. (I haven’t perfected my diet plan yet, and my stress/anxiety levels about constantly thinking about having to poop probably makes my constipation worse!)
    4. I take sitz baths and I also take my poops in the sitz baths in super warm water, along with loading up with Vaseline prior to going…this is seriously the only way I can go without wanting to fall over. It still is painful but it eases the pain just alittle.
    5. In general keep the area moist, not dry. Dry will cause irritation.
    PLEASE TRY COCONUT OIL. It has healing properties to bring down inflamation and promote healing. I would love to try apple cider vinegar (which is GREAT for hemmies) but due to me having fissures, I don’t want to aggrivate them. The fissures I think are worse than the hemmies.
    ..I try staying positive everyday which is extremely hard since I’m a total foodie and now I can’t eat anything that I really enjoy. But I take little walks to the park with my kiddos, and I try to tell myself “it could always be worse”…I have my good days and my really depressing bad days. I have another doctors appt on May 11th so we will see how that goes. I can’t go back to work like this cos I still can’t poop on a toilet, so I may have to look into surgery soon enough :/ I’m super scared about that but hey, you gotta do what works for u and I can’t wait a year or more. Thanks for reading, and thanks for all these replies. Makes me feel not so lonely. Oh ps…. I heard that breastfeeding could be a factor to non healing fissures due to low estrogen levels, but I’m not stopping.

  • Anonymous 3 Saturday, June 6, 2015, 9:31 am

    I had the anal fissure surgery. Botox didn’t work for me nor did the cream. The surgery actually opens your sphincter more (doesn’t close the fisdure) allowing the stool to more easily pass and allowing your body to naturally heal because it doesn’t get as irritated. It totally worked for me. Unfortunately I just had my second child and I’m experiencing issues again. Going to try the Miralax and hope this new fissure goes away on its own. It’s really scary and painful going to the bathroom right now.

  • gg Wednesday, July 22, 2015, 9:35 pm

    I dealt with this for years all you ladies had my same symptoms doctors after doctors making me feel horrible finally got referred to a butt doctor he said it was a fissure i had surgery 10 years ago best thing I ever did no symptoms since..

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