Q&A With Louise: Fertility, Pregnancy & Period
With the new lockdown, I have seen an active increase on my messenger account recently. I have been asked regularly about fertility after surgery and more so after barbie butt surgery. I also get asked about what contraception I use after stoma formation as well. This Q&A is a bit like getting to know you, getting to know me so you can get to understand me and the journey I have been through to get to where I am today.
*This is only a Q&A, these are the typical responses I give, I always advise that you should seek medical advice and opinions, these answers are only based on my personal experience*
Q1) Did you have your daughter after your stoma formation? I am curious as I have a fistula and Barbie butt surgery has been advised, I am yet to have any children and worried about how that will affect my fertility.
My daughter was pre stoma and the reason for my first stoma surgery, my bowel was perforated during the emergency c-section. I had an enterocutaneous fistula coming up through my belly button whilst I was pregnant. It is normally advised that you have to try conceiving at least a year before they will allow fertility tests. If you are worried then you need to consult with your surgeon as to what effects this surgery may have on your reproductive system. I have been told that having had the barbie butt surgery that it is now safe for me to proceed with another pregnancy. However, everyone’s individual circumstances are different. You can always request a pre-pregnancy counselling session with obstetrics if you are overly concerned. One silver lining is that if both yourself and your partner are childless then IVF May well be an option.
Q2) Has stoma surgery affected your fertility?
My answer to that one can always be a little long-winded. Back after everything that happened with Maisie I was told that I wouldn’t be able to have another child due to the damage caused by the initial surgeries and sepsis. My pelvis is concrete scar tissue. I went for an opinion back in 2016 prior to my second ileostomy placement, I was advised that due to uterine rupture and my large bowel being in situ that it wasn’t a safe viable option, the reason being for this was due to mass amounts of scar tissue. My anterior uterine wall was fused to the remainder of my large bowel. At the time I was meant to have a hysterectomy, this was abandoned in both my surgeries due to the risk of me ending up with a urostomy as my urethra is buried somewhere in all the scar tissue. After seeing my surgeon back in 2019 I yet again went back for a 3rd opinion, I can proceed with a pregnancy, I will be considered high risk due to my underlying health conditions, I can’t have a natural birth as I am incredibly high risk for bleeding out.I will need a multidisciplinary team at the C-section including my colorectal surgeon. As for my fertility, I am still ovulating, my right side fallopian tube is scarred up, However I know I can fall pregnant as this happened in 2014, sadly due to being advised that I couldn’t have another child without risking my own life in the process I had to have a termination, that guilt will always live with me. If I knew then what I know now then things may have been different.
Q3) What do you use for contraception? I’m not sure what is available to me since my stoma placement.
I use the good old fashioned T-coil which is copper-based. I can’t use the Mirena due to the hormones. I have tried the implant, the depo shot and oral contraceptives over the years, after my stoma placement oral contraception wasn’t an option due to malabsorption, I had to have the implant removed due to mass weight gain and mood swings, depo also caused weight gain. I stick to the coil which I will be having removed soon, I have had that in now for nearly 7 years come this May. You just need to book an appointment with your GP or the clinic to discuss your best options. Those who have the Mirena coil may have lighter periods, alas the copper one can cause a heavier flow.
Q4) Will pregnancy impact my stoma site?
I can’t answer that as I have yet to experience pregnancy with a stoma, however, there is a lovely support group on Facebook called ostomy and J Pouch mums, the women in that group are amazing and can offer you support and guidance through your pregnancy and any questions you may have. If you are experiencing issues with your stoma site, please consult your stoma nurse as they are the best advised.
Q5) Will stoma surgery impact my periods? I am 6 weeks post-op and panicking as mine haven’t come back yet!
My response will always be unless you suspect you are pregnant then please don’t panic, it can take up to 3 months for things to return to normal. One of the first things that can be impacted after a stressful trauma ( Surgery) are your periods, your body closes down functions to help your body recover, Mine are normally back to normal and in sync once I have hit the six month recovery period. If you are overly concerned then please consult with your GP or a gynea team. I always find I bled for about 10 days after surgery then things shut up shop until my body recovers. If you have had barbie butt surgery then switch to sanitary towels until the swelling has gone down.
That’s it for this months Q&A,
Many thanks for reading
This blog post is intended to give advice to ostomates. The information given is based on Louise’s personal experience and should not be taken as clinical advice. Each ostomates needs are unique to them and their stoma care routine. Please consult with your Stoma Care Nurse before undertaking any changes to your stoma care routine or if you are experiencing any health issues.
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