Fibroid Blocked My Bladder – Rachel’s Story

Thanks very much for all the emails which were very useful enhanced by the 101 hints in the book and the website.  I didn’t have long to get my head round having a hysterectomy – the first time it was mentioned was 15 days before it happened so your emails, website and book provided much reassuring advice and information.

I went into urinary retention for the second time in the space of 7 weeks at the end of June.  The GP I saw wanted to know why and very quickly found what she thought was a large fibroid which was confirmed by the emergency clinic at the hospital the next day.  I had had my son by C Section over 16 years ago due to the presence of a large fibroid which was blocking his exit. Having now reached the age of 50 I hadn’t expected fibroids to start troubling me but by blocking my bladder I had turned into an emergency case.

I am now two weeks post op and feeling well if still a bit sore.  I had a subtotal abdominal hysterectomy with my ovaries removed.  Having been catheterised for the two weeks prior to the operation the consultant wanted to keep my catheter in for a week afterwards to give my bladder a chance to recover from the battering given it by the fibroid.  After 23 days of being catheterised I was worried how easy it would be for my bladder to start functioning properly again.  It has been fine ; I went back to the hospital after a week but they wouldn’t finally discharge me until I had emptied my bladder three times confirmed by a final bladder scan.  I am now back to normal on that front and it is a real relief in every sense of the word. It would be useful if this positive message could be shared as most of the readily available information  about bladder function after weeks of catheterisation is of the worrying variety.

The information that was most helpful to me was the warning about the wind and the recommendation about the mint tea.  In hospital I got into the habit of having one cup of tea and one cup of hot water to turn into mint tea each time the tea trolley came round (which had no consequences for me as I was still catheterised!). The worst day of wind was the day after the op.  My bowels started working on the day I was discharged.  The mint tea really did seem to calm them down but I did ask for a laxative on night 3 to help them on their way.  The discharge doctor said that few women managed to move their bowels before they left hospital.

I was disappointed on day 2 to have made it out of bed into the chair only for my blood pressure to take a dive and end up back in bed again.  On Day 3 the same thing happened but this time it was put down to a low haemoglobin levels following a blood test.  I was discharged after three nights in hospital and it was great to be home.  This was when the big pants and the support pillows really came into their own (there was a certain irony that the cheapest way of buying a wedge pillow and a V pillow was as a mother to be gift pack from Argos!) I did later add to my Argos cushion collection as my back and coccyx became painful possibly from holding myself awkwardly and I’m now using a coccyx cushion to provide relief.

I went into menopause on the night I was discharged – internal hot flushes rather than night sweats and so have now started on the HRT and am feeling OK.

Thanks for all the good work you are doing.


in my own words book coverNow available on our online store and all other online book store’s. In My Own Words: Women’s Experience of Hysterectomy is full of many other real-life stories from women the world over.

Other people’s stories help women feel less isolated. They show that they aren’t going mad, missing the point or stupid.

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  1. I am going through this now. I waa scheduled for surgery tomorrow. I have had 4 ER visits for not being able to pass urine. My fibriod is 20cm. My insurance refused to pay because itnis new and I have a 6 month wait period. I also have a blocked urethra causeing backflow to my right kidneys. I am having flank pain on the right side and lower back pain. I see my doctor today because I have a foley in. I am miserable and sad at the same time. This and heavy periods are just not a good way to live. I am worried about kidney atrophy. Thanks for sharing. I hope this foley will push my surgery.

  2. I’m 43 and the first time I had bladder retention was in February 2016 I woke up with heavy pressure and couldn’t go, went to ER after 3 hours i finally had a bowel movement and was able to pee. 7 months later…. Heavy bleeding/clotting has always been an issue and I had polyps removed about 10 years ago. I haven’t had any other issues with urine retention till this last weekend Sept 2016 I woke up and knew something was wrong heavy pressure on my bladder was back and 6 hours later in the ER the catheter was out in. 3 days later and a Second opinion with a female urologist and she’s ordering a vaginal ultrasound . As of now im urinating and she placed me on tamsulosin. The UTI symptoms before my periods are familiar I would have never put that together as it never turned into a UTI and at 43 I’ve never even had a Yeast infection. has anyone felt the bladder pressure I’m talking about?
    I don’t have any other symptoms that i can’t live with except the bladder retention. I’m scared. Could it be anything else? What test did y’all have done? Any advice?

  3. I too had urinary retention for about 1 week before my period and during my period – and I was told it was probably due to a very large fibroid. It was measured at 11cm – but was certainly reported larger after the operation – about the size of a large cantaloupe. For about a year before my periods I felt I was getting a UTI – never did and it went away once my period came. Last two months have not been like that – the first time it happened I had a UTI and the most excruciating pain until I went to emergency care to get catheterized. The second time, no UTI, but equal pain and had to be catheterized. I was out of commission for about 2 weeks per month. Flomax helped relieve the pain a bit, but did not solve anything – it just made me incontinent…but at least I had relief! I went to an expert gyn in Boston who emphatically knew what was happening to me despite the urologists skepticism. I had a total hysterectomy – they took the tubes and the uterus, left the ovary since I have no history. Apparently I’m told I will not go through menopause by keeping the ovaries – well in my case, my one ovary. So, I’m 3 days out of surgery – home and recovering – feeling confident that this fixed the problem. I’ve pee-ed confidently for 3 straight days – that has not happened in months! (ps – I’m 52)

  4. I am having hysterectomy Tues.23rd June ,just another 8 days! I too have a fibroid 11cm diam. which is causing urine retention and sometimes severe pain in my leg or numbness in my feet. Probably contributes to constipation too.
    At age 72 I am considering keeping my ovaries but removing uterus and fallopian tubes – my surgeon says 40% of ovarian cancers may originate in the tubes. I have a low family risk of cancer so am hoping that my old ovaries still produce some androgens to maintain my general well being and interest in life etc.!
    Otherwise I am pretty well for my age , no weight problem or bone loss or arthritis yet so here goes – fingers crossed and toes plaited !
    Best Wishes to all

  5. Hi, I have the same situation. Cervical fibroid of 10cm and once had urinary retention. It was just once and never bothered me again anymore. I don’t have any other symptoms like bleeding . My gynaecologist gave me hysterectomy as only option and said there is a risk of damaging urinary system if I don’t do it. So I agreed for hysterectomy and now it’s only 20 days away and I am having second thoughts. Should I really do this. I am perfectly healthy with no problem at all apart from that incident of urinary retention. Is it sufficient enough to do a major operation and remove the organs (cervix as well)? Any thoughts will be very much appreciated! I am really indecisive now 🙁

  6. I had a abdominal hysterectomy in January due to heavy periods and a large frbiord I was in a lot of pain after I went into hospital on the Thursday came out on the Sunday I had a infection in my wound which made me feel quite I’ll and a week after the infection my wound started to bleed which at the time when I went to my gp would not stop it was a worrying time for me recover is very slow after this operation I never thought I would get over it but it was the best thing I did . the only bad thing is there is no after care on how to cope with the after affects I experience very low moods and highs at the same time and it is not nice experience to have and there should be more help for woman I kept my ovaries I say thank goodness for this site my docs can’t really tell me if it is the operation after affects