“I was sad because my worst fears had been confirmed – I had fistula, a highly embarrassing condition. But it was good news because at least my problem had been diagnosed and I could be treated. No more panty liners and stool-laden discharge.”
The gynae then referred her to a fistula repair specialist in Nairobi.
“Th specialist examined me and confirmed that I indeed had fistula, and he further informed me that it had to be repaired as soon as possible because the hole had been getting bigger with time. Which was true because by then the stool in my discharge had continued to increase in quantity. I was doing up to five full panty liners in a day!”
Two and a half years after the birth of her son, Yvonne underwent a successful fistula repair surgery at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). She chose the hospital because of its affordability (the hospital has a fistula-funded programme). She had tried other private hospitals but the minimum cost for most was Ksh 150,000.
But she wondered what had caused the fistula, yet she had delivered at a good hospital.
“I had no obstructed labor and my baby was only 2.7 kg’s at birth, so I wondered how I could possibly have developed fistula. But upon further inquiry, I was informed that it could be that it could have been due to the prolonged labor, and also because my episiotomy was not repaired well. I later found out that even though the hospital I delivered had staff, some of them were unqualified. They were assistants with not much medical training. These are the ones who helped birth my baby. I remembered that among the major reasons I settled for this hospital was because it was a private one, and it looked good, clean and beautiful,” she says.
“My advice to women is that they should not be enticed by the lure of private hospitals and their luxurious facilities. Sometimes they do not have competent medics. Atleast with government facilities you are sure the staff are skilled,” She advises.
Yvonne also advices people to seek second, third or fourth opinions if uncomfortable about a diagnosis.
It has been almost two years since the operation, and she is completely healed.
“I have no more leakages and I now live my life fully. I can now wear white panties and I have never worn a panty liner since the operation,” she says, beaming with joy.
More About Fistula
A fistula is an opening that allows urine or stool to pass into a woman’s vagina – in what is known as incontinence. Women with fistula suffer from constant leaking of urine and / or feaces. Fistula is mainly caused by a prolonged and or obstructed labor
According to the World Health Organization, between 50,000 to 100,000 women worldwide develop obstetric fistula each year. Most of these cases are in developing countries.