Having fistula traumatised me, that's why I want more women to know about it

Sharon Korir.

Photo credit: Pool

What you need to know:

  • Excruciating pain during pregnancy, a severely jaundiced newborn, and fistula plagued her.

"I have had a tempestuous voyage to motherhood.

I am a mother of two sons, who are 10 and three. My problems started when I was diagnosed with Sciatica while seven months pregnant with my second child. Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. During pregnancy, sciatica can arise if your growing baby and expanding uterus puts pressure on your sciatic nerve; which causes inflammation, irritation, and pain.

My condition was so severe that I was forced to use crutches for two months before my due date. Then, when I gave birth my baby was diagnosed with jaundice resulting from a condition called hyperbilirubinemia. The condition occurs when there is too much bilirubin in the blood, which is a yellow pigment that causes the yellowing of the baby's skin, eyes, and other tissues hence resulting in jaundice.

Newborn jaundice

I had to endure watching helplessly as my newborn baby fought and endured excruciating pain. As he fought to survive.

He had to have a blood exchange done. It is a very invasive procedure for a newborn but thankfully it was managed well and he is now very well and developing as normal.

But my turmoil was not over. A few days after I was discharged I had to contend with yet another uncomfortable health condition. I discovered I had a problem when passing urine and fecal matter. I had no control and the passage routes seemed interchanged.

Fistula journey

Uncomfortable and desperate, I started seeking treatment for my condition and that's when I was told I had Recto –Vaginal Fistula. This had occurred after birth when I was sewn the wrong way. A rectovaginal fistula is an abnormal connection between the lower portion of the large intestine — your rectum — and the vagina. Bowel contents leak through the fistula, making gas or stool to pass through the vagina.

I was traumatised. I had many unanswered questions. I had to undergo corrective surgery and many months of doctors' appointments until I got healed. I really wanted to question God. I named my son Israel meaning (Wrestled or Triumphed with God). It wasn't easy.

Fighting for other women

After my healing, I decided to do something about other women who may face a similar scenario.

I am a lawyer by profession and I currently teach law at Rusinga International School in Lavington.

I wanted to create awareness and help other women going through similar or related ordeals. That's how I reached out and partnered with the Flying Doctors Society of Africa. I reach out to women at the grassroots and refer needy cases to the organisation for surgery and treatment.

At the moment, I reach to women and fistula victims through my Youtube channel (In the Closet with Sharon Korir) and Facebook account, @Sharon Korir.

So far, I have met 20 or so women who sought my help."


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