Home Shopping Network host Diane Gilman has revealed how she suffered in silence with pelvic organ prolapse for eight years in a bid to encourage other women to take the surgical option and get over the problem.
The 70-year-old American fashion designer built an £80 million empire creating jeans that flatter older women, but all the time she was hiding her own secret. Having suffered a prolapse, she became a recluse, only leaving the house for work. When she did fly with work, she revealed that she was often stopped by security at the airport who suspected she was smuggling something.
“The first time it happened, I was getting on a flight to Italy. And I just said to the women: ‘What you’re going to see is going to horrify you,’” she said.
“By the time we came out of the room, they were in tears. They were weeping for me.”
Gilman was a star, but she was too timid to seek treatment for her condition and did not know the options for treatment, so she suffered in silence for almost a decade. She admits that her whole life was taken over by the uterine prolapse and she dedicated most of her day to hiding her condition.
Finally she sought treatment and underwent surgery that included a full hysterectomy. Within weeks, she says her confidence was restored and she could get her life back on track.
Gilman decided to go public to draw attention to a condition that affects a large number of women and causes huge pain and suffering. Her bravery should help more women come forward and look at the surgical options that could give them all a new lease of life.
A hysterectomy isn’t always necessary and sacrohysteropexy has revolutionised prolapse surgery, using a mesh insert to support the internal organs. Many women that undergo sacrohysteropexy surgery go on to have more children and this form of surgery is much less invasive. It has a high success rate and is proving more and more popular with women in the UK.