A rectocele occurs when the thin wall of fibrous tissue (fascia) separating the rectum from the vagina becomes weakened, allowing the front wall of the rectum to bulge into the vagina.
Childbirth and other processes that put pressure on the fascia can lead to a rectocele. A small rectocele may cause no signs or symptoms. If a rectocele is large, it may create a noticeable bulge of tissue through the vaginal opening. Though this bulge may be uncomfortable, it's rarely painful.
When treatment of a rectocele is necessary, self-care measures and other nonsurgical options are often effective. In severe cases, you may need surgical repair.
A rectocele occurs when the wall of fibrous tissue that separates a woman's rectum from her vagina weakens, allowing the front wall of the rectum to bulge into the vagina. ...
A small rectocele may cause no signs or symptoms. Otherwise, you may notice:
Many women with a rectocele also experience related conditions, such as:
When to see a doctor
In moderate or severe cases, however, rectoceles can be bothersome, uncomfortable and, in a few cases, painful. Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience:
Pregnancy and childbirth
Not everyone who has delivered a baby develops a rectocele. Some women have very strong supporting muscles, ligaments and fascia in the pelvis and may never have a problem. Women who have only cesarean deliveries are less likely to develop a rectocele.
Increased pelvic floor pressure
The following factors may increase your risk of experiencing a rectocele:
Preparing for your appointment
To evaluate pelvic organ prolapse, your first appointment may be with your primary care provider. However, in some cases when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred immediately to a doctor who specializes in conditions affecting the female reproductive tract (gynecologist).
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
For rectocele, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment if you don't understand something.
What to expect from your doctor
Tests and diagnosis
In most cases, your doctor diagnoses a rectocele during a pelvic examination of your vagina and rectum.
Possible tests for rectocele include:
Treatments and drugs
Treatment depends on the severity of the rectocele. If your rectocele causes few or no obvious symptoms, you may need no treatment or find that simple self-care measures work well, such as performing exercises called Kegels to strengthen your pelvic muscles.
If these measures fail to help, your doctor may recommend:
Surgery usually consists of removing excess, stretched tissue that forms the rectocele. In most cases, this is done using a vaginal surgical approach. Occasionally, the surgical repair may involve using a mesh patch to support and strengthen the wall between the rectum and vagina.
Pessaries come in many shapes and sizes. The device fits into your vagina and provides support to vaginal tissues displaced by pelvic organ prolapse. Your doctor can fit you for a pessary and help ...
Lifestyle and home remedies
Depending on the severity of the condition, self-care measures may provide the relief you need:
Kegel exercises may be most successful when they're taught by a therapist using biofeedback. Biofeedback uses information from a variety of (pain-free) monitoring devices to help teach you to control certain involuntary body responses, such as muscle tension. In this case, biofeedback can show whether you're contracting the correct muscles and using the right technique for the exercises to work to their best effect.
You may be able to prevent a rectocele by:
Last Updated: 2010-03-16
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