What is Rectocele?

The pelvic organs are supported by various muscles and ligaments. Over time, these tissues stretch as a result of childbirth, excessive straining or age causing the pelvic organs to shift from their normal location. Rectocele is form of Vaginal Prolapse when the tissues between the rectum and vaginal wall become damaged or weak, allowing the wall of the rectum to prolapse or bulge into the vagina.  Although this situation is more common among women who have had multiple pregnancies with vaginal deliveries, it can also develop in women over time who have had challenges with chronic constipation, excessive weight, performed regular heavy lifting or have a chronic cough.

These images provide a visualization of the progression of Rectocele both with a uterus and without (post-hysterectomy).

Symptoms of Rectocele

Mild cases of Rectocele may not experience specific symptoms. However, in more severe cases you’re likely to notice vaginal discomfort or pain during intercourse. You may also notice a pulling or tugging sensation in your pelvis area or a feeling of pressure or pain. This pressure may also rest on other organs like the bladder causing symptoms of stress incontinence. The most prominent symptom for most patients is a soft bulge of tissue in the vagina.

Treatment for Rectocele

Treatment for Rectocele really depends on the severity of the condition. More mild cases benefit from Kegel exercise that strengthens the pelvic muscle tissues.  Additional nonsurgical options includes inserting Pessary supports into the vagina. For situations where the rectocele bulges outside the vagina, surgery is recommended.  This will typically  include a reconstructive process that not only repairs the tissue damage in the rectum and vagina, but the surgeon will also repair damage made to surrounding organs or tissue. These procedures can be performed using minimally invasive surgery techniques which reduces the recovery time experienced by a patient.

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 NOTE:  This content is for informational purposes only and not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider if you have questions or concerns.  If you are interested in a consultation with Dr. Veronikis, please call for an appointment to address your specific needs.