A rectocele, also called a proctocele, results from a tear in the normally tough, fibrous, sheet-like divider between the rectum and vagina (rectovaginal septum), causing a bulge to protrude as a hernia into the vagina when there is a bowel movement. It is mainly caused by childbirth or a hysterectomy. It is more likely to occur as a result of childbirth if the baby weighs over nine pounds, or the birth was fast.
If the rectocele is small the patient may not notice it, there may be no signs or symptoms at all. In larger cases there may be a perceptible protrusion of tissue through the vaginal opening. The woman may experience some discomfort – pain is rare.
In the majority of cases the patient can treat the rectocele with self-care and other non-surgical methods. Surgery may be required in severe cases.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Rectocele?
A symptom is something the patient senses and describes, while a sign is something other people, such as the doctor notice. For example, drowsiness may be a symptom while dilated pupils may be a sign.
In mild cases the woman may sense pressure within the vagina, she may feel that her bowels have not been completely emptied after going to the toilet. In moderate cases an attempt to evacuate can push the stool into the rectocele rather that out through the anus, there may be pain and discomfort during evacuation. There is a higher chance of having constipation.
Some women may experience pain during sexual intercourse. In severe cases there may be vaginal bleeding, occasional fecal incontinence, and sometimes the prolapse of the bulge through the mouth of the vagina, or rectal prolapse through the anus. Many females have rectoceles, but only a few may feel any symptoms.
For more information on the diagnosis and treatment for a rectocele, or to schedule a second opinion, please contact our Concierge Patient Coordinator at (210) 490-2828 or toll free at (866) 259-3778.