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What is a rectocele?

Rectocele is where the part of the rectum falls into the vagina.

In women, the rectum may bulge into the vagina because of weakening of the vaginal wall and other supportive tissue causing a rectocele. This can be caused by vaginal childbirth. Difficulties passing stool may result. Some women find it helps to place one or more fingers inside the vagina to help support the bulging tissue and facilitate a bowel movement.

Dr. Janet E. Tomezsko, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

A rectocele is a loss of the vaginal support over the rectum. The floor of the vagina may begin to bulge up and a rectocele forms. Patients may have no symptoms, or may feel a bulge or pressure in the vaginal area. Prolapse is not usually painful. A rectocele may be associated with difficulty emptying the rectum during a bowel movement. A rectocele should be treated when bothersome by a pessary (a device like a diaphragm that goes in the vagina to support the bulge) or a corrective surgery.

Dr. Kevin W. Windom, MD
OBGYN (Obstetrician & Gynecologist)

A rectocele is a hernia or defect in the connective tissue between the rectum and the vagina. This causes a bulging of the rectum into the vagina and makes it very difficult for some women to have bowel movements. Also, patients can have complaints of pelvic pressure, pelvic pain, and difficulty with intercourse.

Rectocele is a condition in which the tissue that supports the floor of the vagina becomes so thin that the rectum actually bulges into the vagina, much like a hammock that has become loose over time. It's the equivalent of a dropped bladder, except it involves the back of the vagina, not the front. Instead of stool going down a straight tunnel, it gets trapped in a "turn in the road"—hence the necessity to push down. "Splinting" is the term we use to describe the need to put manual pressure on the vagina or perineum in order for the stool to come out. Mild rectoceles require no treatment, but if it is bothersome, a minor surgical procedure can put things back where they belong.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.