What is rectocele?
Also called posterior vaginal prolapse, rectocele happens when the thin wall of tissue between your vagina and the lower part of your colon (rectum) weakens. This causes the rectum to bulge through the vaginal wall.
Many women with rectocele also have prolapse of other pelvic organs, including the bladder (cystocele), uterus, or top of the vagina.
What are the symptoms of rectocele?
A small vaginal prolapse may not cause any signs or symptoms, but a large one can create a noticeable bulge that protrudes into your vaginal opening. Other rectocele symptoms include:
- Sensation of fullness or pressure in the rectum
- Difficulty moving your bowels
- Feeling like your rectum isn’t completely empty after a bowel movement
You may also experience a sense of vaginal looseness or loss of vaginal tone that makes it difficult to have sex.
What causes rectocele?
Rectocele occurs when pressure on the pelvic floor causes supportive tissues, like muscles and ligaments, to become weak or damaged.
Pregnancy and childbirth are two of the most common causes of damage to pelvic floor tissues. The more pregnancies you have, the more your risk of developing any type of vaginal prolapse increases. Women who have cesarean section deliveries are less likely to develop prolapse than those who deliver vaginally.
Other causes of pressure on the pelvic floor muscles include:
- Repeated heavy lifting
- Chronic coughing
- Being overweight or obese
- Persistent constipation
The muscles, nerves, and connective tissues that support your pelvic floor also weaken with age. As you grow older, the risk of developing rectocele increases.
How is rectocele diagnosed and treated?
First, your provider at Bela Vida Urogynecology thoroughly reviews your symptoms and medical history and performs a physical exam. She may ask you to bear down as if you’re moving your bowels to check the size and location of the rectocele.
Then, she works with you to create a personalized treatment plan for your specific needs. Depending on the severity of your condition, treatment for a rectocele may include:
- Self-care measures like exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles
- Nonsurgical devices like a pessary
- Pelvic floor reconstruction surgery
The highly skilled surgeons at Bela Vida Urogynecology use minimally invasive robotic surgery techniques whenever possible.
For the highest quality treatment of rectocele and other types of vaginal prolapse, call Bela Vida Urogynecology or book an appointment online today.