What Is Rectocele?
Rectocele is the term used for rectal prolapse. This condition occurs when the supportive wall of tissue between a woman’s rectum and vaginal wall (rectovaginal septum) weakens. A lack of support from these pelvic floor muscles and ligaments can cause the front wall of the rectum to bulge into the vagina and, in severe cases, a noticeable bulge at the vaginal opening.
At Urology of Greater Atlanta, the board-certified urologists are expertly trained to diagnose and treat all types of pelvic floor prolapse. This is important as other pelvic organs may bulge into the vagina, causing further problems. If you have any signs of pelvic prolapse, call Urology of Greater Atlanta or request an appointment online today for expert diagnosis and personalized treatment.
What Is the Main Cause of Rectocele?
Rectocele can occur when there is prolonged pressure exerted on the pelvic floor. Common risk factors may include:
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Chronic constipation
- Chronic cough or bronchitis
- Past rectal surgery
What Symptoms Does a Rectocele Cause?
It is possible to have a rectocele with no symptoms. However, many women experience pressure in their vagina or the sensation that something is falling out of the vagina. The following are also common symptoms:
- Rectal pressure or fullness. It may feel like something is stuck in your rectum
- A soft bulge of vaginal tissue that is felt within the vagina or is protruding slightly
- Difficulty having a bowel movement
- Discomfort during sexual intercourse
There is also a chance you could have a secondary prolapse of the other vaginal walls and nearby organs, including the uterus or bladder, which can protrude into the vagina too.
How Do You Treat a Rectocele?
Your doctor will decide what treatment to perform depending on the severity of the rectocele. If the rectocele is mild, it may be suggested to perform kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles along with bowel training. If the rectocele is moderate to severe, there are also options of using a vaginal pessary or rectocele repair.
A vaginal pessary is a small device used to support the prolapsed wall. Rectocele surgery is a minimally invasive surgical repair.
Your doctor will only recommend surgical management if other treatment methods have not improved your symptoms. The surgeon will aim to strengthen the wall between the vagina and rectum.
The surgical procedure starts with an incision into the back wall of the vagina. The layers under the vaginal wall are then brought together and held with small stitches to tighten the tissues and give more strength to the wall.
What Happens if Rectocele Goes Untreated?
It is not a good idea to leave the rectocele untreated. Doing so can lead to complications including the following:
- Leakage of bowel movements
- Increased pressure or discomfort in the pelvic area
- Sexual dysfunction and discomfort
The team of board-certified urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta diagnose pelvic floor prolapse and offer personalized treatments to keep your pelvic organs in place and relieve your symptoms.
Call or make an appointment online for expert urological care. We have offices throughout Metro Atlanta, including Stockbridge.