Rectocele

A rectocele occurs when the thin wall of fibrous tissue (fascia) separating the rectum from the vagina becomes weakened, allowing the front wall of the rectum to bulge into the vagina.

Cause

Childbirth and other processes that put pressure on the fascia can lead to a rectocele.

Symptoms

A small rectocele may cause no signs or symptoms. If a rectocele is large, it may create a noticeable bulge of tissue through the vaginal opening. Though this bulge may be uncomfortable, it's rarely painful.

Diagnosis

A rectocele may be diagnosed with either anorectal manometry or defacography (using barium studies to see how the rectum and anus perform during defecation).  Anorectal Manometry is conducted with a short flexible tube in the anus and rectum. This test measures the strength of the anal sphincter, and can also measure rectal sensation.  Anorectal Manometry is now offered at the Heartland Center for Motility, under the supervision of Dr. Ashok Attaluri, within Gastroenterology Consultants.  Dr. Attaluri is an expert in Motility Disorders of the gastrointestinal tract.

Treatment

When treatment of a rectocele is necessary, self-care measures and other nonsurgical options are often effective. In severe cases, you may need surgical repair.  Dr. Kishore Alapati is a specially trained colorectal surgeon, who specializes in surgery involving the colon, rectum and anal canal.