A rectocele is a bulge, or herniation, of the front wall of the rectum into the back of the vagina. Rectocele occurs as a result of thinning and weakening of the band of tissue that separates the vagina from the rectum. If it causes symptoms such as difficult bowel movements or discomfort, it needs to be repaired.
A rectocele is a bulging of the front wall of the rectum into the back of the vagina. The bulge occurs as a result of thinning and weakening of the band of tissue that separates the vagina from the rectum. This thinning has a number of causes, including:
Many women with a rectocele have no symptoms, and the condition is only seen in a pelvic examination. In general, if a rectocele isn’t causing you symptoms or discomfort, it can be left alone.
When symptoms are present, you may have:
A rectocele should be treated only if your symptoms interfere with your quality of life.
Both non-surgical and surgical options are used to treat a rectocele. You should have a thorough physical exam and talk with your provider before deciding on the best treatment.
Most symptoms of a rectocele can be kept under control without surgery. Strategies include:
If non-surgical methods do not help control rectocele symptoms, surgery may be needed. Talking with a reconstructive surgeon who specializes in pelvic floor conditions can help women decide upon the best approach. In most cases, surgery is done under general anesthesia and takes about one hour.
Risks of surgical rectocele repair include the following:
The degree of success after rectocele repair depends on a number of factors, including:
Studies show about 75% to 90% of patients have significant improvement but this level of satisfaction decreases over time.
Most symptoms of a rectocele can be kept under control without surgery. These methods include:
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/20/2021.
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