There are a large number of standard processes and conditions that can put strain on the vaginal wall, which refers to a small amount of tissue that's located between the vagina and the rectum.
When this wall weakens for some reason, it's possible that you could suffer from a rectocele. While a rectocele shouldn't produce many symptoms, the more severe cases can cause a variety of health problems that might require surgery to fix.
What Is a Rectocele?
A rectocele is a posterior vaginal prolapse, which occurs when the front portion of your rectum protrudes into the back portion of the vagina. In many cases, the rectocele will be minor enough that you won't experience any symptoms. It's possible for other organs like the small intestines and bladder to protrude into the vagina as well, which will cause similar symptoms as a rectocele. Because of the similarity of these symptoms, you might not be aware of which condition you're affected by until you see a doctor. If the rectocele is particularly large, it's possible that the tissue will protrude through the opening of the vagina, which can lead to some slight discomfort. Non-surgical treatments are typically enough to correct the issue. With more severe cases, surgery may be recommended.
When pressure is placed on the pelvic floor, it's possible for the vaginal wall to become weakened, which can lead to the development of a rectocele. It's common for pregnancy to cause some of this pressure because of the how the connective tissue and muscles that support your vagina become stretched during childbirth. A higher number of pregnancies increases the likelihood that you will suffer from a rectocele at some point in time. Other causes to look out for include heavy lifting, being obese, chronic bouts of coughing, and chronic constipation.
Symptoms You Could Experience
If the rectocele is small, it's likely that your symptoms will be minimal to nonexistent. A larger rectocele can result in such symptoms as difficulties with bowel movements, a bulging of tissue within your vagina, a small amount of pain and discomfort, and pressure within the rectum. This is a very common condition that doesn't even need to be treated in many cases. However, symptoms could become severe enough that leading a normal life becomes more difficult. If so, you might want to obtain an opinion from a doctor or surgeon about what you should do.
How a Rectocele Is Treated
The main goal when suffering from a rectocele is to reduce the likelihood that you will need to strain while having bowel movements or that you will suffer from constipation. Certain dietary and lifestyle changes might be all that's required to help you manage your symptoms. These changes can include drinking more water, eater a diet that has more fiber in it, and performing pelvic floor exercises. Surgery is only used when all other options have been exhausted. The surgical procedure that you're provided with can be a vaginal, abdominal, or rectal surgery.