Living with Rectoceles: what every woman should know - Houston Colon – Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery

Living with Rectoceles: what every woman should know

April 18, 2011

Women, in particular should be interested in what is rectocele because childbirth, especially multiple births is one of its most common causes.  Rectocele takes place when the wall of tissue that separates the vagina from the rectum is compromised. This allows the anterior wall of the rectum to protrude into the vagina.  Childbirth places a great deal of pressure on the fibrous wall which results in the bulge of tissue pushing through into the vaginal opening.  Congenital defects, aging, obesity and surgeries such as a hysterectomy are contributing factors as well. Colorectal surgeons in Houston treat rectocele with either surgical or non-surgical methodologies depending upon the size of the bulge.

Rectocele treatment may not be required if the bulge of tissue is small and non-symptomatic.  If the rectocele is larger so that it is very noticeable creating only minor discomfort there are still non-surgical measures that can be taken. At its most severe, intercourse and defecation may prove difficult. Usually, surgery to repair the bulge is relegated to only the most severe cases and may be in connection with the repair of other problems within the pelvic floor.  Rectocele surgery is called a posterior colporrhaphy.

The basic non-surgical treatment centers on a program for bowel management. This consists primarily of taking in a minimum of 6-8 glasses of fluids each day along with a diet that is rich in fiber.  These measures are prescribed in order to avoid constipation and any necessity for straining during defecation.  Fiber supplements containing psyllium or hydrophilic colloid may be suggested as these will help to soften the stool.  Softeners containing docusate are another option. General laxatives are not recommended in this situation.

Self-care measures may be taken by placing pressure on the rectocele with a finger to coerce the stool to evacuate. Pressure may also be placed against the lower posterior wall of the vagina or along the rim.
It is not recommended that any object be placed in the anus to draw the stool out as this cause harm to the anal canal.

Houston colorectal surgeons address rectocele when the cause and symptoms are entirely rectal.  Gynecologists treat the cause and symptoms if they are entirely vaginal.  Seeking an opinion from either or both medical specialties is considered highly appropriate.


Houston residents who are experiencing problems with the colon or rectal areas can anticipate optimal outcomes as a result of consulting colorectal surgeons who offer a wide range of state-of-the-art diagnostic, therapeutic and surgical modalities including laparoscopy and robotic-assisted laparoscopy MIS procedures.   The Houston Colorectal Surgical Associates is a team of specialists on the leading edge of the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the colon and rectum.  Additional information is available at HoustonColon.Com.