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  • A rectocele (REK-to-sel), also called vaginal hernia, occurs when a part of the rectum bulges down into the vagina. It is often caused by weak muscles and ligaments that hold and support the vagina and rectum. This may be caused by aging, surgery, straining, pregnancy, or trauma during labor or delivery of a baby. There may be no signs or symptoms, or you may feel a bulge in your vagina that may come out through the vaginal opening. You may also have rectal pain, trouble having a bowel movement (BM), , or a feeling of fullness in your rectum.
  • Your caregiver will be able to find your rectocele by doing a physical exam. You may need other tests, such as a barium enema, colonoscopy, MRI, or ultrasound. Treatment may include a high fiber diet, biofeedback therapy, or estrogen medicine. A pessary (ring-like device) placed inside your vagina may help support your rectum. You may need surgery to repair the weak or thin muscles around your vagina and rectum. With treatment your symptoms, such as back pain and constipation, may go away.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


Estrogen medicine may increase your risk of having irregular vaginal bleeding or cancer. The use of a pessary may cause infection, discomfort, or it may fall out. There are risks when having surgery, such as infection or bleeding. If a rectocele is not treated, you may keep having pain with sex or bowel movements. A rectocele may also cause a bowel obstruction (blockage). If the rectocele pushes out of your vaginal opening, it is harder to treat, and other medical problems can develop. Ask your caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your condition, medicine, or care.


Informed consent:

A consent form is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.


You may need to rest in bed. Your caregiver will tell you when it is OK to get out of bed. Call your caregiver before getting up for the first time. If you feel weak or dizzy, sit or lie down right away.

Blood tests:

You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.


  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Estrogen medicine: If you are in menopause, your caregiver may suggest estrogen hormones. This may be taken as a pill by mouth or applied as a cream in your vagina. Estrogen helps keep your pelvic muscles strong and may prevent your rectocele from getting worse.
  • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.
  • Stool softeners: This medicine makes it easier for you to have a bowel movement. You may need this medicine to treat or prevent constipation.

Treatment options:

You may have one or more of the following:

  • Biofeedback therapy: Biofeedback uses special equipment to train you how to control and relax your pelvic muscles. Ask your caregiver for more information about biofeedback.
  • Pessary: A pessary is a plastic or rubber ring that is placed inside the vagina. This supports the bulging tissues in your vagina and rectum.
  • Surgery: You may need to have surgery to move your rectum back into place. The muscles and ligaments around your vagina may be sutured (tied up) to make them strong. A mesh patch may also be used to add support to the rectovaginal septum.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Rectocele (Inpatient Care)

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