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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Rectocele
      Category : Health Centers > Digestive System


Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

Rectocele is a condition in which part of the rectum protrudes or bulges into the back wall of the vagina.

What is going on in the body?

The rectum lies just behind the vagina in a female. Between the rectum and vagina is a wall made of tissues and muscles that support the rectum and vagina. When a woman has a rectocele, the wall supporting the rectum is weaker than usual. This weakening allows part of the rectum to protrude into the vagina. As the rectum becomes stretched, it bulges into the vagina. The woman may experience difficulty passing stool.

What are the causes and risks of the disease?

Rectocele results from a weakening or stretching of the tissues supporting the rectum. The causes of this weakening include:

  • muscles and tissues being stretched during childbirth
  • heavy lifting that causes stress on the muscles surrounding the vagina and rectum
  • chronic constipation or repeated straining during bowel movements
  • obesity
  • excessive coughing, such as from lung disease
  • menopause. Estrogen helps keep the muscles around the vagina strong. During menopause, estrogen levels decrease.
  • normal aging, which can cause the muscles become weaker


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    Rectocele: Symptoms & Signs

    Author: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Reviewer: Barbara Mallari, RN, BSN, PHN
    Date Reviewed: 07/13/01

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