A rectocele is a problem that many women may experience. A small rectocele will not usually require surgery or treatment. However, a more advanced rectocele may require surgical intervention.
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A rectocele is a condition in which the muscles and fascia of the vagina, can no longer hold the rectum in place. When this occurs the rectum falls to the front, pushing the back wall of the vagina with it.
A rectocele is caused by straining during childbirth, bowel movements or heavy lifting. A rectocele is divided into three grades. The first and second grades describe small rectoceles, and generally require no surgery. The third grade is the most severe, with the rectum bulging out of the vagina.
Rectocele surgery is an in-patient surgery and requires a hospital stay of at least a few days. It is most commonly performed under general anaesthesia, or can be done with regional anaesthesia (such as an epidural). The operation is usually performed through the vagina, in which synthetic mesh is put in place to reinforce the area between the vagina and the rectum.
The recovery time for this type of surgery is usually several weeks. This is due to the fact that a catheter is placed in the bladder after surgery. The catheter is removed within one to two weeks, if you are having no trouble urinating. Normal activities can be resumed, as the surgeon permits.
The surgery to repair a rectocele, is generally safe. There are risks with anaesthesia that may include nausea, vomiting, heart attack, blood clots and stroke. There is also a risk of infection, which may need to be treated with antibiotics. The rectum or vagina could be injured, although rare, and may need to be surgically repaired. Bloody discharge from the vagina is normal after surgery, but foul smelling discharge or profuse bleeding is not normal, and should be reported to your doctor.
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