Rectocele: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Normal female anatomy and rectocele

A rectocele occurs when the wall between the vagina and the rectum weakens. This causes the rectum to press against the vagina. Pregnancy or past surgery can damage muscles or other tissues in the pelvis. Also, pelvic muscles may weaken as you age.

A rectocele may not cause symptoms. Or, you may notice a bulge in your vagina when you strain or bear down during a bowel movement. You may feel pressure, have pain during sex, or have trouble passing stool.

A rectocele usually does not cause serious health problems. If your symptoms get worse, you may want to talk with your doctor about surgery to return the rectum to its normal position.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Avoid heavy lifting. It puts pressure on your pelvic muscles.
  • Do pelvic floor (Kegel) exercises, which tighten and strengthen pelvic muscles. To do Kegel exercises:
    • Squeeze the same muscles you would use to stop your urine. Your belly and thighs should not move.
    • Hold the squeeze for 3 seconds, then relax for 3 seconds.
    • Start with 3 seconds. Then add 1 second each week until you are able to squeeze for 10 seconds.
    • Repeat the exercise 10 to 15 times for each session. Do three or more sessions each day.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Do not take two or more pain medicines at the same time unless the doctor told you to. Many pain medicines have acetaminophen, which is Tylenol. Too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be harmful.
  • To ease pressure on your rectum and vagina, lie down and raise your legs by putting a pillow under your knees. You also can lie on your side and bring your knees up to your chest.
  • Avoid constipation.
    • Include fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains in your diet each day. These foods are high in fibre.
    • Drink plenty of fluids, enough so that your urine is light yellow or clear like water. If you have kidney, heart, or liver disease and have to limit fluids, talk with your doctor before you increase the amount of fluids you drink.
    • Get some exercise every day. Build up slowly to at least 2½ hours of exercise a week.
    • Take a fibre supplement, such as Benefibre or Metamucil, every day if needed. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • Schedule time each day for a bowel movement. Having a daily routine may help. Take your time and do not strain when having your bowel movement.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You feel something bulge outside of your vagina.
  • You cannot control your urine or stool.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your symptoms keep you from your daily activities.
  • You have pain during sex.
  • You have pain in your lower back or belly.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: August 9, 2016