A rectocele (also known as an posterior prolapse) is a hernia of the back wall of the vagina resulting in the rectum bulging into the vaginal passage. Rectocele is often measured in stages ranging from stage 1 which is a minor prolapse, to stage 4 which is complete prolapse. If you are suffering from one type of pelvic organ prolapse, the pull on your organs and connective tissues can also cause other prolapses to occur. It is very important to begin pelvic floor muscle training as soon as possible to regain the strength in your pelvic floor and lessen your rectocele symptoms.
Because a rectocele causes the rectum to slip down into the vagina, bowel function is often impacted. You may experience constipation like symptoms and often feel like the bowel has not completely emptied. Sometimes women with rectocele have to splint by pressing the rectum from inside the vagina in order to poop. Straining from constipation can increase the stage of pelvic organ prolapse so it is very important to have a diet that has sufficient fiber. This should keep your poo healthy and easy to pass. You can use the Bristol Stool Scale to check the consistence of your poo. Rectocele symptoms can also have negative impact on sexual function.
You can see the changes between a rectocele stage 0 and 1, stage 1 and 2 and stage 2 and 3 but dragging on the purple sliders on the images below.
Note: Surgery is often required when the rectocele has reached stages 3 or 4.
If you are suffering from a rectocele, it is important to keep your stool soft and to prevent straining. Rectocele and other pelvic organ prolapses are an indication that the pelvic floor is sitting lower than it should, and that the connective tissue structures within the pelvis have been stretched. By working on increasing the strength and tone of your pelvic floor muscles, combined with hypopressive style exercises that work to enhance the relationship between the diaphragm and pelvic floor, you can make a positive difference to the grade of you prolapse. Connective tissue takes longer to repair than muscle fibres, but they do respond given sufficient time.
Make sure to avoid constipation as the bearing down when constipated can stretch the tissues further causing a worsening of your prolapse. You can find many videos on our YouTube channel giving tips on preventing constipation and demonstrating pelvic floor exercises and hypopressive techniques that if practiced consistently over time, will help to lessen your symptoms and improve the grade of your pelvic organ prolapse.