What is a Rectocele?

Normal anatomy and a rectocele

A rectocele is a type of pelvic organ prolapse. It happens when the supporting ligaments and muscles weaken in the pelvic floor. Other names for a rectocele are a posterior vaginal wall prolapse or proctocele.

Childbirth, age, and a range of other factors can cause the normally tough, fibrous, sheet-like divider between the rectum and vagina to weaken.

A bulge may protrude as a hernia into the back of the vagina during a time of straining, such as a bowel movement.

A rectocele can lead to constipation and discomfort, but if it is small, there may be no symptoms.

Most people can treat a rectocele at home, but a severe case may need surgery.

The following tips can help prevent a rectocele from developing, and — if a rectocele is already present — stop symptoms from getting worse.

  • Pelvic floor exercises, such as Kegel exercises, can strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Drinking plenty of fluids and eating high-fiber foods can reduce constipation.
  • Avoiding any type of heavy lifting can also prevent a worsening of symptoms.
  • Getting treatment for prolonged coughing can reduce strain on the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Losing weight may be advisable if a person has obesity or excess weight.
  • Straining for a long time when defecating can make the problem worse. Avoiding constipation can help prevent this.

The doctor may prescribe:

stool softeners to ease constipation
hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for use after menopause.
a vaginal pessary — a plastic or rubber round disk inserted into the vagina — to support the protruding tissues

there are interventions for different kinds of pelvic organ prolapse include:

  • sacral colpopexy
  • sacrospinous colpopexy
  • uterosacral colpopexy

The surgeon can remove the stretched or damaged tissue. Sometimes they may use a mesh inlay to reinforce the wall between the vagina and the rectum.

The technique can vary from open surgery to a minimally invasive procedure. In some cases, a surgeon will repair the damaged tissue, usually through an incision in the vagina.

The gynecologist will discuss the options with the patient, and the choice is likely to depend on the extent of prolapse, and the individual’s situation, including age, general health and whether or not they want to have more children.

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Pelvic Floor Disorder: 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor Muscles

You’ll go through many different health situations in your life that aren’t taught in your everyday health class.

Many people suffer from dysfunctions and disorders without ever knowing it. They go through their daily lives with complications that they don’t realize is an actual health issue.

Such is the way with people that suffer from pelvic floor disorder. They struggle to have bowel movements or are constantly needing to urinate but don’t realize that it isn’t normal.

If you’ve seen the signs of having weak pelvic floor muscles, it’s time to find different ways to strengthen them. See below for different things you can consider.

1. Kegels Exercise

Kegels is the term for when you’re purposely training your pelvic muscles to improve their strength and function.

There are several signs that you can benefit from Kegels, such as leaking a bit of urine after you cough or sneeze. If so, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You don’t have to go through life dealing with it after improving your pelvic floor muscles.

Before you perform Kegels, you’ll need a bit of homework. The next time you’re urinating, stop in the middle of urination so that you can see which muscles you’re using.

After knowing that, Kegels is as easy as contracting the pelvic floor muscles for 4 seconds, then releasing them for 4 seconds before going again.

You will want to do these exercises in the form of 10 repetitions, and perform them 3 times a day (spread out).

To get a better idea of your pelvic floor and how to improve it, reach out to a trusted urogynecologist for advice.

2. Drink More Water

It’s highly unlikely that you’re drinking enough water to keep yourself hydrated. That’s more of a task than most people are led to believe.

Modern science shows that you should be drinking a half a gallon of water each day in order to stay hydrated. However, if you’re working out or have a strenuous job, you need to be taking much more of that. 

Some experts advise that you drink a gallon of water a day in order to prioritize drinking even when you’re not thirsty. That is a challenge for most people.

There are people reading this that are probably thinking “won’t drinking more water complicate my symptoms?”. No, just the opposite.

If you aren’t drinking enough water then you have a high amount of concentrated urine sitting in your bladder. That means solutions such as sodium, chloride, and potassium will be in high amounts and will irritate your bladder.

3. Squats

Squats are an instrumental piece to your exercise routine. The term “don’t skip leg day” exists for a reason. To not perform them is cutting your body of an all-encompassing exercise.

More importantly, it’s one of the “big three lifts” because it’s that important to building muscle strength.

Not only will squats improve the strength and function of your pelvic floor, but it will also do the same for the surrounding muscles, giving it more support.

Try to perform body squats with a barbell and add weight as necessary. Even if you can’t lift more weight than the bar itself, you’ll still get a good amount of resistance.

Perform 3 sets of these with 15 repetitions each time. Make sure that you keep your back straight and your chin tucked.

4. Alter Your Diet

While the pelvic floor disorder is an occurrence that your body is undergoing, there are items in your daily diet that are probably worsening your condition.

Things such as alcohol, caffeine, and sodas are known to provide a heavy spike in the amount of acidity in your urine. You might also have chocolate or hot (spicy) food that is the main antagonizer of your condition.

Try to incorporate more greens into your diet each day. Things such as beans, spinach, cabbage, romaine lettuce, kale, and collard greens should do the trick.

Of course, because you’re not a rabbit, you might want to make your diet additions a bit more exciting and tasty than leafy greens. If so, try adding more fruits and mixing in more rice to your diet.

The main goal is to intake more fiber than you were previously. Fiber helps with digestion and will provide a healthier solution of urine that’s waiting to be relieved of in your bladder.

5. Bridges

Last on this list is an exercise that is often overlooked in modern workout plans. Glute bridges are exceptional for strengthening your hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and (you guessed it!), your pelvic floor.

You can perform these without any weight and still get the benefit of a strenuous workout that will strengthen your muscles.

The main key here is to focus on lowering your hips slowly on the way down for more resistance. Concentrate on your breathing and squeeze your glutes at the top of the exercise motion. That will help every muscle to engage.

Perform 3 sets of this during your workout routine and knock out 15 repetitions for each set. 

Solve Your Pelvic Floor Disorder With the Help of an Expert!

Now that you’ve seen all the different ways you can start to strengthen and improve your pelvic floor disorder, it’s time to integrate those into your routine.

More importantly, seek out the help you need from a professional urogynecologist who can improve and solve your pelvic health issues.

Be sure to visit this page of frequently asked questions for more information on the process and what to expect.

For more information, please reach out via our contact us page and we’ll be happy to assist you further.