Rectovaginal Fistula

A rectovaginal fistula is a condition in which an abnormal connection is formed between the lower portion of the large intestine, vagina, and rectum. 

It is a very distressing and embarrassing situation as the bowel contents involuntarily leak through the fistula, allowing gas or stool to abnormally pass through the vagina.

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What is Rectovaginal Fistula?


A rectovaginal fistula is a condition in which an abnormal connection is formed between the lower portion of the large intestine, vagina, and rectum. 

It is a very distressing and embarrassing situation as the bowel contents involuntarily leak through the fistula, allowing gas or stool to abnormally pass through the vagina.


What are the Causes of Rectovaginal Fistula?


Rectovaginal fistula can result because so innumerable causes including-

  • An injury during childbirth.

  • Some inflammatory bowel disease.

  • Crohn's disease

  • Cancer in the pelvic region.

  • Radiation treatment.

  • A post-surgery complication in the pelvic area.

  • Infections of rectum or anus.

  • Injury in the vaginal region.

  • Long-term inflammation of colon and rectum.

This condition leaves a physical and psychological impact due to distress; discomfort and it eventually affects the lifestyle of the patient and impacts self-esteem as well as intimacy.

While some rectovaginal fistulas heal and close on their own, most of them would need a thorough diagnosis and treatment.


What are the symptoms of Rectovaginal Fistula?


Rectovaginal fistula would differ in size on a case to case basis and additionally their placement. The major symptoms of rectovaginal fistula are very obvious-

  • Vaginal discharge that is foul-smelling.

  • Unusual passage of pus, stool, or gas from the vagina.

  • Recurrent infections of the vagina and urinary tract.

  • Pain or irritation in the region between the vagina and the anus.

  • Painful sexual intercourse.


What are the complications caused by Rectovaginal Fistula?


  • Fecal incontinence is the involuntary passage of stool.

  • Hygiene problems

  • Infections that recur in the vaginal and urinary tract.

  • Skin irritation due to uncontrolled fecal discharge.

  • A fistula can lead to an abscess, that could be life-threatening if not treated.

  • Recurrence of fistula.


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