Things To know About Rectocele And The Benefits Of Physiotherapy
A rectocele is a disease that arises when the end of the large intestine (the rectum) pushes the back wall of the vagina to move it. This often occurs as a consequence of weak muscles during old age and also from damage to the lower pelvic muscle during childbirth or previous pelvic surgery.
Symptoms Of A Rectocele
If the rectocele is small, the patient may not even notice it, as there is no pain or evident symptoms involved at the initial stage. However, based on the most common experiences, here are some of the symptoms –
- Pressure within the vagina wall
- Mild pain and discomfort during discharge of bodily waste.
- Often women describe the condition as if “something is falling out/down”
- Vaginal bleeding.
Here, it is important to note that many females are affected with rectoceles but only a few may feel any of the symptoms.
How Is It Diagnosed?
Doctors can usually diagnose a rectocele after examining the vagina and rectum. However, this does not help them in determining the intensity of the problem in hand. Physical examination of this problem is done throughMRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan or a defecogram (type of X-ray). Imaging tests are also often used. They help in estimating the size of the rectocele and how well the patient is emptying her rectum.
How Physiotherapy Can Help
Generally, rectocele is a condition that can be treated without any surgery. Primarily, physiotherapy is used to treat patients at their initial stages where no medical treatment is required. Through Kegel exercises (pelvic exercises) the tissues around the vagina are tightened. This helps in preventing the rectocele from worsening. Exercises to reduce weight are also prescribed for patients who are overweight or obese. Physiotherapists also suggest a diet that should be followed to recover faster. Usually, this diet is a fluid and fiber based diet that mainly aims to avoid constipation.
Earlier, doctors conducted a procedure called episiotomy, which involved cutting the skin between the vagina and the rectum to enlarge the opening. This helped in preventing women from developing a rectocele later in life.
Now, however, there is some evidence that rectoceles may develop near healed episiotomies. Thus, episiotomy is no longer performed for every vaginal delivery. In fact, most doctors and midwives go to great lengths to avoid doing the procedure unless absolutely necessary.
Hence, the only preventive action taken against this disease today is educating pregnant patients and exercises.
For more information and help on rectocele, contact our physiotherapy experts.