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What is splinting for rectoceleWhat is splinting?

A rectocele occurs when the wall between the rectum and vagina weakens, allowing a bulge to form into the vagina. Some women with rectoceles experience constipation due to difficulty pushing stool past the bulge. Straining during a bowel movement worsens the bulge, so “splinting” becomes necessary to help the stool pass. Splinting means inserting one’s fingers into the vagina to push the bulge in and assist the stool in passing through the rectum. Though splinting alleviates the constipation temporarily, HysterSisters say that it is an unpleasant process that has a significant negative impact on a woman’s quality of life.

An alternative to splinting for some women is using a pessary. A pessary is a plastic device inserted into the vagina to support the vaginal wall. However, depending on the location and severity of the rectocele, a pessary may or may not help with a woman’s difficult bowel movements. Plus, pessaries must be fitted by a doctor and removed monthly for cleaning and reinsertion. They are generally not a sufficient permanent fix, and most women eventually opt for repair surgery when their rectoceles become severe and splinting is a daily issue.

In the meantime, if you are having to splint regularly to have a bowel movement, you can work on reducing straining by taking steps to keep your stool soft and regular by increasing fiber in your diet, staying well hydrated, and taking stool softeners as necessary.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

08-29-2011 - 12:47 AM


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