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Rectocele - how bad is bad? Rectocele - how bad is bad?

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Unread 05-04-2007, 11:00 AM
Rectocele - how bad is bad?

The internet can be both wonderful and horrible at the same time! I'm thankful for this site, because real women with real issues are here to share their experiences.

My 6 week post-op from my hyster is next Thursday. I'm trying to come up with a list of questions for about my rectocele. He's already said he wants to wait three months to see if this corrects itself before we talk further. I've learned from this forum to ask lots of questions, and I'm certain I'll ask for a referral to a urogyn if it comes to that.

Some of you are experiencing a great deal of pelvic and back pain and other symptoms. I am fortunate in that I'm not having any pain...sometimes just a "pulling" or pressure, and a burning sensation where my incisions were, but Motrin takes care of it when needed. I'm back to doing 30 minutes of aerobics, and can do that without any pain. The only thing I'm experiencing is the need to splint to completely evacuate, and all that takes is a little pressure from one finger against the back wall of the vagina.

I know that everyone is different, and our ability to deal with certain physical problems is an individual matter, but I'm wondering, "How bad is bad?". From everything I've read, I would be very hesitant to undergo any further surgery. But, I also can't imagine splinting for months on end, consuming all the fiber I'm having to eat, and suffering from the gas and bloating that accompanies that.

You know what bothers me the most about this? It's being able to see the wall of my vagina prolapsed, and seeing that little pink bulge right at the entrance. Of course, it doesn't extend down so far that it's outside the vulva, but it is at the opening. I have experienced a little irritation of the skin of the vulva, and all I can figure is that it's from it rubbing. Another thing I've noticed, is that sometimes there feels like there's "air" coming from the vagina, sort of the same way gas feels when it's expelled from the bowel.

Anyone else have a rectocele that causes you to be able to see the bulge in the vagina?

One other thing to consider will be after we are released to have sex...and how that goes.

There is a lot to think about (and read) before I would make the decision to go through a repair. I'm almost afraid that it would make it worse than what I'm living with now.

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Unread 05-04-2007, 12:44 PM
Rectocele - how bad is bad?

Hi Mona,
I'm also wondering when a rectocele is considered severe enough to require surgery. My gyn told me that unless I HAD to splint to have a bowel movement then surgery was unnecessary. I can occasionally also see mine bulging from the back wall of the vagina, and when I am more active it's more noticeable. The only real problem I'm having is the low grade back pain.
I'll be watching this thread to see replies from all the "been there done that" sisters
Unread 05-04-2007, 05:50 PM
Rectocele - how bad is bad?


So, your says unless you have to splint, surgery is unnecessary? I don't have to most of the time, but sometimes I do in order to completely "finish".

Hoping we get some information from others that have been through the period we're in right now. When do you see your doctor for the final time before you're actually released?

I wonder if any damage will occur to the bulging tissue if it stays that way long term? To me, it would seem there would be a higher incidence of vaginal infections (yeast and otherwise). I'm really careful to wipe front to back and always use some sort of wipe after BMs. With me returning to work on Monday, that will be more difficult, but I guess I'll figure out something.

to you. Hope you have a good weekend!
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Unread 05-04-2007, 06:27 PM
Rectocele - how bad is bad?

That's what my dr. said, but as much as I like her and feel that she did a great job with my hyst, I also feel that maybe I would be better off dealing with a dr. that specializes in pelvic floor disorders. I don't think we can truly know how mild/moderate/severe the prolapse is without appropriate testing. She just had me lie on my back and bear down which I'm sure is not anywhere close to how bad it is when I'm sitting or standing. My gyn is great with more "normal" reproductive issues and delivering babies, but this is one area where I want an expert involved.
I know what you mean about the possiblity that the bulge could be a problem where cleanliness, etc. is concerned. I noticed a spot on mine where it seemed to be irritated from friction as well. I am also careful with wiping and have gone so far as to buy wipes just to be sure I get really clean. I think Anne said it best about how splinting was degrading to her. That's exactly how I've felt the few times I've done it to completely evacuate.
I am lucky that I'm able to stay at home with my kids til they start school. I'm not having to deal with the whole return to work issue.
I hope we get a few more responses on this thread- would love to hear other people's
Take care Mona
Unread 05-04-2007, 06:34 PM
Rectocele - how bad is bad?

Dawn, it's sort of eerie 'cause our situations are so similar! My pretty much did the same thing! I'm going to talk to him next week about whether or not he would refer me to a urogyn if this doesn't self-correct. I don't need the referral for insurance purposes...I can find one on my own, but I'd like to know who he recommends.

Take care...and keep me updated if anything changes. So glad for you that you don't have to go back out into the workplace right now. I'm having a hard time dealing with that emotionally...
Unread 05-04-2007, 08:10 PM
Rectocele - how bad is bad?

Mona, looking at my second prolapse absolutely freaked me out. It looked like a penis staring back at me when I looked with a hand mirror. I hadn't called my Gyn about it because I had already had so many complications that I felt like an idiot telling him there was a "penis like" bunch of tissue hanging from my vagina. I was only about 2 weeks post-op when this happened and when I went to visit my co-workers at the Pediatric office I work for I told my favorite Nurse Practitioner about it. She was wonderful and volunteered to look at it. She took one look and said you had better call that Dr right now, that's not right!! I called and I was in his office in 1 hour with another grade 3 rectocele and grade 2 cystocele.
I had to wait 9 months for the second surgery. I have to say that once I was healed from the first surgery and cleared for sex it was very comfortable even with the prolapsed tissue. Maybe because I had been living with a rectocele so long before the first surgery that sex felt the same to me with the rectocele back again.
I did use a pessary from about 4 months post-op until the second surgery only because the cystocele symptoms bothered me more than the rectocele did.
Remember that this rectocele is only protruding vaginal tissue, the rectum that's bulging into the vagina is still covered by vaginal tissue that's just thinner. A rectocele is a vaginal hernia, it's not life threatening just very inconvenient and uncomfortable.
Unread 05-05-2007, 08:04 PM
Rectocele - how bad is bad?

It is a truly upsetting experience to see our private parts where they are not supposed to be. I have never spent so much time with a mirror. I kept thinking I would look one more time and it would be back to normal.

I had to splint every time after hyst to have a BM. I tried to tell myself for months that it was no big deal....just could not quite buy it!

My Dr did not think it was bad at all (he never did an exam standing up and it would kind of look better laying down). He finally did a rectal exam and announced there was NO muscle left between my colon and vaginal wall. Still, he acted like it was no big deal. After surgery he did tell me it was an extensive repair and my PT the other day got the surgical notes and says it is a total wonder that the whole thing did not just fall right out! I am glad to know my instincts were right and it was not just some minor inconvenience.

However, it is a major and possibly very painful operation with a major commitment to lifting restrictions. Lots to research and think about. I have had a rough 12 weeks but I am very glad I went for it. I got really lucky tho and did not have any bladder complications. I might feel differently if I had!
Unread 05-07-2007, 09:47 AM
same ?s

Wistful, I've had a thread and am responding to a couple threads along this same line. In fact, many of the sisters here are on the others. Hi All. I can feel a bulge near the end of the vagina and sometimes more between the rectum and vagina, but havn't seen anything coming out. I've also been experiencing a kind of irritated feeling just on the edge of my vagina which I assume is because tissue that's normally inside and protected is now outside. My Dr. couldn't feel any bulge INSIDE my vagina but diagnosed the rectocele when she felt it rectally. Mine too only did the exam while I was laying down. I didn't ask her to do it standing, although I knew to, but would have if she'd not found anything on the rectal exam.

I've been asking the same sorts of things. When is bad enough? Timing; sooner or later repair? How to splint? Etc... Mine is also definitely associated with a pulling problem I'm having at an old hernia repair site. When recto. is bad, pulling is bad; when recto. not bothering me, pulling is more background level. Does the association with the pulling mean I should get it fixed sooner? Does the feeling of BM with sex mean so too? I don't have to splint everytime, just occasionally. And don't have the bulging feeling all the time. In some ways it's easier when you're like Kathie & Anne; then it's obvious.

I'm going for a CATscan today just because I mentioned it to my regular Dr. when I saw him to update him on all this. Unfortunately (sort of) I don't seem to be experiencing the symptoms today, or very mildly so. Over the weekend, my DH and I finally took the big sex plunge. It went well for the most part. The only problem was at the end. I could feel him rubbing/bumping against the rectocele and felt like I had to BM. That pretty much killed MY O. Afterwards, when I tried to BM, there was nothing. Since then, though, I've NOT felt the rectocele in my vagina. I've even had a couple BMs and no change. I don't know if this means the rectocele got pushed back into place (for the moment) or what. I said unfortunately earlier, because I'd rather be experiencing something going on when they're doing the CAT. Will they find anything if I'm not having symptoms?

I will say that having read those in post-op for it. I think I'll try to put off the repair for as long as possible. Although, would doing it sooner mean there's less damage to surrounding tissue and therefore an easier repair?

ARGH! All the ?s and no real answers. It is nice to have a place to exchange info and vent!!!

Keep em soft, no wt. lifting & NO . LJC
Unread 05-17-2007, 07:58 AM
Question - Rectocele - how bad is bad? New ?s on an older but still relevant thread

It's been a couple weeks since I or others have replied to this thread. I'd like to revive it, now that I found it again, because I think it's still pertinent to those of us with NEWer rectoceles. I'm still trying to figure out at what point do I get this fixed? What level of tests do I ask for to confirm it? I think some of the other rectocele threads are getting a bit muddled with those of us still questioning the severity of our rectocele or what to do, with those who have obvious severe/recurring rectoceles. I very much treasure those who have gone before me or have had more extensive issues for their knowledge and sage advice, but would like to revive contact with those of us who are newer to this whole issue (Howvey, Wistful).

I got my official CTscan results back yesterday. They came back "normal", in that there are no abscesses, hemetomas, no hernia, and no uterus (no duh). Nothing mentioned at all about the rectocele. I'm since finding out that the normal string of tests (US, MRI, CTscan) don't do well at showing the pelvic floor failure issues. So now I'm debating at what point do I mention, ask for a defacograph? It sounds, as one sister put it, very diginity challenging and not fun, so I don't think I'll bring it up any time soon; but, do wonder if it's the way to go? Kathiem: I've seen you on the other posts too, but don't remember; Did they ever do a defacograph on you? If yes, did it also show only a minor problem that then turned out major?

Here's what I'm considering and would like more input on. My Gyn & I KNOW there is a rectocele there. Still working on how extensive or severe. I KNOW we're moving summer '08 and there's a good possibility my DH will get deployed at that time, so timing WILL be an issue on any repairs. I would rather have plenty of time to heal before a move AND/OR have my DH around (and not in harms way) if I do have surgery. I keep thinking that if it's going to need repairing at any point in the future, wouldn't it be BETTER to do it before it gets severe and causes other pelvic floor issues or other failures? Yes, it's a major surgery; but, why wait until the rectocele has caused other problems and made the whole thing an even MORE extensive surgery? Depending on how things go when I FINALLY go back to work will probably help decide a lot of this. What I'm debating about is possibly trying to aim/push for surgery this upcoming fall, if needed. That would give me 6mo recovery from the hyster AND allow me almost 9mo recovery from the (hypothetical) rectocele repair surgery before we move in the summer.

I'd love to hear back from anyone with input, but am also trying to reconnect with those of us who've recently had the rectocele issue come up post-hyster. Mona & Dawn, have you two learned anything more since we all last posted here?

Thanks, LJC
Unread 05-17-2007, 12:12 PM
Rectocele - how bad is bad?

Morning everyone,
This is very interesting to read all about your experinces about this. I am seeing a specialist at the end of the month. The regular gyn sent me there... because she feels I have a prolasped bladder. But I feel other problems. I orginally went to the Dr. because sex was getting so uncomfortable. Everytime we have sex, I feel like I am going to have a bm. When I mentioned this to the regular gyn, she said for me to change postions. Me being on top. I was like what?? I just had knee surgery a couple of months ago, that is kinda diffcult.
Then it is something I have to live with??? What is normal and not??? I guess when I go to the drs, I need a list of questions for me. Because I want to have good sex again. I want not to have back aches all the time. Trying to get a complete bm all the time. What is normal and what is not. Seems to me that is each dr is going to be different and give you different opinions.
Just wanted to dump today. I had sex last night, after a few weeks of not having it because of the discomfort and husband going I WANT SEX!!! It was just not the same. Pressure etc.
Anyways, I found a wealth of info here.
Thanks all for posting your info.

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