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Rectovaginal Fistula

Definition

Rectovaginal fistula is an abnormal connection between the rectum and the vagina. Gas or stool may leak from the bowel into the vagina.
Healthy Wall Between Vagina and Rectum
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Causes

A rectovaginal fistula is caused by an injury to this area. It may be caused by physical trauma or a medical condition.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your risk of rectovaginal fistula include:

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may need to see a colon and rectal surgeon.
Your body structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with:

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include the following:

Rectovaginal Fistula Repair Surgery

Surgery is usually needed. It is done to close the opening between the rectum and vagina. Tissue may be taken from another part of the body as a graft. This tissue will help to close the fistula.

Medications

You may be given antibiotics if the area around the fistula is infected.

Prevention

There are no current guidelines to prevent rectovaginal fistula.

RESOURCES

American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons https://www.fascrs.org

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons http://cscrs.ca

Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca

References

Wheeless CR, Roenneburg ML. Rectovaginal fistula repair. Atlas of Pelvic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.atlasofpelvicsurgery.com/2VaginalandUrethra/14RectovaginalFistulaRepair/chap2sec14.html. Accessed February 2, 2010.

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