Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey
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Rectovaginal fistula is an abnormal connection between the rectum and the vagina. Gas or stool may leak from the bowel into the vagina.
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A rectovaginal fistula is caused by an injury to this area. It may be caused by physical trauma or a medical condition.
Factors that may increase your risk of rectovaginal fistula include:
Symptoms may include:
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 bodily structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with:
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
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.
You may be given antibiotics if the area around the fistula is infected.
There are no current guidelines to prevent rectovaginal fistula.
American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Canadian Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
Women's Health Matters—Women's College Hospital
Anorectal malformations. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114926/Anorectal-malformations. Updated February 18, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.
Wheeless CR, Roenneburg ML. Rectovaginal fistula repair. Atlas of Pelvic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.atlasofpelvicsurgery.com/2VaginalandUrethra/14RectovaginalFistulaRepair/chap2sec14.html. Accessed January 9, 2018.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daus Mahnke, MD Last Updated: 12/20/2014