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What is a rectovaginal fistula?

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Quick Answer

A rectovaginal fistula is a female disorder where there is an abnormal vagina-rectum connection, according to Mayo Clinic. This may cause the bowel contents to leak into the fistula, leading to the passage of stool or gas via the vagina.

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Full Answer

A rectovaginal fistula is commonly caused by injuries sustained during child delivery, explains Mayo Clinic. These injuries may result from factors such as prolonged labour, which results in the tearing of the perineum. The tearing runs into the bowel, causing rectovaginal fistula. The tearing of an episiotomy during delivery may also cause injury. Other causes of rectovaginal fistula include Crohn's disease, pelvic cancer and vaginal, anal or rectal surgery.

The symptoms of rectovaginal fistula include stool, pus or gas emission through the vagina, smelly vaginal discharge, painful vulva and pain during coitus, claims Mayo Clinic. Aside from physical complications, rectovaginal fistula may also be accompanied with emotional stress. An individual who experiences these symptoms should immediately seek medical care to prevent any underlying serious conditions such as cancer.

The treatments of rectovaginal fistula depends on its size, etiology and location, notes National Institute of Health. Based on these factors, a doctor can recommend a suitable treatment plan for a rectovaginal fistula patient which includes medical therapy, fistula litigation, plug and tissue interposition.

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