The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. You may need to see a colon and rectal surgeon.
Images of the area may need to be taken. This can be done with:
- Anorectal ultrasound—a small wand-like instrument provides a video image of the rectum and anus
- Methylene enema—a tampon is placed in the vagina and methylene blue is placed into the rectum to identify movement of fluid from the rectum to the vagina
- Contrast studies— barium enema may be used to view a rectovaginal fistula that cannot be seen on physical exam
- Endoscopy—a thin, lighted tube is inserted into the rectum to examine the rectum and the lower colon
The goal of treatment is to repair the connection. Options are:
You may be given antibiotics if the area around the fistula is infected.
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.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
Copyright © EBSCO Information Services
All rights reserved.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists https://www.acog.org
American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons https://www.fascrs.org
Canadian Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons http://cscrs.ca
Women's Health Matters—Women's College Hospital http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
Anorectal malformations. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/anorectal-malformations. Accessed August 20, 2021.
Rectovaginal fistula repair. Atlas of Pelvic Surgery website. Available at: http://www.atlasofpelvicsurgery.com/2VaginalandUrethra/14RectovaginalFistulaRepair/chap2sec14.html. Accessed August 20, 2021.