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:
- 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 rectum to 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 (to rule out irritable bowel disease)
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.
You may be given antibiotics if the area around the fistula is infected.
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.
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American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons https://www.fascrs.org
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.acog.org
Canadian Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons http://cscrs.ca
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
Anorectal malformations. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114926/Anorectal-malformations . Updated June 13, 2013. Accessed December 18, 2014.
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.