A rectocele occurs when the end of the large intestine (rectum) pushes against and moves the back wall of the vagina. Rectoceles develop if the lower pelvic muscles become damaged by labor, childbirth, or a previous pelvic surgery or when the muscles are weakened by aging. A rectocele can be present at birth, though this is rare.

A rectocele may become large or more obvious when you strain or bear down (for example, during a bowel movement). Surgical repair of rectoceles is used to manage symptoms such as movement of the intestine that pushes against the wall of the vagina, low back pain, and painful intercourse.

Most women with a rectocele do not require surgery. The majority of symptoms can be improved and controlled with appropriate dietary modifications and the addition of a fiber supplement on a regular basis.