Care After

A woman's birth canal (vagina) can become weak or stretched. This can be caused by childbirth, heavy lifting, lasting (chronic) constipation, aging, or pelvic surgery. When the vagina is weak and stretched, parts of the intestine can bulge into the vagina by pushing against the vaginal walls. A rectocele is when the very end of the large intestine (rectum) causes the bulge. An enterocele is when the small intestine causes the bulge.

Surgery to fix this problem is usually done through the vagina. If you just had this surgery, you were probably given a drug to make you sleep (general anesthetic) or a drug that numbs you from the waist down (spinal/epidural). Here is what happened:

  • The small intestine or rectum was pushed back to its normal place.

  • The vaginal wall was made stronger. Sometimes this is done with stitches or a mesh-like material.


Some women go home the same day as their surgery. Others stay in the hospital for a few days. This depends on the size and type of repair.

Pain and Medications

  • Some pain is normal after this surgery. Only take pain medicine your surgeon prescribed. Follow the directions carefully.

  • Do not take aspirin. It can cause bleeding.

  • Do not drink alcohol while taking pain medication.

  • You may be given a medicine (antibiotic) that kills germs. Follow the directions carefully.

  • Take warm sitz baths 2 times a day to control discomfort and reduce any swelling. Take sitz baths with your caregiver's permission.


  • Go back to your normal eating as directed by your caregiver.

  • Drink a lot of fluids. Drink at least 6 glasses of water every day.


  • Move around and walk as much as possible. This can keep blood clots from forming in your legs.

  • Do not climb stairs until your caregiver says it is okay.

  • Do not lift objects 5 pounds (2.3 kg) or heavier. Do not bend or strain for 6 to 8 weeks.

  • Do not drive until after you stop taking pain medicine and your caregiver says it is okay.

  • Your return to work will depend on the type of work you do. Ask your caregiver what is best for you.

  • Ask your caregiver when you can resume sexual activity. Most women can start having sex in about 6 weeks after their surgery.

  • Get plenty of rest during the day and sleep at night.

  • Have someone help you with your household chores and activities for 3 to 4 weeks.

Other Precautions

  • You may have some discharge from the vagina for a few weeks after the surgery. It may have small amounts of blood in it. This is normal. If you have questions, ask your caregiver.

  • Do not use tampons or douche.

  • You should be able to take a shower a day after your surgery. Do not take a tub bath for at least a week.

  • Take it easy for awhile. You should feel much better in 2 to 3 weeks. It may take up to 6 weeks to feel completely normal.

  • Keep all follow-up appointments.

  • Take your temperature twice a day and write it down.

  • Make sure your family understands everything about your surgery and recovery.


  • You have any questions about your medication, or you need stronger pain medication.

  • Pain continues, even after taking pain medication.

  • You become constipated.

  • You have an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C).

  • You develop swelling and redness in the surgery area.

  • You become dizzy or lightheaded.

  • You feel sick to your stomach (nauseous), throw up (vomit), or have diarrhea.

  • You develop a rash.

  • You have a reaction to your medications.


  • Pain gets worse.

  • You have new bleeding from your vagina.

  • Discharge from the vagina becomes heavy, or it has a bad smell.

  • You have an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

  • You develop belly (abdominal) pain.

  • You develop chest pain.

  • You develop shortness of breath.

  • You pass out (faint).

  • You develop pain, swelling, or redness in the leg.

  • You have pain or burning with urination.

  • You have bloody urine or cannot urinate.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.