Rectal Prolapse and Rectocele - What's the difference?

  • Rectal prolapse is where the walls of the rectum protrude through the anus
  • Rectocele is where the rectum protrudes into the vagina.

Rectal Prolapse

A Rectal prolapse occurs when the connective tissues within the rectal mucosa loosen and stretch, allowing the tissue to protrude through the anus. As the rectum becomes more prolapsed, ligaments and muscles may weaken until the rectum protrudes out of the body through the anus. This stage is called complete prolapse, or full-thickness rectal prolapse. Initially, the rectum may protrude and retract depending on the person's movements and activities; if the condition remains untreated it may protrude permanently.

Did you know? Women, men and children can suffer rectal prolapse.

What causes Rectal Prolapse?

  • Straining because of constipation.
  • Tissue damage due following surgery or childbirth.
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles.

What are the signs?

  • Faecal incontinence or leaking stools.
  • Leaking mucus or blood from the anus.
  • Full bowel feeling and an urgent need to go.
  • Passing many small stools.
  • A feeling of incomplete bowel emptying.
  • Anal irritation including pain, itching and bleeding.
  • Red tissue that extends out of the anus.

What can be done?

  • Avoid constipation. Simple changes can improve or reverse a partial prolapse.
  • You can push the prolapse into place - if your doctor says it is okay
  • Do Kegel exercises to help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic area.
  • Don't strain, especially while having a bowel movement.
  • Surgery

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Rectocele / Proctocele

If you have a rectocele you are more prone to developing a cystocele (bladder prolapse) you must strengthen your pelvic floor with Kegel exercises whether you have surgery or not!

When the front wall of the rectum bulges into the vagina it is known as a Rectocele or a Proctocele. This is due to weakening of the pelvic floor and thinning of the tissues separating the rectum from the vagina (rectovaginal septum).

Healthy Pelvic Floor

Healthy Pelvic Floor Diagram

Example of a Rectocele

Rectocele Prolapse Diagram


What causes a Rectocele?

  • Difficult childbirth, including prolonged deliveries and forceps deliveries.
  • Perineal tears or an episiotomy into the rectum or anal sphincter muscles.
  • Hysterectomy.
  • Constipation and straining with bowel movements.
  • Weak pelvic floor muscles.

What are the signs?

  • A lump or bulge into the vagina.
  • Painful lovemaking.
  • Constipation and the frequent urge to have a bowel movement.
  • Difficulty in defecating.

What can be done?

  • Do Kegel exercise with a Kegel8 Ultra 20 Pelvic Toner to help strengthen the muscles of the pelvic area.
  • Avoid constipation. Simple changes can improve or reverse a partial prolapse.
  • A vaginal pessary may support the pelvic organs.
  • Surgery.

Alleviate the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse & strengthen the pelvic floor in just 12 weeks, with the help of the Kegel8 Ultra 20 & Amanda Savage!

Amanda Savage is one of the UK’s leading specialist pelvic floor and women’s health physiotherapists, who has worked in the field for over 20 years offering supervised pelvic floor muscle training and support for the recovery of pelvic organ prolapses, incontinence and pelvic surgeries. With post-graduate qualifications, including a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge, she has also gained full membership of the Professional Network of Pelvic, Obstetric & Gynaecological Physiotherapy (POGP). As a Kegel8 ambassador, Amanda Savage has worked alongside us for many years in the development of our best-selling device, the Kegel8 Ultra 20 V2 Electronic Pelvic Toner, to ensure its efficacy. In addition, she has been integral to ensuring all supporting information and instructions are medically accurate so that the device is used correctly/effectively, and treatment is tailored to the specific condition of the user.

Find out more about Amanda Savage, her qualifications, experience, knowledge, and affiliations here.

Amanda Savage

Comes complete with an easy exercise plan, created by Amanda Savage, to get results in 12 weeks!

Here at Kegel8, we are all too aware of the discomfort, not to mention the anxiety, that is caused by pelvic organ prolapse. So, if you are experiencing an uncomfortable ‘dragging’ sensation, are struggling with bladder and bowel control, bowel emptying and a lack of intimate sensation, you are certainly not alone! Indeed, more common that you may realise, pelvic organ prolapse affects millions of people worldwide. And we are extremely familiar with the impact it has on both physical and emotional well-being, as well as on life in general.

It’s true that, left untreated, the symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse will simply worsen over time. However, they should by no means be accepted as an inevitability! Indeed, regular pelvic floor exercise has been proven to build muscle and tone, creating a thicker support shelf for the organs to rest on. This essentially holds them up and keeps them in place. In addition, much like any other exercise, it builds strength and tone to ensure the muscles do not tire easily and can react quickly to provide additional support during strenuous activities. This improved endurance and strength also helps with bladder and bowel control. So, by simply performing regular pelvic floor exercise, you can get your life back on track!

The included easy exercise plan was created by Amanda Savage to prevent, treat, and alleviate the associated symptoms of pelvic organ prolapse. It is proven to build muscle and tone and create a thicker support shelf for the organs to rest on, essentially holding them up and keeping them in place. In addition, this simple exercise regime will improve endurance and ensure the muscles do not tire as easily, so that they can react quickly and provide the optimum support when performing strenuous activities. This improved endurance and strength also helps with bladder and bowel control and the contractions have been shown to calm the nerves responsible for a sensitive bladder. The plan even encourages the user to practise contracting their muscles alongside the machine, which prepares them for ‘real life’ scenarios when they don’t have access to the machine.

So, why opt for an electronic pelvic floor exerciser rather than performing your Kegels independently?

It is thought that many women push downwards when performing independent pelvic floor exercises, which, rather than strengthening the muscles, can lead to further damage. In addition, it can be difficult to locate and target the correct muscles, making exercise less effective. The Kegel8 Ultra 20 V2 Electronic Pelvic Toner removes the guesswork and essentially acts as a Sat-Nav for your pelvic floor muscles, correctly targeting and stimulating a contraction within them using a small electric current. These contractions build strength and tone in a matter of weeks! With 20 clinically proven pelvic floor exercise programmes which vary in frequency, intensity and duration, the Ultra 20 is proven to treat a variety of different conditions, including pelvic organ prolapse and bladder/bowel control and emptying. And, in addition to tailored programmes, the specific 12-week exercise plans created by Amanda Savage advise exactly how the device should be used, depending upon the condition, to ensure the very best treatment.