An enterocele occurs when the tissues and muscles that hold the small bowel in place are stretched or weakened. It may develop if the muscles in a woman's vaginal canal become damaged by pregnancy, labor, childbirth, or a previous pelvic surgery or are weakened by aging. In rare cases, it can be present at birth (congenital).
An enterocele may become large or more obvious when a woman strains or bears down (for example, during a bowel movement). It may cause a heavy feeling in the vagina, constipation, or incomplete emptying of the bowel. Some women experience a pulling or aching feeling in the low back or pelvis that may be more noticeable after standing for a long time.
Exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, called Kegel exercises, may help relieve some symptoms of enterocele. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerFemi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as ofMarch 12, 2014
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise