A rectovaginal fistula is a medical condition where there is a fistula or abnormal connection between the rectum and the vagina. Passage of gas, stool or pus from the vagina. Foul-smelling vaginal discharge. Recurrent vaginal or urinary tract infections. Irritation or pain in the vulva, vagina and the area between the vagina and anus (perineum) Pain during sexual intercourse.
After diagnosing rectovaginal fistula, it is best to wait for around 3 months to allow the inflammation to subside. For low fistulae, a vaginal approach is best, while an abdominal repair would be necessary for a high fistula at the posterior fornix. A circular incision is made around the fistula and vagina is separated from the underlying rectum with a sharp circumferential dissection. The entire fistulous tract, along with a small rim of rectal mucosa is incised. The rectal wall is then closed extramucosally.
The majority of classification schemes use etiology, location and size as criteria to classify rectovaginal fistulas as simple or complex. Ascheme based on the underlying cause of the fistula is the most useful classificationfor the physician, as it takes into consideration integrity of the local tissue and the health of the patient. Another possibility is based on location, classifying fistulas as being in the low, mid, or high region of the rectum.