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Women's Health

Bowel Movement From the Vagina

12/08/2010

Question:

I take care of a disabled girl age 15. Today when I was changing her bm brief I had turned her on her side to make sure I got all of the bm off her and she started having a bm out of her vagina. What could cause this and should she seek medical attention right away. Thank you for reading this and hope to hear from you soon.

Answer:

For gas or fecal material to come out of the vagina, there would have to be a communication between the rectum and the vagina.  This is called a rectovaginal fistula. Fistulas can occur due to a number of reasons including trauma (including difficult childbirth), cancer, radiation, obstruction, or certain inflammatory diseases like Crohn's disease.  Fistulas can be repaired with surgery once the underlying problem that caused it is treated.

Depending on the patient's habitus and level of hygiene, it might be possible to confuse stool that has been pushed into the vagina from outside with stool that is actually coming from the vagina.  But if a fistula is suspected, it would be very important for her to be seen right away to make a diagnosis and plan treatment.

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Response by:

Jonathan  A Schaffir, MD Jonathan A Schaffir, MD
Clnical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University