A vaginal fistula is an abnormal opening that connects your vagina to another organ, such as your bladder or rectum. Your doctor might describe the condition as a hole in your vagina that allows stool or urine to pass through your vagina.
Your fistula may have developed as a result of an injury, a surgery, an infection or radiation treatment. For example, a fistula can make its appearance a month, a year or many years after radiation therapy. You might suddenly become incontinent after pelvic surgery. More than half of vaginal fistulas occur after hysterectomies. If you have Crohn's disease, you may develop a fistula between your rectum and vagina.
There are six types of vaginal fistulas. Your Mayo Clinic doctor will recommend a treatment that fits the type you have.
- Vesicovaginal fistula. Also called a bladder fistula, this opening between your vagina and urinary bladder is the type that doctors see most often.
- Ureterovaginal fistula. When the abnormal opening connects your vagina and the ducts that carry urine from your kidneys to your bladder (distal ureters), your doctor will explain treatment options for a ureterovaginal fistula.
- Urethrovaginal fistula. In this type, also called a urethral fistula, the opening is between your vagina and the tube that carries urine out of your body (urethra).
- Rectovaginal fistula. In this type, also known as a rectal fistula, the opening is between your vagina and the opening (anus) where your feces are expelled.
- Colovaginal fistula. In this type, the opening is between the vagina and large intestine.
- Enterovaginal fistula. In this type, the opening is between the small intestine and the vagina.
Read more about rectovaginal fistulas at MayoClinic.com.