Mayo Clinic doctors diagnose your condition based on a pelvic examination, which may detect your vaginal fistula. Your doctor will take a thorough history, which often identifies risk factors such as recent pelvic surgery, an infection or pelvic radiation. You also may need diagnostic tests to help determine whether your fistula requires surgery.
Some of the diagnostic tools include:
- Dye test. In this test, the doctor fills your bladder with a dyed solution and asks you to cough and bear down so that leakage will appear in the vagina. You may also see signs of leakage on a tampon after physical exercise.
- Cytoscopy. Your doctor uses a cystoscope to inspect your vagina, ureters and bladder.
- Retrograde pyelogram. Your doctor injects dye through your bladder and into your ureters before taking an X-ray. The images can show the doctor if you have leakage between a ureter and your vagina.
- Fistulogram. An X-ray of your fistula may help your doctor detect whether you have multiple fistulas or your fistula is connecting with other organs.
- Anoscopy or flexible sigmoidoscopy. In this test, your doctor uses a sigmoidoscope to inspect your anus and rectum.
Read more about cystoscopy and flexible sigmoidoscopy at MayoClinic.com.