Annals of African Medicine
Home About AAM Editorial board Ahead of print Current Issue Archives Instructions Subscribe Contact us Search Login 

Year : 2009  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 59-60 Table of Contents     

Rectovaginal fistula following sexual intercourse: A case report

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Nigeria
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Federal Medical Centre, Yola, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication19-Sep-2009

Correspondence Address:
M A Ijaiya
Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Maternity Hospital Wing, P. M. B. 1339, Ilorin
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.55767

Rights and Permissions

Female genital fistula is an important feature of the developing countries gynecology. Most of the rectovaginal fistulae encountered in the tropics are due to obstetrics causes and genital malignancies. In developed countries, radiation injury and Crohn's disease are also common etiological factors. The index case is reported to highlight the rare situation, where a 24-year old married nullipara sustained low rectovaginal fistula following normal coitus. She was later divorced by her husband.

   Abstract in French 

La fistule de l'organe génital de la femme est un important trait de la gynécologie des pays en développement. La plupart des fistules rectovaginales des régions tropicales sont dûes à des effets obstétriques et des malignités génitales. Dans les pays développés, les blessures dûes aux radiations et à la maladie de Crohn sont aussi des facteurs étiologiques fréquents. Le cas servant de repère est celui concernant la rare situation où une femme mariée nullipare de 24 ans a pu supporter une faible fistule rectovaginale après un coit normal. Son maria a à cet effet divorcé d'elle.

Keywords: Coitus, vaginal injury, rectovaginal fistula

How to cite this article:
Ijaiya M A, Mai A M, Aboyeji A P, Kumanda V, Abiodun M O, Raji H O. Rectovaginal fistula following sexual intercourse: A case report. Ann Afr Med 2009;8:59-60

How to cite this URL:
Ijaiya M A, Mai A M, Aboyeji A P, Kumanda V, Abiodun M O, Raji H O. Rectovaginal fistula following sexual intercourse: A case report. Ann Afr Med [serial online] 2009 [cited 2022 Dec 7];8:59-60. Available from:

Vaginal injuries that occur during sexual intercourses are usually mild and are associated with self-limiting vaginal bleeding that do not require medical attention.[1] The incidence rate of vaginal injuries during coitus is 30 cases and 32 cases per year in Senegal[2] and United States[3] respectively.

The most common site of vaginal injuries at coitus is the vaginal vault particularly the posterior fornix. Other sites include right fornix, left fornix and lower vagina.[3] Occasionally, it affects the posterior vaginal wall but seldom extends to the rectum to cause flatus/faecal incontinence. The main causes of rectovaginal fistula are obstetric injury, genital malignancy, inflammatory bowel disease, operative trauma and radiotherapy.[4] This paper is the report of a case of rectovaginal fistula following sexual intercourse encountered at the Federal Medical Centre, Yola, North Eastern Nigeria.

   Case report Top

A 24-year-old nullipara, presented with leakage of flatus and faeces per vaginam of 15 months duration. She first noticed vaginal bleeding immediately after having sexual intercourse with her husband, which was her second coital experience with him. The bleeding was mild and subsided spontaneously at home. About a week later she started passing flatus and faeces per vaginam. The coital activity was performed in dorsal position and in a relaxed mood. Neither the patient nor her spouse was under the influence of alcohol. No antecedent history of abnormal vaginal discharge, weight loss or haematochezia. There was no urinary incontinence. There was no past history of vaginal surgery.

Since the onset of her problem, she had stopped going to the market and attending social functions. At the time of presentation, Mrs. RH had been divorced. She was living with and supported by her parents.

There was no abnormality detected on abdominal examination. Vaginal and rectal examination revealed a communication between the vagina and rectum. The vaginal defect was about 1x1cm (admitted a finger tip) and 2cm above the introitus. The uterus was normal in size and the cervix was healthy looking on speculum examination. The anal sphincter was intact and normal.

Diagnosis of low rectovaginal fistula was made. She had transvaginal two-layer repair after bowel preparation was done. The procedure was successful and she became continent of flatus and faeces. She had an uneventful two year follow-up. Both pelvic and rectal examination findings were normal during this period.

   Discussion Top

Vaginal trauma at sexual intercourse is an everyday occurrence. Most are minor injuries that manifest as self-limiting minimal vaginal bleeding, which do not require medical attention. Report from Hospital based studies from Calabar, Nigeria revealed that coital injuries accounted for 0.7 per 1000 gynecological emergencies[5] while Cissse et al in Dakar, Senegal and Dao et al in New York, USA, reported 32 cases2 and 30 cases of vaginal injuries[6] per year respectively.

Vaginal trauma due to coitus seldom extends into the rectum to cause rectovaginal fistula. Fish (1956) reviewed about twenty-one published studies on vaginal injuries due to coitus from different centers and reported only one case of posterior vaginal wall perforation that extended to the rectum.[7] However, Muleta and Williams in Addis Ababa fistula Hospital reported 91 cases of rectovaginal fistula sustained from coitus within marriage or rape that were successfully managed over a seven year period due to Ethiopian's societal tradition where ladies were abused under the cover of marriage.[8]

Our patient is a nullipara, whose biodata was typical of patients with high risk of coital injury vis-àvis low parity (0-1) and age group of 15-30 years.[1] The possible contributory factor to her coital injury could be the dorsal decubitus position she was at the time of intercourse, which is the most implicated position in coital injuries.[2] However, the only case of rectovaginal fistula following coitus reported in Fish's review was in a 19-year old lady that had sexual intercourse in standing position.[7] The common predisposing factors to coital injuries include rough coitus, first sexual intercourse, penovaginal disproportion, use of aphrodisiacs as vaginal lubricants, puerperium, and inadequate emotional and physical preparation of women for sexual intercourse.[1],[2],[7]

Apart from obstetric cause of rectovaginal fistula, which is the most common aetiology worldwide. The order of frequency of other causes varies from region to region namely cancer of the cervix, radiation injury, inflammatory bowel disease (especially Crohn's disease), operative trauma and rectal cancer.[4]

Just as in vesicovaginal fistula, rectovaginal fistula is associated with psychosocial problems particularly divorce/separation[9] as seen in the patient presented. Our patient had successful rectovaginal fistula repair and hope to return back to her husband to continue her normal life.

   References Top

1.Omu AE. Vaginal injuries during coitus. Trop J Obstet Gynaecol. 1991; 2:115-118.   Back to cited text no. 1      
2.Cisse CT, Dionne P, Cathy A, Mendes V, Diadhious F, Ndiaye PD. Vaginal injuries during coitus. Dakar Med. 1998; 43:135-138.   Back to cited text no. 2      
3.Anate M. Vaginal trauma at sexual intercourse in Ilorin, Nigeria. An analysis of 36 cases. West Afr J Med. 1989; 8:217-222.   Back to cited text no. 3      
4.Ekwempu CC. Fistulae. In: Textbook of obstetrics and gynaecology for medical students. Vol. 1 Agboola A (ed). Heinemann Pub, Nig. 1988; pp46-59.   Back to cited text no. 4      
5.Abasiattai AM, Etuk SJ, Bassey EA, Asuquo EE. Vaginal injuries during coitus in Calabar: a 10- year review. Niger Postgrad Med J. 2005; 12:140-144.   Back to cited text no. 5      
6.Dao B, Diouf A, Bambara M, Bah MD, Diadhiou F. Vaginal injuries during coitus: 98 cases. Contracept Fertil Sex. 1995; 23:420-422.   Back to cited text no. 6      
7.Fish SA. Vaginal injury due to coitus. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1956; 72:544-548.   Back to cited text no. 7      
8.Muleta M, Williams G. Postcoital injuries treated at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, 1991-97. Lancet. 1999; 354:2051-2052.   Back to cited text no. 8      
9.Ijaiya MA, Aboyeji AP. Obstetric urogenital fistula: The Ilorin experience, Nigeria. West Afr J Med. 2004; 23:7- 9.  Back to cited text no. 9      

This article has been cited by
1 Traumatic rectovaginal fistula after sexual intercourse following a non-consensual anal penetration: a case report and a review of the literature
Elodie Marchand, Laurent Martrille, Valéry Hedouin
Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology. 2021;
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Regular Exercise Throughout Pregnancy Is Associated With a Shorter First Stage of Labor
Maria Perales,Irene Calabria,Carmina Lopez,Evelia Franco,Javier Coteron,Ruben Barakat
American Journal of Health Promotion. 2016; 30(3): 149
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Plaie rectovaginale suite à un rapport sexuel consenti chez une femme jeune
M. Vincienne,A.L. Rivain,S. Ferretti,T. Thubert,X. Deffieux
Progrès en Urologie. 2014; 24(17): 1141
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
4 A Rare Case of Rectovaginal Fistula Following Consensual Vaginal Intercourse
Vedat Ugurel,Dilek Pinar Özer,Füsun Varol
The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2014; : n/a
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
5 Consensual Intercourse Resulting in an Extensive Rectovaginal Tear: An Extremely Rare Occurrence
Nikolaos Symeonidis,Konstantinos Ballas,Aikaterini Micha,Kyriakos Psarras,Theodoros Pavlidis
The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2014; : n/a
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
6 S3 guidelines: Rectovaginal fistulas (without Crohnæs disease). AWMF register number: 088/004 [S3-Leitlinie: Rektovaginale Fisteln (ohne M. Crohn). AWMF-registriernummer: 088/004]
Ommer, A. and Herold, A. and Berg, E. and Farke, St. and Fürst, A. and Hetzer, F. and Köhler, A. and Post, S. and Ruppert, R. and Sailer, M. and Schiedeck, Th. and Strittmatter, B. and Lenhard, B.H. and Bader, W. and Gschwend, J.E. and Krammer, H. and Stange, E.
Coloproctology. 2012; 34(3): 211-246
7 S3-Leitlinie: Rektovaginale Fisteln (ohne M. Crohn)
A. Ommer,A. Herold,E. Berg,S. Farke,A. Fürst,F. Hetzer,A. Köhler,S. Post,R. Ruppert,M. Sailer,T. Schiedeck,B. Strittmatter,B.H. Lenhard,W. Bader,J.E. Geschwend,H. Krammer,E. Stange
coloproctology. 2012; 34(3): 211
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
8 Unusual extraperitoneal rectal injuries: a retrospective study
M. Gümüş, A. Böyük, M. Kapan, A. Onder, F. Taskesen, İ. Aliosmanoğlu, A. Tüfek, M. Aldemir
European Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery. 2011;
[VIEW] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
    Case report

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded97    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 8    

Recommend this journal