Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine.
Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Urinary & Rectal Fistulas

Urinary & Rectal Fistulas

Request an Appointment

Request an Appointment

Let us help you schedule your appointment.

Call 713-441-9229 to speak with our specially trained Coordinator or
request an appointment online.

If you are a physican and would like to refer a patient please call 713-441-9229 or download our Physician Referral Form.

The Methodist Center for Restorative Pelvic Medicine
6550 Fannin Street
Houston, TX 77030
713-441-9229
713-791-5023 fax
Maps & Directions

A urinary fistula is an abnormal opening either with a urinary tract organ (such as the bladder) or an abnormal connection between a urinary tract organ and another organ (such as the colon). Types of urinary fistulas include:

  • Vesicovaginal fistula – between the urinary tract and the vagina
  • Vesicouterine fistula – between the bladder and the uterus
  • Urethrovaginal fistula – between the urethra and the vagina
  • Ureterovaginal fistula – between the ureter and the vagina
  • Colovesical fistula – between the colon (bowel) and the bladder
  • Rectovaginal fistula – between the rectum and the vagina

Causes

The common causes of urinary and/or rectal fistulas include:

  • Injury to the organs in question, either during surgery or through trauma
  • Injury to the bladder during abdominal or pelvic surgery, such as a hysterectomy
  • Childbirth (the most common cause), a caesarean section or episiotomy
  • Pelvic malignancy, such as cervical or colon cancer
  • Radiation therapy
  • Inflammatory diseases, such as Crohn's disease
  • Disease of the large intestine (diverticulitis)

Symptoms

  • Constant urine leakage from the vagina
  • Irritation in the area of the vulva
  • Frequent urinary tract infections
  • Leakage of gas and/or stool into the vagina
  • Fluid drainage from the vagina
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Treatment

Since a fistula is an unwanted connection or tunnel between two organs, the treatment for most fistulas is surgical repair. Most commonly, the fistula is closed by using adjacent tissues for the repair. Occasionally other tissues have to be used for coverage of complex wounds.

If the fistula is a result of delivering a baby, it is usually preferable to wait three to six months to allow the tissues to become more normal before attempting surgical repair. This period of waiting improves the chances of a successful repair. During this time, there are a variety of measures available to minimize the symptoms the patient may experience.

Talk to our specialists

These issues can be embarrassing, but can be resolved. Your first step is to talk with one of our specialists. Call the Center for Restorative Pelvic Medicine at 713-441-9229 to find the right specialist and to schedule an appointment.

How to make an appointment

To schedule an appointment with a physician specializing in urinary and rectal fistulas, please call the Center for Restorative Pelvic Medicine at 713-441-9229.