Rectovaginal Fistula Management in Low-Resource Settings

Alisha Lussiez, Rahel Nardos, Ann Lowry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Rectovaginal fistula (RVF) is an abnormal connection between the rectum and vagina that affects women globally. In low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), RVF is most commonly due to obstetric complications such as prolonged labor or perineal tears, female genital mutilation and trauma such as sexual violence or iatrogenic surgical injuries. Women affected by this condition suffer from debilitating physical symptoms, social isolation, economic disempowerment, psychological trauma, low self-esteem, and loss of role fulfillment. Lack of accessible, high-quality, and effective healthcare is a major barrier to timely and safe obstetric care and to care for subsequent complications such as RVF. Additionally, social, cultural, financial, and systemic barriers put women at risk of acquiring fistula and contribute to delays in seeking and receiving care. Literature evaluating RVF repair in those able to access care offers limited information about management and outcomes. It is difficult to ascertain which surgical techniques are used. To reduce the burden of this often-preventable disease, appropriate investment in healthcare infrastructure to strengthen maternal care in LMICs is paramount. Furthermore, more standardized reporting of severity and treatment approach along with outcome data are critical to improving the quality of care for patients impacted by RVF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-395
Number of pages6
JournalClinics in Colon and Rectal Surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 13 2022

Bibliographical note

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  • maternal care
  • obstetric complications
  • rectovaginal fistula

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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