Vaginal Splinting and Bowel Movements | by heidi

Vaginal Splinting and Bowel Movements | by heidi


    Vaginal splinting is the term used to describe the process in which a woman uses her fingers to press on the vagina to help ease stool out of the rectum. This is typically done when a woman is constipated or experiences incomplete evacuation (the sensation that the bowel has not been cleared even if it has).1

    This article explains what is involved with vaginal splinting and describes some of the medical conditions in which vaginal splinting may be used to help empty the bowel.

    A woman with smartphone sitting on the toilet

    What Is Vaginal Splinting?

    Sometimes it is difficult to have a bowel movement without straining.  Over time, straining can cause the weakening of the pelvic floor and associated problems like pelvic organ prolapse (POP). Vaginal splinting is one way to help move the stool out of the anal canal when it cannot be passed naturally.

    Vaginal splinting is a form of digital evacuation ("digital" referring to fingers). It involves placing fingers into the vagina and pressing against the back wall to help ease stool out of the rectum. To do this, the woman would feel around the back wall for a bulge and use her fingers to gently move the stool toward the anal canal.

    While vaginal splinting is commonly performed with fingers, a tampon can also be used to apply pressure to the back wall of the vagina.

    There are other ways to manually overcome constipation. This includes massaging the buttock and/or perineum (the diamond-shaped area between the anus and vagina) or performing digital disimpaction (in which fingers are inserted into the anus to help remove stool).


    Vaginal splinting is performed by inserting fingers into the vagina and gently pressing against the back wall in a downward motion. This helps ease stools out of the rectum.

    Conditions Associated With Vaginal Splinting

    Women often resort to splinting as a way to compensate for the changes in the anatomy and function of the pelvic organs.2

    There are various conditions for which vaginal splinting may be needed to remove stool, three of which involve the prolapse (bulging) of the pelvic organs. These include:

    Cystocele: The bulging of the bladder into the vagina

    Dyssynergic defecation: The dysfunction of the pelvic floor muscles and nerves that regulate bowel clearance

    Enterocele: The bulging of the bowel into the vagina and rectum

    Rectocele: The bulging of the wall of the rectum into the vagina3


    Vaginal splinting is often used when defecation is affected by the pelvic organ prolapse or by problems affecting the muscles and nerves of the pelvic floor (referred to as dyssynergic defecation).

     How Constipation Is Treated

    What Research Says

    It is estimated that 20% of women experience problems with bowel movements on an ongoing basis.4

    A 2012 study published in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery evaluated 29 women using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to get a better understanding of how digital evacuation is used to treat chronic defecation problems in females. An MRI is an imaging technology that is especially good at visualizing soft tissues.4

    What they found was that 59% of the participants used vaginal splinting as a means to clear stools from the rectum. Another 31% used perineal massage, while 10% used buttock massage to help pass stools.

    Based on the MRI results, the researchers also found that the participants had one or more conditions that directly interfered with bowel evacuation. The causes broke down as follows:

    Rectocele: 86.2%

    Cystocele: 75.9%

    Enterocele: 10.3%

    Dyssynergic defecation: 17.2%


    Research suggests that the majority of women with chronic defecation problems use vaginal splinting as the main form of digital evacuation.


    Vaginal splinting is a procedure in which fingers are inserted into the vagina to manually manipulate stool out of the rectum. It is done by feeling around for a bulge in the back of the vagina and gently pressing in a downward motion to help ease the stool out of the body.

    Vaginal splinting may be used to relieve occasional constipation but is more commonly used when a woman experiences pelvis organ prolapse or experiences dysfunction of the muscles and nerves to help regulate bowel movements.

    Post a Comment