What is Rectal Prolapse?
Rectal prolapse occurs when the upper portion of the rectum telescopes itself inside out and comes out through the rectal opening. It is seen most often in elderly women, but it can occur in men and women of any age.
Causes of Rectal Prolapse
Rectal Prolapse is associated with chronic straining to pass stool. It is known that the attachments of the rectum to the pelvic bones progressively weaken. When these attachments are weak, straining to pass stool causes the rectum to turn itself inside out.
Diagnosing Rectal Prolapse
Your doctor can usually diagnose rectal prolapse by taking a careful history and performing a complete anorectal examination. To demonstrate the prolapse, the patient may be asked to strain as if having a bowel movement or to sit on the commode and strain prior to examination.
Symptoms of Rectal Prolapse
The primary symptom is the feeling of tissue coming out of the rectum. Other accompanying symptoms may be:
- Mucus Drainage
- The urge to have a bowel movement with no stool to pass.
When the problem first starts, the rectum may turn itself inside out but remain inside the rectal opening. This is most commonly when the urge to have a bowel movement with no stool to pass occurs. As the prolapse progresses, the rectum comes out with bowel movements and returns inside by itself. The prolapse may also occur with activity or just standing up, It may become necessary to push the rectum back inside. Constipation commonly occurs with rectal prolapse, either the constipation may cause the prolapse because of the straining or the prolapse may cause constipation because the prolapse partially blocks the rectal opening.
Treating Rectal Prolapse
Treatment for rectal prolapse depends on the age of the patient and the severity of the condition. In adults, high-fiber diet to prevent constipation and straining is recommended if the symptoms are mild. Surgical correction is required in adults if the prolapse does not resolve itself. Your prolapse may be repaired through an abdominal or rectal procedure, ask your doctor what is right for you.
If incontinence accompanies the prolapse, the incontinence improves over half of the time after the prolapse is corrected. Rectal prolapse in children commonly corrects itself. Doctors can instruct the parents on how to reduce the prolapse and prevent constipation in the child.