Rectal prolapse (protrusion of the rectum)

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Rectal prolapse (protrusion of the rectum) (Disease)


Rectal prolapse occurs when the rectum turns itself inside out and comes out through the anus. Women are six times more likely to suffer rectal prolapse than men. Another type of prolapse is a rectocele, which means the rectum has protruded into the vagina. Young children may also be affected by rectal prolapse. Treatment includes surgery to secure the rectum in place.

The symptoms of rectal prolapse depend on the severity, but can include: pain and discomfort felt deep within the lower abdomen, blood and mucus from the anus, the feeling of constipation, or that the rectum is never completely emptied after passing a motion, protrusion of the rectum through the anus, the need to use huge quantities of toilet paper to clean up following a bowel motion, leakage of liquefied faeces, particularly following a bowel motion, faecal incontinence, or reduced ability to control the bowels.

Causes and Risk factors

Rectal prolapse is caused by weakening of the ligaments and muscles that hold the rectum in place. In most people with a prolapsed rectum, the anal sphincter muscle is weak.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Treatments for rectal prolapse in adults focus on changes in diet, medicine (such as stool softeners), and surgery. Treatment choice depends on the type of prolapse, whether a person has other physical problems, the age, the activity level, and whether he/she can do home treatment. Home treatments usually are tried first, because surgery does not always cure the condition.

Its also possible to treat a prolapse of the lining (partial prolapse ) by changing the diet to reduce constipation and straining during a bowel movement. Adding fiber to the diet increases the amount of water in your stools and helps them move through the large intestine quickly. You may also use a prescription medicine, such as lactulose, that softens stools and allows them to move through the intestines and pass easily. ...

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