Rectal prolapse is a condition in which the rectum partially or completely sticks out through the anus.
The rectum is the lowest part of the bowel. It is located just above the anus, which is the opening to the outside of the body. In prolapse, the rectum pushes through the anus.
Rectal prolapse may cause the following symptoms: discomfort in the lower abdomenbowel incontinence, or involuntary loss of stoolexcessive straining during bowel movementsbleeding from the anusa feeling of incomplete bowel movements
The exact cause is rarely clear. The following conditions increase the risk of rectal prolapse: cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that affects the lungs and gutchronic constipation or straining during bowel movementscertain parasite infections of the bowelinjury to the bowel, which may be from surgery
Rectal prolapse is more common in young children or elderly individuals than in other age groups. It is more common in women than in men.
In general, rectal prolapse cannot be prevented. Treatment of chronic constipation may help avoid prolapse from this cause.
A medical history and physical exam are usually used. Further tests, such as x-rays, may be used to look for the cause.
If the prolapse is not repaired with surgery, complications may occur. These include bleeding, open sores on the lining of the rectum, and infection. Bowel incontinence may be permanent, even after treatment.
There are no risks to others.
If a specific cause is identified, it should be treated. In addition, surgery is generally recommended to repair the prolapse and prevent complications.
Like any surgery, repair of rectal prolapse can be complicated by bleeding, infection, or reactions to anesthesia.
After recovery, a person can generally return to normal activities. Bowel incontinence often improves after surgery, but may be permanent.
Follow-up visits are needed until the person has recovered from surgery. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare professional.
Sabiston Textbook of Surgery, 1997, Sabiston et al.
Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, 1998, Sleisenger et al.