Alexandra Howson, PhD
The rectum is the end section of the large intestine. Prolapse happens when part of the rectum stretches and falls through the anus.
The rectum is held in place by ligaments and muscles. When these become weak, rectal prolapse occurs.
Children aged 1-3 years and older adults are at higher risk.
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your anus and rectum will be examined.
Images may be taken of your body structures. This can be done with:
An anorectal manometry may also be done to measure the strength of the anal sphincter muscles, sensation in the rectum, and the reflexes needed for normal bowel movement.
Prolapse in children tends to go away on its own. In adults, gentle pressure to the rectum can sometimes push the rectum back into place. The sooner the condition is treated, the better the outcome. Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you.
Certain medication may help to reduce pain and straining during bowel movements. Your doctor may recommend stool softeners and bulk agents.
In some cases, surgery may be needed. Surgeries used to treat rectal prolapse include:
To help reduce your chance of rectal prolapse, take the following steps:
American Gastroenterological Association
American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
Canadian Society of Intestinal Research
Constipation in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated October 9, 2014. Accessed December 18, 2014.
Constipation in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated December 3, 2014. Accessed December 18, 2014.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Daus Mahnke, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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