What is rectal prolapse?
Rectal prolapse is a condition in which the rectum protrudes through the sphincter muscles and out of the anus. The prolapsed tissue stretches the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor possibly resulting in anal leakage or loss of control of bowel movements. Bleeding can also occur. Women are affected more than men.
What are the causes?
In most cases, no single cause is apparent. Usually a variety of factors contribute to the condition. Some of these factors include: chronic straining, child birth, wear and tear on the ligaments of the pelvis from aging, and various neurological conditions.
How is rectal prolapse diagnosed?
Most commonly a patient will tell their physician that “the rectum is falling out” or “there is tissue coming out of the anus”. The physician will usually see the prolapse on physical examination while having the patient strain. This may require having the patient strain on the commode to simulate a bowel movement. If the prolapse cannot be seen, an special x-ray examination simulating a bowel movement can be performed to aid in the diagnosis.
What is the treatment for rectal prolapse?
Occasionally, prolapsed may be cured by stopping excessive straining to defecate. More commonly, surgery is the treatment of choice. Surgery may be performed by an abdominal approach possibly with a laparoscopic technique. The operation may also be performed through the anus. The choice of surgery is determined by the patient’s age, general health, and amount of prolapsed tissue.
Why should prolapse be treated?
If untreated, the prolapse may increase in size or become stuck outside of the anus and lose its blood supply (requiring an emergency operation). Additionally, continued stretch on the nerves and sphincter muscles may lead to further loss of control of bowel movements
Conditions & Procedures