Rectal Prolapse

(Mucosal Prolapse; Partial Prolapse; Complete Prolapse; Internal Prolapse)

Definition

Rectal Prolapse
Rectal prolapse
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

Rectal prolapse is caused by weak muscles and ligaments. These structures hold the rectum in place.

Risk Factors

Children aged 1-3 years and older adults are at higher risk.
  • Risk factors in children include:
    • Cystic fibrosis
    • Previous anal surgery
    • Malnutrition
    • Straining during bowel movements
    • Infections
  • Risk factors in adults include:
    • Straining during bowel movements
    • Pregnancy and the stress of childbirth
    • Weakness of pelvic floor muscles due to aging
    • Hemorrhoids

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:
  • Difficulty controlling bowel movements
  • Bleeding or mucous from the anus
  • Constipation
  • Feeling of incomplete bowel movements
  • Loss of urge to defecate
  • Anal pain or itching
  • Tissue that sticks out of the anus
  • Pain during bowel movements

Diagnosis

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:
  • Defecography—series of x-rays of the rectum and anus taken during a bowel movement
  • Colonoscopy —visual exam of the rectum and colon (large intestine) using a flexible tube with a tiny camera on the end
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.

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