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Rectal prolapse is caused by weak muscles and ligaments. These structures hold the rectum in place.
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:
- 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.
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 medications 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:
- Laparoscopic rectopexy—A laparoscope (a tiny camera) is placed through a small incision in the abdomen. The rectum is secured in place with stitches.
- Perineal proctectomy—An incision will be made in the rectum. Tissue that is sticking out of the anus is removed.
To help reduce your chance of rectal prolapse:
- Eat a healthy diet that is high in fiber.
- Exercise regularly.
- To train your bowels, create a routine. For example, try to go to the bathroom after lunch each day.
- Do not rush when moving your bowels.
- If you feel the urge to move your bowels, go to the bathroom.
- Daus Mahnke, MD
- Reviewed: 12/2015
- Updated: 12/20/2014
Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Allegiance Health or performed by Allegiance Health physicians.
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