Rectal Prolapse

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Rectal Prolapse

Rectal prolapse occurs when the rectum (the last section of the large intestine) falls from its normal position within the pelvic area and sticks out through the anus. (The word "prolapse" means a falling down or slipping of a body part from its usual position.)

What is rectal prolapse?

Rectal prolapse is common in older adults who have a long-term history of constipation or a weakness in the pelvic floor muscles. It is more common in women than in men, and even more common in women over the age of 50 (postmenopausal women), but occurs in younger people too. Rectal prolapse can also occur in infants – which could be a sign of cystic fibrosis – and in older children.

The term "rectal prolapse" can describe three types of prolapse:

Is rectal prolapse just another name for hemorrhoids?

No. Rectal prolapse results from a slippage of the attachments of the last portion of the large intestine. Hemorrhoids are swollen blood vessels that develop in the anus and lower rectum. Hemorrhoids can produce anal itching and pain, discomfort and bright red blood on toilet tissue. Early rectal prolapse can look like internal hemorrhoids that have slipped out of the anus (i.e., prolapsed), making it difficult to tell these two conditions apart.

What causes rectal prolapse?

Rectal prolapse can occur as a result of many conditions, including:

The symptoms of rectal prolapse include the feeling of a bulge or the appearance of reddish-colored mass that extends outside the anus. At first, this can occur during or after bowel movements and is a temporary condition. However, over time – because of an ordinary amount of standing and walking – the end of the rectum may even extend out of the anal canal spontaneously, and may need to be pushed back up into the anus by hand.

Firas Younis

Colorectal Surgeon
19 years of experience

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