A rectal prolapse can be embarrassing and is uncomfortable, but treatment is effective.
Rectal prolapse describes the rectum slipping outside of the anus. The rectum is the lowest section of the large intestine. This condition has the potential to cause varying discomforts, so it is important to have it promptly assessed.
The risk factors for children and adults can differ. For children they include:
There are three primary types of this condition. A partial prolapse is characterized by the rectal lining sliding out of place. Typically, it will protrude from the anus. This type is most often seen in kids under age two. Straining to have a bowel movement can cause it.
With an internal prolapse, one part of the rectum or colon wall slides over another part. It will not protrude through the anus. It is rare in adults and usually affects children. The cause generally is not identified in children, but in adults, it may be due to a tumor or polyp.
Complete prolapse means that the full rectal wall protrudes from the anus. Initially, this might only happen when someone is having a bowel movement. As it gets worse, it can start to slide out when the person is walking or standing. In some cases, the protrusion will be present at all times.
The initial symptoms of a prolapse may include leaking of mucus, blood or stool from the anus. Additional symptoms patients may experience might include:
Passing large numbers of small stools
Anal itching, bleeding, pain, or irritation
After what seems like a complete bowel movement, the person urgently feels the need to have another
Feeling like the bowels are not fully emptied
Bright red tissue that can be seen protruding from the anus
In children, the prolapse may go away without intervention. As soon as it is noticeable, it might be possible to push it back into place. However, if the prolapse persists, injections into the rectum might be beneficial. Treating any underlying condition may also be warranted.
For adults, the following may be recommended first to see if it can alleviate the prolapse:
Push the prolapse back into place if the doctor states that this is acceptable
Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles by performing Kegel exercises
Working to prevent constipation by eating a healthy diet, getting sufficient fiber and ensuring that the patient is getting adequate water
During a bowel movement, avoiding straining
Short-term use of a stool softener if a doctor states that this is a good idea
Since this condition can affect both children and adults, it is important that people know the signs. After this occurs, maintaining the prescribed treatment regimen may help to reduce the risk of a future recurrence.