Rectal Prolapse - WatsonsHealth


The term rectum refers to the lower 12-15 centimeters of the giant gut (colon). The rectum is located just above the anal canal (the junction is called the anorectal area). Normally the rectum is securely attached to the pelvis with the aid of ligaments and muscular tissues that keep it in place. When these ligaments and muscle groups weaken, the rectum can slip or fall out of place, or prolapse (also referred to as rectal procidentia).

In the early phases of rectal prolapse, the rectum becomes poorly attached however it stays inside the body. This stage is called mucosal prolapse, or partial prolapse, which means that the internal lining of the rectum (rectal mucosa) protrudes from the anus. This happens when the connective tissues within the rectal mucosa loosen and stretch, allowing the tissue to protrude through the anus. When long-term hemorrhoidal disease is the reason, the condition does not development to entire prolapse. Choosing if the problem is hemorrhoids or rectal prolapse is most important. Hemorrhoids arise often, but they hardly ever cause the condition.

There are three types of rectal prolapse. The type is determined by the movement of the rectum:

  • Internal prolapse: The rectum begins to drop, however has not yet pushed through the anus.
  • Partial prolapse: In this type, only part of the rectum has moved through the anus.
  • Complete prolapse: The whole rectum comes out through the anus.

Symptoms may include the following:

  • Experiencing pain in bowel movements
  • Mucus or blood release from the protruding tissue
  • Fecal incontinence
  • A loss of urge to defecate
  • Awareness of something protruding upon wiping


To verify the presence of a prolapsed rectum, the doctor could ask the person to sit on the bathroom and strain. If the rectum does not protrude, the doctor could administer a phosphate enema to verify the diagnosis. The predominant condition to distinguish prolapse of the rectum from is protruding or prolapsing hemorrhoids.

A defecogram could help in identify between a mucosal prolapse and a complete prolapse of the rectum in a patient.



Stool softeners, such as sodium docusate or calcium docusate, may be used to reduce pain and straining during bowel movements.

Bulk agents, such as psyllium or methylcellulose also can be used.

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