Rectal prolapse is a medical condition characterized by the stretching and protrusion of the rectum, which is the lower part of the colon situated above the anus. This happens due to the weakening of the muscles responsible for holding the rectum in place. The condition is similar to the prolapse of hemorrhoids.
The rectum is the place where stool is held before it is released from your body. As stool accumulates in the rectum, it stimulates the urge to defecate, and a group of muscles work together to push the stool out through the anus. However, in cases of rectal prolapse, the rectum protrudes out of the anus and sometimes even extends through the other side, as if it were turning inside out like a telescope.
Rectal prolapse is a condition that tends to persist over time and worsen gradually. While the symptoms can vary, the condition is unlikely to resolve spontaneously. To manage rectal prolapse, medications such as stool softeners and suppositories may be prescribed. However, surgical intervention is often necessary to address rectal prolapse, even though it is not a common medical problem.
A symptom of rectal prolapse is the appearance of a reddish lump protruding out of the anus, usually while exerting pressure during a bowel movement. This lump may retract back inside the anus, or it may stay visible outside.
However, a rectal prolapse can vary for each individual, and there are two types: internal and external. Common symptoms may include:
- Sensation of something left inside the anus after a bowel movement.
- Leakage of mucus, feces, or blood from the anus
- Fecal incontinence
- Constipation or diarrhea
- Itching or anal pain
Rectal prolapse occurs when the muscles that hold the rectum in place fail. While numerous factors may play a role in this, the exact cause remains unknown.
Several factors may contribute on increasing the risk of having rectal prolapse, such as:
- Advanced age
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Pelvic surgery or injury in the past
- Chronic diarrhea or constipation
- Infections caused by intestinal parasites
- Chronic and forceful coughing or sneezing
- Nerve damage or spinal cord injury
- Cystic fibrosis