The rectum is the end section of the large intestine. When the rectum stretches and falls through the anus, it is called rectal prolapse.
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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:
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:
To help reduce your chances of rectal prolapse:
American Gastroenterological Association
American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons
Bad Gut—Canadian Society of Intestinal Research
Constipation in adults. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116186/Constipation-in-adults. Updated November 22, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.
Constipation in children. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T900171/Constipation-in-children. Updated August 24, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2018.
Rectal prolapse and procidentia. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/gastrointestinal-disorders/anorectal-disorders/rectal-prolapse-and-procidentia. Updated October 2016. Accessed January 9, 2018.
Last reviewed November 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Daus Mahnke, MD Last Updated: 12/20/2014