Rectal Prolapse

Rectal prolapse is fortunately a relatively rare condition. It occurs when part of your rectum protrudes out of your anus. This generally tends to occur during bowel motions and it can either go back of its own accord or be pushed back. In more serious cases the rectum can protrude out of the anus permanently.

It is most often caused by a weakening of the muscles of the pelvic floor that support the rectum and can be the result of long term constipation and straining, damage after giving birth or congenital causes. You will tend to notice a rectal prolapse gradually over time as they slowly worsen. There are two main types, partial and full thickness prolapse.

A full thickness rectal prolapse is when the full thickness of rectum, that is the muscle tube and lining wall, protrudes through the anus, forming a lump. This can be ball shaped to start but as it grows resembles a sausage.  This is the most commonly experienced type.

A partial prolapse is just where the lining (mucosa) of the rectum prolapses out of the anus and in many ways is similar to a proposing haemorrhoid.

Treatment depends on the type of prolapse you have and other factors that Mr Michael Stellakis will take into account.

Frequently Asked Questions

A rectal prolapse can affect men and women of any age, but it is by far the most common in women over the age of 70. It can also affect young children under the age of three as the muscles that hold the rectum in place can be weakened during toilet training.

If you have a rectal prolapse, you may notice a lump or swelling coming out of your anus. Typically, you’ll only notice it after a bowel movement, but if left untreated, it may protrude at all times.

Other symptoms include being unable to control your bowel movements (incontinence) and constipation. You can also experience discomfort or pain. The prolpase can bleed and also secret mucous so often the sufferer needs to where a pad. These symptoms can be caused by other anal conditions so it’s essential you receive an expert diagnosis and prompt treatment.

A physical examination of your anus and rectum will be performed when diagnosing a rectal prolapse. Mr Stellakis may also order further diagnostic tests to check the rest of your colon to rule out any other problems. This may include a fibre optic examination of the large bowel performed in the endoscopy suite. Sometimes the only way to diagnose the prolapse, if it is intermittent, is a rectal examination under a quick general anaesthetic.

Treatment for rectal prolapse will depend on the type, as well as your age and overall health. There are certain non-surgical approaches including gently pushing the prolapse back in. If you’re suffering from constipation, you will be advised on what to eat and drink to alleviate any straining during a bowel movement, and you may be prescribed laxatives.

However, it is unlikely that a full thickness rectal prolapse will resolve itself on its own and so rectal prolapse surgery will be advised. Mr Stellakis will advise you in full during your consultation on the benefits and potential complications associated with rectal prolapse surgery.

See under treatments section.