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Rectum prolapse


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Rectum is the last end of the large intestine. Rectum prolapse is a condition wherein a portion or the entire rectum protrudes out from the external opening of the anus.

Types of rectum prolapse

Partial prolapse – It is more common in children. The mucosal membrane of the rectum slips and comes out when they strain while passing bowels.
Internal prolapse- Also known as intussusceptions is characterized by folding of one part of the rectum over another. The condition is diagnosed in children

Complete prolapse- The most severe condition that happens usually in adults. The entire rectum can move out externally during bowels and also while standing, sitting or lifting. 


Symptoms of rectum prolapse

Once can sense swollen, lumpy, sticky red tissue coming out from the anus during or after passing bowel. Gradually you can feel it whenever you cough or change your postures like standing, walking, etc.

Some other associated symptoms are:

  • Bleeding and mucus discharge from anus
  • Pain, itching and burning in anus
  • Constipation, fecal incontinence
  • Ulcers in the anus


Causes of rectum prolapse

The rectum starts falling when the muscles and ligaments that withhold the rectum at its place become weak. This can happen due to the following reasons:

  • Chronic constipation or diarrhoea
  • Excessive straining while passing bowel
  • Pelvic injury, trauma to anus or anal sphincter
  • Side effect of surgery in the anus
  • Nerve damage of the rectum
  • From whooping cough, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, cystic fibrosis
  • Infection in the intestine
  • With age the rectal muscles become weak


When to see a doctor

See your doctor if you observe any of those aforementioned symptoms. Make sure you keep a close look at your child while he/she passes bowels and ensure that the symptoms are diagnosed by a doctor at the earliest.


Diagnosis of rectum prolapse

Your doctor will evaluate your medical history and the symptoms that you are experiencing. He will physically examine the anus by applying pressure with his gloved hands. You might be asked to strain your anus to understand the response of the rectum.

Subsequently several tests would be suggested which invariably includes anal ultrasound, proctography, proctosigmoidoscopy, colonoscopy, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Additionally your doctor might also perform barium enema, anal manometry and anal electromyography to check for abnormalities inside the anus, strength of the anal sphincter and the extent of nerve damage in the anus.


Treatment of rectum prolapse

The treatment depends on the severity of the prolapse. If you have been diagnosed early then your doctor would consider pushing the protruding tissue back into its original position.

Since constipation is a major cause behind rectum prolapse, your doctor would give you advice regarding normalizing bowels with the help of laxatives and stool softeners, exercises and incorporation of high fibre diet. You will be asked not to strain while passing bowels or lift heavy objects. The treatment will be basically directed towards healing the underlying cause and managing the discomfort.

Rectal prolapse surgery will be recommended if the prolapse is interfering with your daily life and is causing lot of discomfort. It could be an open surgery or laparoscopy. You need to prepare for hospital stay for this. You doctor will suggest several post operative care techniques for speedy recovery.

Rectal prolapse can be prevented if you take care of your bowel habits, try to get rid of constipation and above all seek medical advice to ensure a better health of your colon.

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