A Rectal Prolapse occurs when the rectal portion of the intestines protrudes through the anal opening. It affects more children and older women than men. Just a very small portion may come out while straining to pass a bowel movement, but it can come out entirely and stay outside of the body.
A rectal prolapse can also fold up within itself and remain internal. When the problem is severe it can cause fecal incontinence and other serious problems. The causes vary in children and adults.
Rectal prolapse in children may be caused by:
Rectal prolapse in adults may be caused by:
In the earliest stages or when the condition is mild, symptoms may include:
When the condition is severe, symptoms may also include:
When children have a minor rectal prolapse it usually goes away with stool softener and/or dietary changes. However, an underlying condition could be to blame. The child should have a physical exam. Sometimes an injection of medication or surgery may become necessary.
Minor rectal prolapses in adults can be corrected by gently pushing the tissue back into the anus. Dietary changes may be necessary to avoid constipation. Other adult treatment options may include:
When a rectal prolapse is left untreated the rectum could become severely damaged and fecal incontinence could greatly worsen.