Rectal prolapse is a medical condition where the rectum, the lower part of the large intestine, protrudes outside the anus. It occurs when the rectal tissues and muscles become weak or damaged, leading to the rectum turning inside out and pushing through the anal opening.Causes of rectal prolapse can vary and may include:
- Weak pelvic floor muscles: Weakness in the muscles and tissues that support the rectum can contribute to prolapse.
- Chronic constipation: Straining during bowel movements over a long period can weaken the rectal muscles and increase the risk of prolapse.
- Chronic diarrhea: Frequent and forceful bowel movements can also strain and damage the rectal tissues.
- Age: The risk of rectal prolapse increases with age, especially in older adults.
- Prior pelvic surgery or injury: Previous surgeries or trauma to the pelvic region can weaken the supporting structures and lead to prolapse.
- Neurological disorders: Conditions affecting the nerves that control bowel movements may increase the risk of rectal prolapse.
Treatment for rectal prolapse depends on the severity of the condition and the individual’s overall health. Non-surgical approaches may be tried initially for mild cases and to improve bowel function:
- Stool softeners and fiber supplements: These can help prevent constipation and reduce straining during bowel movements.
- Manual reduction: In some cases, a healthcare professional may manually push the rectum back into place.
For more severe or persistent cases, surgical intervention may be necessary. Some common surgical options include:
- Rectopexy: This procedure involves surgically attaching the rectum to the surrounding tissues or pelvic structures to provide support.
- Resection: In some cases, a portion of the prolapsed rectum may need to be removed surgically.
- Altemeier procedure: This surgery involves removing the prolapsed part of the rectum and performing a primary closure of the anus.
It’s essential to consult a healthcare professional if you suspect you have rectal prolapse or experience symptoms like a protruding mass from the anus, difficulty with bowel movements, or rectal bleeding. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend the most appropriate treatment based on your specific condition.