Rectal prolapse occurs when the rectum sags and comes through the anal opening.
Procidentia; Rectal intussusception
The exact cause of rectal prolapse is unclear. Possible causes may include any of the following:
A prolapse can be partial or complete:
Rectal prolapse occurs most often in children under age 6. Health problems that may lead to prolapse include:
In adults, it is usually found with constipation, or with a muscle or nerve problem in the pelvic or genital area.
The main symptom is a reddish-colored mass that sticks out from the opening of the anus, especially after a bowel movement. This reddish mass is actually the inner lining of the rectum. It may bleed slightly and can be uncomfortable and painful.
Call your provider if a rectal prolapse occurs.
In some cases, the prolapse can be treated at home. Follow your provider's instructions on how to do this. The rectum must be pushed back inside manually. A soft, warm, wet cloth is used to apply gentle pressure to the mass to push it back through the anal opening. The person should lie on one side in a knee-chest position before applying pressure. This position allows gravity to help put the rectum back into position.
Immediate surgery is rarely needed. In children, treating the cause often solves the problem. For example, if the cause is straining because of dry stools, laxatives may help. If the prolapse continues, surgery may be needed.
In adults, the only cure for rectal prolapse is a procedure that repairs the weakened anal sphincter and pelvic muscles.
Brooke Gurland is a General Surgeon and a Colorectal Surgeon in Redwood City, California. Dr. Gurland has been practicing medicine for over 28 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Rectal Prolapse. She is also highly rated in 12 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Rectal Prolapse, Bowel Incontinence, Levator Syndrome, and Encopresis. She is board certified in General Surgery and licensed to treat patients in Ohio. Dr. Gurland is currently accepting new patients.
Sameh Emile is in Al Mansurah, Egypt. Emile is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Rectal Prolapse. He is also highly rated in 15 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Rectal Prolapse, Gastrointestinal Fistula, Anal Fissure, and Bowel Incontinence.
Pierpaolo Sileri is in Rome, Italy. Sileri is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Rectal Prolapse. He is also highly rated in 8 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Rectal Prolapse, Anal Fissure, Hemorrhoids, and Bowel Incontinence.
In children, treating the cause cures rectal prolapse. In adults, surgery usually cures the prolapse.
When rectal prolapse is not treated, constipation and loss of bowel control may develop.
Call your provider right away if there is a rectal prolapse.
In children, treating the cause usually prevents rectal prolapse from happening again.
Iturrino JC, Lembo AJ. Constipation. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 19.
Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM. Surgical conditions of the anus and rectum. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 371.
Madoff RD, Melton-Meaux GB. Diseases of the rectum and anus. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 136.