Rectal Prolapse

Causes Treatments for Rectal Prolapse

Although there are three types of rectal prolapse, the one most commonly recognized is a full thickness protrusion of the rectal wall through the anus.(The two other types are, mucosal prolapse, and internal prolapse (internal intussusception). The main symptom is a protrusion of a reddish mass from the anal opening. It may bleed and pain may be present.

Facts About Rectal Prolapse

  • A rectal prolapse is not a common occurrence.
  • The exact number of people who experience it is unknown.
  • Many elderly people do not report the condition to their doctor and do not seek any form of treatment.
  • Rectal prolapse is more common in children under 6 yrs and there are peaks of occurance in adults in their forties and seventies.
  • Between 80% - 90% of cases are in females
  • Rectal prolapse was described as early as 1500 BC.

Causes of Rectal Prolapse
There are a number of conditions that are associated with rectal prolapse; cystic fibrosis, malnutrition and malabsorbtion conditions, constipation, trauma, pinworms and whipworm infection. Constipation and straining are common facets.

Treatment for Rectal Prolapse
Treatment of rectal prolapse depends on the underlying condition and these conditions need attention to prevent further rectal prolapses.

Treatment can be of a conservative nature and many rectal prolapses can be treated at home. The patient can be taught to push the prolapse gently back into position using a warm, wet cloth.

Surgery may be required to repair the prolapse.

Article updated 01/04/2006

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