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What is Rectal Prolapse?
Rectal prolapse occurs when part or all of the wall of the rectum slides out of place, sometimes protruding from the anus or, in the case of some women, the vagina (known as rectocele).
Rectal prolapse is most common in children and older adults, especially women. There are three types of prolapse:
- Partial prolapse (also called mucosal prolapse): occurs when the lining (mucous membrane) of the rectum slides out of place and usually protrudes from the anus,
- Internal or incomplete prolapse (also called intussusception): occurs when the rectum has prolapsed, but not so far as to slip through the anus. This is most common in children and rarely affects adults but, when it does, it is usually related to another intestinal problem, such as a growth (for example, a polyp or tumor) in the wall of the intestines, and
- External or complete prolapse: occurs when the entire wall of the rectum slides out of place and usually protrudes from the anus.
For adults, there are a number of risk factors that can trigger rectal prolapse, including:
- constipation or straining during bowel movements
- tissue damage caused by surgery, childbirth or other lifestyle activities (such as strenuous exercise), and/or
- weakened pelvic floor muscles due to the aging process.
For some people, a prolapse may only occur during bowel movements. For other people it may occur when they stand or walk and, in some cases, the prolapsed tissue may remain outside their body permanently.
What Are the Symptoms?
Common symptoms associated with Rectal Prolapse include:
- leakage of faeces from the anus (Faecal Incontinence)
- leakage of mucus or blood from the anus (wet anus)
- a feeling of having full bowels and an urgent need to have a bowel movement
- passage of many small stools
- constipation, difficulties passing a bowel motion, or the feeling of not being able to empty the bowels completely
- anal pain, itching, irritation, and bleeding
- bright red tissue that sticks out of the anus
- pain and discomfort deep within the lower abdomen
- the need to use large quantities of toilet paper to clean up following a bowel motion.
What Causes Rectal Prolapse?
There are a number of risk factors that can trigger Rectal Prolapse, including:
- chronic constipation and/or straining to pass bowel motions
- weakened pelvic floor and/or anal sphincter muscles (particularly in people aged 65 years and over)
- genetic susceptibility or congenital conditions
- existing conditions that increases pressure within the abdomen, such as benign prostatic hypertrophy, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or
- injuries, trauma, disease and/or surgery in the lower back and pelvic floor.
Rectal Prolapse Can Be Treated
The good news is that Rectal Prolapse can often be successfully treated.
At Coregood Physiotherapy we can offer a full range of non-surgical treatment options, and tailor a treatment plan to suit your particular situation and needs.
We employ an extensive range of non-surgical treatment options to diagnose and treat Rectal Prolapse. Our methods can help patients avoid surgical or drug-related treatment altogether, or assist with preparation for and recovery from surgery.
Alongside traditional pelvic floor physiotherapy treatment options and advice on correcting pelvic floor function, we also offer patients treatment using leading edge, non-surgical technology – PelviCenter.
We’re also able to offer effective natural solutions and nutritional advice to help reduce some of the risks (such as chronic constipation) that can lead to Rectal Prolapse.