Rectal prolapsed is a condition in which part, or all, of the wall of the rectum slides out of place. Early in the condition, the rectum does not protrude from the body, but as the condition progresses, protrusion is seen. Rectal prolapsed may result in leakage of stool or mucus. The condition occurs in both sexes, although it is more common in women than men.
Rectal prolapsed has several contributing factors, including straining upon defecation, or the stresses of childbirth. Increased age, a weakening of the ligaments supporting the rectum and loss of sphincter tightness are also risk factors.
Symptoms of rectal prolapsed, which can be the same as hemorrhoids, include bleeding and rectal protrusion, although the underlying anatomical issue is different. In rectal prolapsed, a portion of the bowel higher within the body is involved (can be 1-6 inches or more), while hemorrhoids develop only near the anus (1/2 to 1 inch).
A patient history, as well as diagnostic testing, can assist in making a rectal prolapsed diagnosis. A patient may be asked to strain as if having a bowel movement so that the prolapsed may be witnesses. If a prolapsed is internal, and exam may be performed called a defecogrphy, which a series of x-rays taken while the patient simulates a bowel movement to evaluate the rectumand anal sphincter. Anorectal manometry, a test that measures whether or not the muscles around the rectum are functioning normally, may also be used.
Surgery is usually necessary to repair rectal prolapsed; which kind depends upon the condition of the patient and the extent of the prolapsed. Surgery is typically very successful in cases of rectal prolapse.
Your surgeon may choose to perform a sigmoid resection and rectopexy, which involves removing the sigmoid colon through an incision in the abdomen. The then the rectum is anchored to the sacrum, a bony structure attached to the lower spine and pelvis. In most cases this is done laparoscopically.
In some cases, the surgeon may perform a perineal proctectomy, which is done through an incision in the rectum. While this is less invasive and recovery is quicker, this procedure produces much lower long-term success rates. This may be an option for persons of advanced age or ill health.
As with hemorrhoids, it is very important for patients to avoid constipation and straining.