Any protrusion of the walls of the colon through the anus is called rectal prolapse, though there are other types, including intra-rectal intussusception, where the walls of the rectum move forward but do not extend into the anal canal. Rectal prolapse occurs more commonly in older women, but it may occur at any age in any gender. This is not to be confused with prolapsing hemorrhoids. While this condition is rarely life-threatening, it may be very uncomfortable. You may have a history of a protruding mass, a certain degree of fecal incontinence that may be nothing more than a mucous discharge, a feeling of having to go just after you have used the toilet, rectal bleeding, diarrhea and erractic bowel habits.
Precise causes of rectal prolapse are not known. Some say it is the result of a sliding hernia through a pelvic fascial defect. It has been shown that it begins as a circumferential intussusception of the rectum that increases over time. Most patients have a long history of constipation, so it is believed that excessive straining may be a cause or contribute to the prolapse. And, since rectal prolapse, itself, causes functional blockage, you should call us immediately to make an appointment at (860) 826-3880.
The only completely curative treatment for a rectal prolapse is surgery. But if the prolapse is minor, we will consider dietary adjustments and other means to reduce straining.
Surgical treatment is often required to prevent further damage to the anal sphincters. Our goal is to restore the normal anatomy and to minimize symptoms. We will discuss with you the differences between perineal and abdominal surgery.