If you’re dealing with rectal prolapse or suspect that you might be, you don’t have to navigate this condition on your own. Gastroenterologists and other medical professionals are here to help! Rectal prolapse is the downward sliding of the rectum through the anal canal due to weakened muscles in the pelvic floor. This condition can cause pain and discomfort as well as symptoms such as constipation, bleeding from the anus, and a feeling of incomplete evacuation after bowel movements. Fortunately, successful treatment is available, so patients need to understand what options they have when managing their care. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about rectal prolapse, ranging from its causes and risk factors to surgical procedures that could provide relief.
What is Rectal Prolapse, and What are the Symptoms?
Rectal prolapse is an uncommon medical condition in which the walls of the rectum (the final portion of the large intestine) protrude from the anus. It can occur in both adults and children. However, it is more common in older adults with a history of constipation, prolonged straining during bowel movements, pushing too hard during deliveries, or weakened pelvic muscles due to aging or childbirth. Symptoms associated with rectal prolapse often include problems with bowel movements such as difficulty passing stool or leakage of stool, discomfort and/or pain in the pelvic area, feeling like one’s bowel is still full even after a bowel movement, spotting or bleeding from the rectum and a lump that protrudes from the anus. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect you may have rectal prolapse seek help from a medical professional immediately.
What Causes of Rectal Prolapse, and Who is at Risk for It?
Rectal prolapse is when part of the rectum protrudes from the anus. It is most common in children and elderly adults but can occur at any age. Causes of rectal prolapse include chronic straining during bowel movements, advanced age, weakened or damaged pelvic floor muscles due to childbirth or other trauma, and conditions that increase abdominal pressure, such as excessive weight or constipation. Other risk factors for developing rectal prolapse include:
- Poor nutrition
- Having a genetic predisposition
- Certain medical conditions, such as cystic fibrosis or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
To reduce your chances of developing rectal prolapse, it is important to stay physically active and maintain a healthy diet to avoid constipation. Additionally, it is important to seek medical help if you are experiencing chronic constipation or straining during bowel movements, as this could indicate an underlying problem that may require treatment.
How is Rectal Prolapse Treated?
Treatment for rectal prolapse varies depending on several factors, such as the severity of the condition and underlying causes. Individuals must seek medical advice from their healthcare provider to determine the best treatment for their particular case. Treatment options range from lifestyle modifications to surgical intervention. They may include procedures like a rectal repair or an anal sphincter replacement. Treatment aims to restore normal bowel movements, maintain healthy functioning, and relieve any pain associated with the condition. Furthermore, doctors may offer medications to reduce inflammation and constipation and physical therapy guidance to support weakened muscles in the abdomen and pelvic area.
How Can You Prevent Rectal Prolapse?
Preventing rectal prolapse is possible if you follow simple steps and make key lifestyle changes. It helps to keep the pelvic floor muscles strong. For example, strengthening exercises can help strengthen those muscles and may lessen your risk of developing rectal prolapse. To do these exercises, you can sit with your back against a wall and try to squeeze the pelvic floor muscles for up to 10 seconds at a time for ten reps each day. Additionally, maintaining regular bowel habits by not straining or pushing excessively helps reduce pressure in the area and could help prevent rectal prolapse. Lastly, working closely with a doctor to manage any conditions contributing to rectal prolapses, like obesity, chronic constipation, and lower back pain, can also play a role in prevention. Together, these strategies can go a long way in helping prevent rectal prolapse from occurring.
Rectal Prolapse is a medical disorder involving the rectum and can be very uncomfortable for those affected. It is important for anyone who suspects they are experiencing symptoms of Rectal Prolapse to contact their physician or a Gastroenterologist such as Gastro Florida for an evaluation and diagnosis. Treatment often depends on the severity of the prolapse but may include lifestyle modifications, medications, and/or surgical repair. Healthcare professionals are available to answer any questions regarding potential treatment options. Contact them today to learn more about how Gastro Florida can assist in managing Rectal Prolapse. Always speak directly with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and support tailored to your specific situation. The right diagnostic tools and treatments are available to help manage rectal prolapse. So, if you’re experiencing symptoms, don’t hesitate to get medical attention.