Rectal prolapse is a condition in which the rectum (the lower end of the colon, located just above the anus) becomes stretched out and protrudes out of the anus.
• Rectal prolapse is a condition in which the rectum (the lower end of the colon, located just above the anus) becomes stretched out and protrudes out of the anus. Weakness of the anal sphincter muscle is often associated with rectal prolapse at this stage, resulting in leakage of stool or mucus. While the condition occurs in both sexes, it is much more common in women than men.
• Several factors may contribute to the development of rectal prolapse. It may come from a lifelong habit of straining to have bowel movements or as a late consequence of the childbirth process. Rarely, there may be a genetic predisposition. It seems to be a part of the aging process in many patients who experience stretching of the ligaments that support the rectum inside the pelvis as well as weakening of the anal sphincter muscle. Sometimes rectal prolapse results from generalized pelvic floor dysfunction, in association with urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse as well. Neurological problems, such as spinal cord transection or spinal cord disease, can also lead to prolapse. In most cases, however, no single cause is identified.
• Is rectal prolapse the same as hemorrhoids? Some of the symptoms may be the same as hemorrhoids: bleeding and/or tissue that protrudes from the rectum. Rectal prolapse, however, involves a segment of the bowel located higher up within the body, while hemorrhoids develop near the anal opening.