Rectal Prolapse

Rectal Prolapse: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Precautions, and Treatment

Rectal prolapse is a medical condition that can be distressing and uncomfortable for those affected. This article provides an in-depth understanding of rectal prolapse, including its causes, symptoms, diagnosis, precautions, and the range of treatment options available in India's top hospitals.

Introduction to Rectal Prolapse

Rectal prolapse occurs when a portion of the rectum, which is the lower part of the large intestine, protrudes out of the anus. This can be partial, where only the lining of the rectum protrudes, or complete, where the full thickness of the rectal wall extends outside the anus. It is more common in elderly individuals and women, particularly those who have given birth multiple times.

Causes of Rectal Prolapse

Several factors can contribute to the development of rectal prolapse:

Weakening of Pelvic Muscles:

One of the primary causes is the weakening of the pelvic floor muscles that support the rectum and anus. This weakening can result from age, childbirth, chronic constipation, or repeated straining during bowel movements.

Chronic Constipation:

Frequent and severe constipation can put undue pressure on the rectal area, leading to prolapse over time.

Neurological Disorders:

Conditions that affect the nerves controlling the rectal area, such as multiple sclerosis, can contribute to rectal prolapse.

Straining During Bowel Movements:

Straining to pass stool, often due to constipation or other bowel disorders, can increase the risk of rectal prolapse.

Genetic Predisposition:

Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition to rectal prolapse.

Symptoms of Rectal Prolapse

The symptoms of rectal prolapse can vary in severity and may include:

  • Visible Protrusion: The most noticeable symptom is the protrusion of rectal tissue through the anus.
  • Pain or Discomfort: Patients may experience pain, discomfort, or a feeling of fullness in the rectal area.
  • Bowel Incontinence: In severe cases, patients may struggle with bowel incontinence, making it challenging to control bowel movements.
  • Bleeding: Some individuals may experience bleeding or mucous discharge from the rectum.
  • Difficulty with Bowel Movements: Patients may have difficulty with bowel movements and may need to push the rectal tissue back into place manually.

Diagnosis for Rectal Prolapse

Diagnosing rectal prolapse typically involves a combination of medical history review, physical examination, and diagnostic tests:

Physical Examination:

A healthcare provider will perform a physical examination to assess the extent and severity of the prolapse.


An endoscopy may be conducted to examine the rectum and rule out other potential causes of symptoms.


This procedure may be recommended to check for any underlying bowel conditions.


Defecography is a specialized X-ray procedure that can provide detailed images of the rectum and how it functions during a bowel movement.

Precautions for Rectal Prolapse

While rectal prolapse often requires medical intervention, there are some precautions individuals can take to manage the condition and reduce the risk of worsening symptoms:

  1. Dietary Modifications: A diet rich in fiber can help prevent constipation and reduce straining during bowel movements.
  2. Kegel Exercises: Pelvic floor exercises, known as Kegel exercises, can help strengthen the muscles that support the rectum and anus.
  3. Avoid Straining: Patients should avoid straining during bowel movements and consider stool softeners or laxatives as recommended by a healthcare provider.
  4. Lifestyle Changes: Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise and staying hydrated, can support overall digestive health.

Treatment Options in India's Top Hospitals

India boasts a robust healthcare system with top-tier hospitals offering a variety of treatment options for rectal prolapse, including:

Conservative Management:

In mild cases, dietary and lifestyle modifications, along with medication, may be sufficient to manage symptoms.

Physical Therapy:

Some patients benefit from physical therapy to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

Minimally Invasive Procedures:

India's leading hospitals offer minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopic rectopexy and robotic-assisted surgery for rectal prolapse repair.

Open Surgery:

In severe cases, traditional open surgery may be necessary to correct the prolapse.

Patients are advised to consult with a specialist to determine the most suitable treatment approach based on their individual condition and needs.


In conclusion, rectal prolapse is a treatable condition, and India's top hospitals offer a wide range of treatment options. If you suspect you have rectal prolapse or are experiencing symptoms, it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. Early intervention can lead to better outcomes and an improved quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Rectal prolapse is relatively uncommon but can occur, particularly in elderly individuals and women who have given birth multiple times.

While it may not always be preventable, a high-fiber diet, regular exercise, and avoiding straining during bowel movements can reduce the risk.

No, surgery is not the only option. Mild cases can often be managed with dietary and lifestyle changes or physical therapy.

Recovery time can vary depending on the type of surgery performed but typically ranges from several weeks to a few months.

Yes, complications can include chronic pain, bowel incontinence, and recurrent prolapse if left untreated.

While surgery can effectively treat rectal prolapse, there is a small risk of recurrence.

Surgical risks may include infection, bleeding, and anesthesia-related complications. These risks should be discussed with a healthcare provider before surgery.

Most patients can gradually resume normal activities as they recover, but this should be discussed with the surgeon.

Research and choose a hospital with experienced surgeons specializing in colorectal procedures. Consult with your healthcare provider for recommendations.

Alternative treatments like acupuncture or herbal remedies have not been proven effective for rectal prolapse and should be approached with caution.

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