Rectal prolapse is a condition in which part of the rectum slips down (prolapses)
and protrudes through the anus.
More to Know
The rectum is the last part of the large intestine. It's where stool (poop) is
stored until it leaves the body through the anus as a bowel movement. Certain conditions
can cause the rectum to prolapse, which literally means "to fall out of place." When
this happens, part of the rectum sticks out through the anus.
There are two kinds of rectal prolapse:
With mucosal prolapse, only the lining (mucosa) of the rectum protrudes through
With complete prolapse, the actual wall of the rectum may protrude out as much
as 2 inches (5 centimeters) or more, especially following a bowel movement. Rectal
prolapse is usually painless, but it can cause mild discomfort, bleeding, and loss
of bowel control.
Rectal prolapse most commonly affects young children and the elderly. Treatment
usually requires a doctor to gently push the prolapsed rectum back into place, but
in some cases, particularly with adults, surgery may be needed to correct the condition.
Keep in Mind
A rectal prolapse usually doesn't cause pain, and treating the cause usually
cures the prolapse. About 90% of kids under 3 years old who get rectal prolapse can
be treated without surgery, and in many of those cases a prolapse won't occur again.
Surgery, when necessary, usually is successful.
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