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What happens if we do not treat rectal prolapse? How to treat rectal prolapse?

Goficure - Blog Page - What happens if we do not treat rectal prolapse? How to treat rectal prolapse? (Blog Post) Last Updated March 15, 2024

Overview

Rectal prolapse occurs when the rectum slides out of the anal opening. It usually occurs because the muscles that support the rectum have weakened or have been damaged and can no longer hold it in its original place.

The causes of rectal prolapse can be old age, childbirth, long-term constipation, chronic diarrhea, nerve damage, etc.

Rectal prolapse is often confused with hemorrhoids though they are two separate conditions. The doctor will perform several diagnostic tests like a digital rectal exam, anal ultrasound, anal manometry, and anal electromyography (EMG) to diagnose the condition and recommend treatments.

Is it difficult to poop with rectal prolapse?

There will be discomfort during defecation with rectal prolapse. The prolapse will interfere with the normal bowel movements.

There might be a feeling that the bowels are not empty even after a bowel movement. You may need to strain to empty the bladder and experience pain or rectal bleeding during bowel movements.

Rectal prolapse can lead to fecal incontinence resulting in leakage of blood, stool, and mucus from the anus. As the condition progresses, there may be more difficulty and you may need to manually retract the protruded rectum into the anus.

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Does rectal prolapse go away by itself?

Rectal prolapse in children can go away by treating the conditions causing prolapse such as constipation, diarrhea, or parasite infection. Proper treatment can relax the anal or rectal muscles and relieve the pelvic floor pressure.

In adults, if the prolapse is minor and diagnosed early, the doctor will recommend certain self-care instructions along with laxatives or stool softeners. You may have to push back the rectum manually through the anus. These solutions may help you and you may follow them for several years without major difficulty. Eventually, in adults, the muscles become weak and do not repair themselves and the doctor will recommend surgery to treat the condition.

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What happens if we do not treat rectal prolapse?

In the case of mild rectal prolapse, you can live with the condition for several years by following home remedies.

Your doctor may recommend you use a wet, warm cloth to manually push the rectum back inside the anus. But eventually, the condition will worsen and will lead to several complications:

Severe constipation

As the rectal and anal muscles weaken, it will be increasingly difficult to evacuate the stool.

Fecal incontinence

As the anal muscles stretch, you will find it difficult to hold the stool or gas. There might be stool or gas leaks from the rectum without any warning.

Ulceration

Friction in the rectal mucosal lining may cause rectal ulcers which are bleeding painful sores.

Incarceration

An incarcerated or strangulated rectum may cut off the blood supply (strangulation) and hang out of the anus. This is an emergency condition and needs immediate surgery.

Gangrene

The strangulated part of the rectum that cuts off the blood supply may lead to the death of tissues (gangrene).

Stop your suffering NOW

Don't just jump into a surgery because your doctor is advising you to go for it. Consult our doctors to know if you need a surgery at all. Rest assured, we WON'T recommend you surgery unless it's the last resort.

How to treat rectal prolapse?

Rectal prolapse treatment starts with self-care steps to prevent constipation and straining. If the condition worsens and interferes with your normal activities, your doctor may recommend surgery.

Surgery for rectal prolapse depends on your age, overall health, symptoms, and progression of the condition.

Rectal prolapse surgery types:

Rectopexy (abdominal approach)

This surgery is done using a cut in the lower abdomen. The procedure is done by making a large cut (open surgery) or through a minimally-invasive procedure such as laparoscopy (keyhole surgery) or robotic-assisted surgery.

In laparoscopy, the surgeon makes small incisions in the belly to insert the camera and other surgical equipment. The procedure aims to restore your rectum to its original position inside the pelvis.

The surgeon uses permanent stitches or prosthetic material (mesh) to attach the rectum to the sacrum (the back wall of the pelvis). As the body heals, scar tissues develop, and secures the rectum to its place.

Rectopexy has a 97% success rate with very minimal chances of recurrence.

In case of chronic constipation that might contribute to rectal prolapse, the surgeon may perform a partial bowel resection along with rectopexy where a part of the colon is removed to improve bowel movement function.

Perineal (rectal repair)

A perineal or rectal repair is done when you have a minor rectal prolapse. This procedure is done through the anus when the rectum is stuck outside the body or is incarcerated. It is normally done under epidural anesthesia.

Perineal surgery is of two types:

  • Altemeier procedure where the surgeon removes the prolapsed portion of the rectum. Then the remaining part of the large intestine is sewn into the anus which forms the new rectum
  • Delorme procedure is done when there is a minor external prolapse. The surgeon removes the mucosal lining of the rectum that is prolapsed. The muscle wall is then folded back and stitched with the anal canal

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Final words

Rectal prolapse may not be a major problem in the beginning but can get worse if left untreated for a long time. Maintaining good bowel health, eating fiber-rich food, drinking lots of fluid, pelvic floor exercises, and avoiding constipation can help prevent rectal prolapse.

 

 

Dos
  • Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day
  • Consult a doctor and use stool softeners for constipation if needed
  • Stay active and exercise
Don'ts
  • Strain during bowel movements
  • Put pressure on the rectal area
  • Lift heavy loads

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