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Rectal prolapse


Anal or rectal prolapse is a condition caused by an abnormality of the rectum, resulting in difficulty controlling bowel movements or anal incontinence. In this disorder, a portion of the rectum is slightly externalized during defecation. In general, it occurs in the elderly due to aging tissue, and initially occurs only during defecation. Reintroduction is possible between the stools. At a later stage, the prolapse is constant. Extensive efforts during a bowel movement, chronic constipation and physical inactivity promote its appearance. In children, rectal prolapse is also possible, especially in early childhood and in a newborn.


  • The symptoms of rectal prolapse are an externalization of a part of the colon during defecation and some other associated signs:
  • frequent constipation;
  • the absence of pain, but a feeling of discomfort;
  • fecal incontinence sometimes.


The diagnosis of rectal prolapse is easy to make. A physical exam suffices, where the doctor simply observes the presence of externalized red mucosa at the anal margin, a pronounced protrusion of a few centimeters long. The doctor will ask questions about the general condition of the patient and the appearance of constipation or fecal incontinence.


Rectal prolapse in children does not lead to specific complications. You just need to teach the latter to avoid excessive pushing during potty training. In case of constipation, a suitable diet with adequate hydration is necessary and a laxative may be prescribed to facilitate defecation. In adults, the same recommendations are made in cases of constipation. Techniques for strengthening pelvic muscles are sometimes practiced with a physiotherapist. Surgery is considered if the prolapse is too severe.


The prevention of rectal prolapsed in children is assured through counseling and education: no violent pushing during defecation, using the toilet as soon as possible and good hygiene. In all patients, the fight against constipation is also important with a proper diet and lifestyle advice as well as adequate hydration.

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