Bowel prolapse (anal/rectal prolapse)

Bowel prolapse occurs when part of the large intestine slips outside the anus.

Overview

Bowel prolapse occurs when part of the large intestine slips outside the anus. Risk factors include, among others, haemorrhoids and weakness of the sphincter muscle. Typical symptoms include anal itching and faecal incontinence. Preventive measures include a high-fibre diet; bowel prolapse can otherwise be repaired by surgery.

Symptoms

Main symptoms

  • A mass of intestinal tissue protruding from the anus

Other symptoms

  • Anal itching
  • Incontinence
  • Faecal incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Bleeding pressure sores around the anus

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Long-standing constipation with strong pressing during bowel movements
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Weakened pelvic floor (e.g. after giving birth)
  • Weakened sphincter muscle

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Rectoscopy
Possible therapies
  • Treatment of haemorrhoids
  • Operation (anchoring of intestinal tissue to pelvis)

What can I do myself?

  • Make sure to eat enough plant-based foods (fibre)
  • Pelvic floor exercises
  • Do not push too hard or long during bowel movements
  • Have haemorrhoids treated at an early stage

When to see a doctor?

  • If a mass of intestinal tissue emerges from the anus
  • If you have prolonged faecal incontinence
  • If you have pain around your anus
  • If there is blood in your stools

Synonyms

anal prolapse, rectal prolapse

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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