Rectal
Prolapse

Don't live with a Rectal Prolapse

Do you feel an abnormal bulge at your anus that wasn’t there before? This could be a sign of rectal prolapse.

The rectum is the part of the body that holds the stool until it is defecated. It is located just above the anus and separated from the anal opening by the pelvic diaphragm. Rectal prolapse is a condition where the rectum slips from its original place down towards the anus. When the rectum prolapses, it either comes out fully (complete or full-thickness prolapse), comes out part-way (partial prolapse), or moves out-of-place but stays within the anus (internal rectal prolapse). The rectum needs to be returned to its place to ensure that it doesn’t get damaged and you don’t develop any long-term complications.

The team at Huntington Colorectal Surgeons has helped many patients with rectal prolapse. We understand how inconvenient it can be to live with rectal prolapse. Our treatments are designed to quickly reverse the prolapse, ensuring your rectum is back where it belongs and functions as it should.

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Is a rectal prolapse a
medical emergency?

While a rectal prolapse looks serious, it usually isn’t a medical emergency. As the rectum bulges out of the anus, it turns inside-out, making it appear more frightening and serious than it is. If the rectum goes out, is painful, and cannot be pushed back in, call your doctor or head to the nearest urgent care or emergency room. A prolapse that may be easily pushed back in doesn’t usually require emergency care.

However, this is no excuse to leave your rectal prolapse untreated. If the prolapse remains out for an extended period, it can:

  • Cause damage to the rectal walls, leading to scarring, ulceration, and bleeding of the rectum.
  • Stop blood flow to the rectum and lead to strangulation of the organ.
  • Result in the rectum decaying and needing complete removal.
  • Stretch the anal sphincter muscles and result in or worsen fecal incontinence.

Dr. Howard Kaufman, Dr, Gabriel Akopian and Dr. Juliane Golan are all highly-experienced at reversing rectal prolapse. They are renowned across Pasadena for their expertise and professionalism. They will provide a highly-customized treatment that meets your unique medical requirements and reverses the rectal prolapse.

Why does rectal
prolapse occur?

The most common reason for rectal prolapse is a weak pelvic floor. Other reasons for rectal prolapse include:

  • Prolonged diarrhea or constipation, which exerts pressure on the rectum.
  • A tendency to strain the rectal muscles when you defecate.
  • Old age.
  • Tissue injury to the colorectal area.
  • Nerve damage that prevents contraction of the pelvic muscles.
  • The strain on the rectum due to pregnancy and childbirth.

Medical conditions like:

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Diabetes
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Parasitic infections

Signs of a rectal
prolapse

  • The rectum is visible through the anal opening – may be most obvious during and after a bowel movement, but some may occur at rest, especially with
  • sitting.
  • Feeling of having an obstruction in the anus.
  • Pain when defecating.
  • Bleeding of the lining of the rectum.
  • Fecal incontinence.
  • Discomfort when walking, biking, sitting, etc.

Rectal prolapse often resembles hemorrhoids during the initial stages of the condition, but hemorrhoids don’t have severe symptoms as the prolapse. This is why you need to keep track of these signs and visit our Pasadena colorectal surgeons immediately for treatment.

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Consultation

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Diagnosing rectal prolapse

Our medical professionals diagnose rectal prolapse manually. They will ask you to remove your underpants and squat. Then they will use their gloved finger to identify the presence of the prolapse.

If the prolapse is internal and above the anus, a colonoscopy may be used to diagnose the condition. Additional tests that may be indicated include MR defecography (specialized MRI of the pelvic floor), 3-D anorectal physiology (testing the muscles and nerves controlling anorectal function), and 3-D anal ultrasound (to view the anal muscle).

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Minimally-invasive surgical intervention
for rectal prolapse

Surgery is the only effective way to reverse a rectal prolapse. Our colorectal experts at Huntington Colorectal Surgeons are some of the San Gabriel Valley’s most-experienced providers of laparoscopic and robotic surgery.

We will access the prolapse through tiny incisions on the abdomen. Using specialized tools, we pull the rectum back into place and secure it to surrounding structures to prevent recurrence of prolapse.

This surgery may be accomplished as an outpatient or with a short (usually one night) hospital stay.

To decide which treatment is more suitable for you, we first conduct a comprehensive medical evaluation and then decide the right course of treatment.

Does a rectal prolapse return after treatment?

After robotic surgery, rectal prolapse may recur in up to 5% of patients. Weak pelvic tissues and continued straining lead to higher recurrence rates. For the majority, once they get the prolapse reversed, they can continue to live life as usual. For more information, please speak to our Pasadena colorectal surgeons.

Associated conditions

Many patients with rectal prolapse also experience constipation and/or fecal incontinence. Many of these conditions improve or are fully reversed after successful surgical treatment of rectal prolapse.

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