How Is Rectal Prolapse Diagnosed?
During an initial physical exam, the strength of the anal sphincter may be checked. The anal and rectal area may be visually examined with either a sigmoidoscopy or a colonoscopy. A barium enema is sometimes done to check for ulcers, tumors, or other intestinal abnormalities. With children, a sweat test may be performed to check for cystic fibrosis.
What Are Treatment Options?
In children, rectal prolapse often goes away with little or no intervention. It may be helpful for parents to use a special potty-training toilet to minimize instances of straining during bowel movements. Adults may benefit from Kegel exercises to control rectal prolapse by strengthening pelvic floor muscles. Dietary changes may also be recommended to reduce issues with constipation.
If initial treatment efforts for rectal prolapse aren't effective, surgery is usually the only option. The most common procedure involves attaching the rectum to pelvic floor muscles or the sacrum – the lower part of the spine. Another possibility is to remove part of the large intestine that's not supported by adjacent tissues. Both procedures are sometimes performed at the same time.
Rectal prolapse isn't always preventable, especially if it's caused, in part, by an existing biological defect. But the risk of developing a serious issue with a misplaced rectum may be minimized by taking steps to avoid constipation as much as possible. This usually means eating more fiber-rich foods, drinking more water, and maintaining a healthy weight.