Prolapse seems to be rare, but it’s actually probably underreported, and it occurs in women six times as often as men. It’s not life-threatening, but it can negatively impact your quality of life.
In Kingwood, Texas, Dr. Ronald Ambe of Texas Surgical Care provides care for patients with rectal prolapse, and can provide surgical intervention if your condition becomes too disruptive to your life.
Types of rectal prolapse
There are three types of rectal prolapse:
1. Internal prolapse
Your rectum, which is the last part of the large intestine and connects to your anus, can start to stretch and collapse internally. You won’t see any tissue extruding from your anus, but you might have difficulty pooping and think you’re constipated.
2. Mucosal prolapse
The lining of your rectum is mucousy and stretchy. If the lining stretches and separates a little from the rectum, parts of it can be pushed out through the anus when you poop. At first, the lining will retract back into the anus on its own. Later, you might have to push it back inside with your fingers.
3. External prolapse
Advanced prolapse can lead to the entire rectum pushing through your anus and hanging outside of your body. It might look like a big round ball of red and pink flesh with white lines and blue veins running across it. Again, it might pop back inside after a bowel movement, or you might have to replace it physically. The rectum can get in the way of your poop, especially if you’re constipated.
Causes of rectal prolapse
You can end up with rectal prolapse after long-term bowel issues, like diarrhea, constipation, or constantly straining when you poop. Nerve damage from pregnancy, childbirth, an accident, or a spinal injury can also cause prolapse. Women older than 50 are the most likely to have rectal prolapse, due to trauma from pregnancy and vaginal childbirth, especially if they’ve had multiple children.
Solutions for rectal prolapse
Depending on how severe your prolapse is, there are several solutions.
Preventing further rectal prolapse
Rectal prolapse prevention generally focuses on avoiding straining when you poop. You can soften your stool by eating high-fiber fruits and vegetables, hydrating well, staying at a healthy weight, and getting regular exercise. As you age, you may want to ask your doctor for stool softeners or laxative advice, and avoid heavy lifting, which can cause strain on your anal sphincter.
Rectal prolapse surgery
If your rectal prolapse is advanced and making your life too complicated and uncomfortable, Dr. Ambe can perform a surgical procedure to return your rectum to its proper place, tacking it in so it stops falling out. If necessary, he can remove small portions to straighten the pathway for fecal matter to exit the body, and tighten your sphincter for better control.
Are you tired of the effects of rectal prolapse on your life, and ready to discuss surgical options? Give Texas Surgical Care a call at 832-280-6782, or schedule an appointment online with us today.