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Foreign Body, Rectum

Rectal Foreign Body Overview

The rectum is that part of the bowel leading to the anus, the opening stool passes through to move outside the body. Any object inserted or present in the rectum or anus should be removed to prevent serious complications.

Rectal Foreign Body Causes

The majority of objects found in the rectum have been introduced through the anus. But sometimes a foreign body may be swallowed, pass through the digestive tract, and eventually get stuck in the rectum.

Common examples found in the rectum include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Bottles
  • Candles
  • Objects designed to be placed in the anus (such as vibrators or dildos)

Foreign bodies may be found in the rectum:

  • In children
  • In psychiatric patients
  • In victims of assault
  • As a result of injury caused by medical practitioners (examples would be broken rectal thermometers or broken enema catheter tips)
  • As a result of an object being used for sexual gratification

Rectal Foreign Body Symptoms

The majority of people with an object in their rectum may have no signs or symptoms. This can make the diagnosis very difficult, especially with children and with psychiatric patients.

In some cases, especially if there has been a delay in seeking medical help, a complication may have developed that causes symptoms. The symptoms most likely to be found include:

If an object has caused acomplication such as peritonitis -- inflammation of the abdominal wall -- you will have a very tender abdomen.

When to Seek Medical Care

Seek emergency medical help if you think you have a foreign object in your rectum and you have abdominal pain, bleeding, or fever.

Otherwise, if you know you have an object in your rectum, or think you do, seek medical help to remove it as soon as is possible.

It is likely that most doctors will not have the equipment in their offices that may be required to safely remove the object. So a hospital's emergency department may be the best place to go.

Exams and Tests

Most doctors will perform a careful history. They will do this in a non-judgmental way, but out of necessity will have to ask some very personal questions.

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