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Foreign Body, Rectum

Rectal Foreign Body Overview

The rectum is that part of the bowel leading to the anus, or back passage. Any object may be inserted or present in the rectum or anus. It should be removed to prevent serious complications.

Rectal Foreign Body Causes

Foreign objects found in the rectum and anus seem to be limited only by the human imagination.

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

  • Common examples
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Bottles
    • Candles
    • Objects designed to be placed in the anus (such as vibrators or dildos)
  • Rectal foreign bodies also may be found in the following circumstances:
    • In children
    • In psychiatric patients
    • In victims of assault
    • As a result of injury caused by medical practitioners (examples would be broken rectal thermometers and broken enema catheter tips)
    • As a result of an object 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 in children and in psychiatric patients.

In some cases, especially if there has been a delay in seeking medical attention, a complication may have occurred, which gives rise to symptoms. In this case, these are the symptoms most likely to be found:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Rectal bleeding

Examination may be equally unrevealing. But if you have a complication such as peritonitis—inflammation of the abdominal wall—then you will have a very tender abdomen.

When to Seek Medical Care

If you know you have a foreign body in your rectum, or think you do, seek medical help to remove it as soon as is practicable.

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

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

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WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

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