Foreign Body, Rectum
- In some cases, the foreign object is close enough to the anus that it can be removed in the emergency department. Doctors know of many tricks to help them with this. One of the big problems with trying to remove rectal foreign bodies is that there is a strong degree of suction between the object and the walls of the rectum.
- Sometimes a tube is passed between the object and the wall of the rectum to try to equalize the pressure as the object is removed. This is uncomfortable, and you will be sedated for this procedure.
- If the object is far into the rectum, it may be necessary for you to go to the operating room in order to have a general anesthetic to enable the object to be removed.
- If you have evidence of infection in the abdomen, or a hole in the bowel, or heavy bleeding from the anus, you may need emergency surgery. In this case, you would be admitted to the hospital.
- In all cases, after the foreign body has been removed, the doctor will want to perform an examination called a sigmoidoscopy. The doctor uses a long, narrow tube (about 16-18 inches long and a little less than an inch wide) to look inside the anus and rectum. This is done in order to be sure that there has not been any damage to the lining of the bowel, either from the initial insertion of the foreign body, or from attempts—both by the person at home and at the hospital—to remove the item.
- In the case of children, an examination should nearly always be performed under anesthesia. This is also true for uncooperative psychiatric patients.
- People who are victims of sexual assault should have very careful examinations performed, to be absolutely sure that there has been no injury to the wall of the bowel. Depending upon the person, this may be best done under general anesthesia.
Next Steps - Follow-up
Return to the doctor's office or emergency department if you develop these complications:
- Abdominal pain
- Rectal bleeding
There should be no limitations on general activity, unless you were sedated in order to remove the object. If so, do not drive for 24 hours afterward. Further rectal insertions should probably be avoided for a few days to allow bruising and swelling to settle.
If you engage in erotic play, then use a vibrator or erotic toy designed for the purpose of insertion into the rectum. These items usually come with a flange to prevent them from slipping into the anus.
- The vast majority of people with a foreign object in their rectum will have more injury to their pride than anything else and will suffer no long-term complications or problems.
- A small number of people will have significant injury. This is seen particularly in cases where the diagnosis is difficult—in the very young and psychiatric patients—or where the person has delayed seeking treatment. Complications may also be present when a violent sexual assault has occurred. These people may develop significant and severe abdominal injury and infection.
- As a result, they may require a colostomy (where the bowel is brought up to the skin surface and the stool is passed into a bag). Or they may require a long stay in the hospital and antibiotics.
- In very rare cases, the injury may be so severe that the person dies of the complications.