The first sign of
rectal prolapse is often the unexpected release of
mucus, stool, or blood from the
Other symptoms of rectal prolapse
- A feeling of having full bowels and an urgent
need to have a bowel movement.
- Passage of many very small
- The feeling of not being able to empty the bowels
- An inability to control bowel movements (fecal incontinence) that becomes worse over
- Anal pain, itching, irritation, and
- Bright red tissue that protrudes from the anus.
You may notice tissue slipping out of the anus during a
bowel movement. As the condition becomes worse, tissue may slide out of the
anus when you stand and then may remain outside the anus all the time.
Prolapse of only the lining of the
rectum (partial prolapse ) can be confused with
hemorrhoids. In partial prolapse, rings of red tissue
usually protrude out of the anus while you strain during a bowel movement. In
hemorrhoids, the tissue that protrudes out of or next to the anus may look like
a red or blue lump, and there may be several lumps.
Rectal prolapse that is not treated
can lead to complications.
- Fecal incontinence may become worse. And
permanent damage can occur to the circular muscle that controls the anus (anal sphincter).
- The rectum can become damaged from the tissues
rubbing together, which can result in a sore (ulcer) that may
- Normal blood flow to tissue in the rectum may be cut off. This causes the tissue to die (gangrene).
- If a prolapsed rectum swells,
it may prevent the passage of stools.
- In rare cases, a loop of the large
intestine is pinched off (strangulated), causing blockage of the intestine
Other conditions that can cause symptoms similar to
those of rectal prolapse include
inflammatory bowel disease,
irritable bowel syndrome,
polyps, and colon or rectal cancer. Complications
after surgery for
hemorrhoids or a
fistula also can cause these symptoms.