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Symptoms and Signs of Foreign Body in Rectum

Doctor's Notes on Foreign Body in Rectum

The rectum is the end segment of the large intestine (the bowel) just inside the anus. Any type of object inserted into the anus may become stuck in the rectum. In some cases, a foreign body is swallowed and passes through the digestive tract, eventually getting stuck in the rectum. Foreign bodies can be anything from bottles, candles, fruits and vegetables, medical devices (a broken rectal thermometer or broken enema catheter tip), or sex toys such as vibrators or dildos.

Most people with an object in their rectum may have no signs or symptoms, which can make a diagnosis difficult, especially in children and in psychiatric patients. When treatment is delayed, complications may arise. Symptoms of complications of a foreign body in the rectum include abdominal pain or tenderness, nausea, vomiting, fever, and rectal bleeding.

Medical Author: John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Foreign Body in Rectum 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 experienced by the patient:

Examination may be equally unrevealing. But if the patient has a complication such as peritonitis (inflammation of the inner lining of the abdominal wall) then he or she will have a very tender abdomen.

Foreign Body in Rectum 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 stuck in the rectum.

Common examples of foreign objects in the rectum include:

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

Foreign objects in the rectum 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 professionals (examples would be a broken rectal thermometer and broken enema catheter tips)
  • As a result of an object used for sexual gratification

Digestive Disorders What Your Poop Type and Color Mean Slideshow

Digestive Disorders What Your Poop Type and Color Mean Slideshow

It can be hard to describe your poop, so doctors use a scale to show the different kinds. It's called the Bristol stool chart, and it gives you an idea of how long a stool spent in your bowel before heading out.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

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