Symptoms and Signs of Rectal Prolapse

Doctor's Notes on Rectal Prolapse

Prolapse is a medical term that means that a body part has slipped or fallen down from its normal location. Rectal prolapse is when the rectum, the lowest part of the large intestine, falls down out of place and into or outside of the anus. Weakening of the muscles and other support structures in the area, due to advancing age or other causes, is the cause of rectal prolapse. Other causes may be a long-term history of diarrhea or constipation, or nerve damage to the nerves in the area.

Symptoms of rectal prolapse are the feeling that something in the rectum or anus is out of place or abnormal. There may be a portion of the rectum visible as a red mass outside of the anal opening. Sometimes a prolapsed rectum will return to its normal location. Associated signs and symptoms can include rectal pain, bleeding from the rectum, leakage of stool or mucus, and feeling a bulge in or outside of the anus.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

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