Rectal prolapse is the protrusion of the rectum through the anal canal and outside the anus. It is a socially debilitating condition and patients can experience an array of debilitating symptoms including faecal incontinence, constipation and obstructed defecation that can have a significant impact on their quality of life.
There are two types of rectal prolapse:
- Internal prolapse where the rectum is not yet protruding through the anus
- External prolapse where the rectum is protruding through the anus
Rectal prolapse is six times more common in women than in men. The exact cause of rectal prolapse is unknown. However, there are several anatomical and physiological factors that contribute to the development of rectal prolapse. These factors include an abnormal laxity of the internal and external anal sphincters and the pelvic floor muscles, weak fixation of the rectum to adjacent pelvic structures, redundant sigmoid, and chronic constipation.