Protrusion of the rectal mucosa (lining of the RECTUM) through the ANUS. Rectal prolapse often affects women beyond MENOPAUSE who experienced trauma during vaginal CHILDBIRTH and have residual weakness of the pelvic structures. However, rectal prolapse occasionally affects men, usually those who are elderly.
Long-term, chronic CONSTIPATION is a common factor when rectal prolapse occurs in women who have not given birth or in men. Prolapse of other pelvic organs, such as the BLADDER (CYSTOCELE), is also common. Rectal prolapse generally is apparent with physical examination, though the doctor often will perform sigmoidoscopy to rule out other conditions. Treatment is surgery to repair the rectal wall.