Rectal prolapse is defined as the slipping or falling down of the tissue lining the rectum either into the rectal opening or protruding from the anus. The rectum is the distal end of the large colon that connects to the anus. The condition occurs most often in children younger than 6 years of age and in elderly people. Contact your health care provider if a rectal prolapse occurs. He may advise home treatment or request you be seen in the medical office or emergency department.
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Kegel exercises may be useful in rectal prolapse, dependent on the severity of the condition and with the recommendation of your health care provider. When undergoing a medical examination for the conditions, a manual rectal exam will be performed. Less often, the rectal prolapse may be internal, making diagnosis of the condition more difficult. With an internal prolapse, diagnosis is made through the use of specialized x-rays and a manometer to measure function of muscles in the anorectal area. Your health care provider will recommend either home care or make a referral to a surgeon for surgical repair of the rectum.
A diverse set of conditions can lead to rectal prolapse, including constipation, cystic fibrosis, pinworms, malnutrition, prior injury to the pelvis or anus, or whipworm infection as stated by MedlinePlus. Chronic constipation is more likely to cause rectal prolapse than occasional, episodic constipation. Spinal cord injury or surgery may precipitate rectal prolapse as can a long-standing habit of straining to have a bowel movement. Determination of treatment depends in part on the cause of the prolapse. Pelvic muscle exercises would not be useful in prolapse resulting from permanent neurological damage to the involved muscles.
Reddish-colored tissue may protrude from the anus, especially after a bowel movement. Small amounts of rectal bleeding may be noted periodically. Depending on the severity of the prolapse, fecal incontinence may occur.
Kegel exercises are used to strengthen pelvic floor muscles. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists explains the procedure: Squeeze the muscles used to stop urine and prevent a bowel movement. Hold for 10 seconds. Release and repeat for up to 50 times a day for four to six weeks. It's important that you are tightening only the muscles of the pelvic floor, not your buttocks or other areas. Remember to breathe during the Kegel exercises; avoid holding your breath.