Treatment for Rectal Prolapse

In the early stages of your condition, your doctor may advise you to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables and other foods that contain fibre to try to prevent constipation and reduce straining.

If you have difficulty increasing your dietary fibre they may suggest you take bulking or osmotic laxatives, such as Fybogel, Movicol to help you empty your bowels without straining. Your doctor will also advise you to drink plenty of water, about 1.5-2 litres a day.

In children, rectal prolapse usually gets better without any treatment. Your GP will give you advice on how to get your child into a regular bowel routine. Ensure your child has plenty of fruit and vegetables in their diet, as well as foods that contain fibre. Also ensure your child drinks enough water. Your GP will also advise you on how to push your child’s rectum back into their anus when it prolapses.

Occasionally, your doctor may recommend your child has an injection of a substance called a sclerosant to help destroy the prolapsed tissue or surgery. However, this is only considered if other treatments have not been successful. It will also depend on how old your child is and how serious their condition is.

Surgery

Generally there are two approaches to surgery; the perineal and abdominal approach – either by a repair through the anus without external incision (Delormes procedure) or through an incision in your abdomen (abdominal rectopexy).  The rectopexy can be done laparoscopically with 4 or 5 very small incisions instead of one large incision across your lower abdomen. 

The choice of surgery depends on many factors including age, other health issues, presence of incontinence, surgeon preference and the size of the prolapse. Your surgeon will advise you on the best type of operation for you.

  • Perineal approach – The rectal prolapse can be pulled out through the anal canal and operated on from below.
  • Abdominal approach – By operating from within the abdomen the rectum can be hitched up to prevent it prolapsing down. Abdominal approaches can be carried out either through conventional open wounds or by laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery. The rectum is fixed with either sutures or mesh. Occasionally, it may be planned to remove part of the colon as well.

It’s important to remember that the rectal prolapse may come back after you have surgery by either method. The likelihood of a successful operation will depend on the type of surgery you have and your individual circumstances. It is important therefore to continue to reduce straining after having surgery

Following surgery normal activities can be resumed after 2 weeks but heavy lifting should be avoided for 6 weeks. It is important to avoid constipation and stool softeners and pain killers are usually given at discharge from hospital. 

Further information

The choice of surgery depends on many factors including age, other health issues, presence of incontinence, surgeon preference and the size of the prolapse. Your surgeon will advise you on the best type of operation for you.

Further Information

Rectal Prolapse

Rectal prolapse is when part of your rectum or the lining of your rectum, protrudes through your anus. Find out common causes, symptoms, and details of test and diagnosis.