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Rectal Prolapse


A rectal prolapse is a condition that causes your rectum to come through your anus. The rectum is the end of your bowel. A prolapse may happen during a bowel movement. A prolapse may happen more often in women after childbirth or who are older than 50 years.


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) for any of the following:

  • You have trouble breathing.
  • Your heart is beating faster than usual.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • You have severe pain in your abdomen.
  • Your abdomen looks bigger than usual.
  • Blood from your rectum soaks through your underwear.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You see larger amounts of blood in your bowel movement than before.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Stool softeners help prevent constipation.
  • Laxatives help your intestines relax and loosen to prevent constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

How to do a manual reduction:

Manual reduction is a procedure you can do to place your rectum back inside of your anus. Your healthcare provider will show you how to do a manual reduction. You may need a family member to help you with manual reduction. The following are general steps to follow. Your healthcare provider may give you specific steps to follow.

  • Your healthcare provider may tell you to apply sugar to your rectum before manual reduction. This may help decrease the swelling of your rectum, and make it easier to put back inside your anus. Ask your provider about how to apply sugar to your rectum.
  • Lie on your back with your knees bent.
  • Wash your hands and put on gloves. Lubricate your glove with petroleum jelly.
  • Hold your rectum on both sides of the anus. Gently apply firm, steady pressure on your rectum and push it into your anus. You may need to apply pressure for several minutes if the bowel is swollen. Inspect your anus. You can use a mirror or have your family member inspect your anus. You should not see the rectum. If a prolapse happens again, you can repeat manual reduction.
  • You can hold the rectum in place with gauze and tape across your buttocks. Before you apply gauze, place a quarter size amount of petroleum jelly on the gauze. The petroleum jelly will prevent the gauze from sticking to your rectum. Remove the gauze as directed by your healthcare provider.

Prevent a rectal prolapse:

  • Eat more high-fiber foods. This may help decrease constipation by adding bulk and softness to your bowel movements. Your healthcare provider can help you create a meal plan that includes high-fiber foods. High fiber foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads, and cooked beans.

  • Increase the amount of liquid you drink. Liquids can help keep your bowel movements soft and prevent constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid you should drink each day.
  • Exercise your pelvic muscles. Kegel exercises strengthen the pelvic muscles. These exercises involve tightening and relaxing vaginal and rectal muscles. Kegel exercises can make the rectal muscles stronger and improve bowel control. Ask your healthcare provider for more information on how to do Kegel exercises.
  • Do not sit for long amounts of time. You may put too much pressure on your anus. Pressure on your anus may cause a rectal prolapse.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Rectal Prolapse (Aftercare Instructions)

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