Are you struggling with an inability to control your bowel movements, meanwhile feeling like your bowels are never quite empty? You could have a rectal prolapse. This is a condition in which part of the large intestine, or colon, slips down into the rectum due to the weakening of the tissues around the intestine. Rectal prolapse can be quite a nuisance, but it is something that doctors regularly diagnose and treat. Here's a look at what the diagnosis and treatment typically involve.
Diagnosing Rectal Prolapse
If you suspect you have rectal prolapse, the first thing your doctor will typically do is a digital rectal exam. In this exam, they will insert a gloved finger into your rectum to feel the inside walls of the organ. This may be a little uncomfortable, but it should not hurt.
If your doctor feels anything resembling a prolapse, then they will typically follow up with an instrument called an anal manometer. This device is inserted into your rectum and then inflated to expand the area. This allows the doctor to take a closer look at your rectum. It also reports how much pressure you're able to exert with your anal sphincter muscles, which can give the doctor an idea of the severity of your condition.
Treatment for Rectal Prolapse
If your doctor finds that you do, indeed, have rectal prolapse, then they will likely schedule surgery. In the meantime, they'll give you a few things to do in order to stay comfortable and minimize symptoms.
You may be put on a high-fiber, high-water diet, which will soften your stools and make constipation less of a worry. Your doctor may also give you suppositories that you can use when you struggle to empty your bowels.
When your surgery date does come, the surgery will generally be performed through your anus, so you won't have any major incisions. The surgeon will use sutures, surgical mesh, or both to secure and reposition your large intestine, preventing it from falling back into your rectum. They may also tighten the anal sphincter with a few stitches.
You'll likely be prescribed pain relievers to take for a few days after surgery. Stool softeners will make it easier to defecate as you heal. However, most patients are surprised by how much better they feel within just a few days.
For more information on rectal prolapse treatment, contact a professional or a company near you.