Yes, you can poop with rectal prolapse. The bowel movements, however, may be difficult because the prolapse perturbs the normal continuity of the bowel structure. You may need to strain during bowel movements. There may be bleeding or pain during bowel movements. You may feel that you have not emptied the bowels. The prolapsed rectum stretches the anal wall. This can lead to fecal incontinence or the leakage of stools, mucus, or blood through the anus. As the prolapse progresses, you may have more difficulty during bowel movements. The prolapsed mass may have to be manually retracted into the anus. Advanced rectal prolapse is often associated with constipation.
What is rectal prolapse?
Rectal prolapse is the sliding down of the rectum (the last part of the large bowel) from its normal position and protruding out of the body. The prolapse may involve either the superficial lining or full thickness of the rectal wall sliding down through the anus. The degree of prolapse varies depending on the extent of the protrusion. Rectal prolapse occurs when the supporting tissues that keep the rectum in its place become week. The prolapsed rectum may stay out of the anus or slide down only when the abdominal pressure is increased, such as during bowel movements. Rectal prolapse can affect anyone. However, it is more common in women older than 50 years of age.
What are the symptoms of rectal prolapse?
The symptoms of rectal prolapse include:
- Feeling a mass or bulge coming out of the anus, especially during coughing, straining, or sneezing
- Leakage of mucus from the anus
- Fecal incontinence (inability to control bowel movements)
- Anal pain, itching, or irritation
- A feeling of incomplete bowel emptying
- Bleeding through the anus
- Abdominal (belly) pain
What causes rectal prolapse?
Rectal prolapse more often affects older women (women in their 60s). It may happen whenever the supporting tissues of the rectum are damaged or weakened. Although rectal prolapse is more common in older individuals, younger people with this condition may have other chronic health problems. The risk of rectal prolapse may be increased by any of the following factors:
- Long-term constipation
- A habit of straining during bowel movements
- Laxative abuse
- Long-term diarrhea
- Spinal cord problems or a history of stroke
- Cystic fibrosis (a genetic condition affecting various glands in the body causing severe damage to the gut, pancreas, and lungs)
- Dementia (a chronic mental health condition causing memory disorders, impaired reasoning, and personality changes)
- Surgeries involving the pelvic area, such as a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus)
- Certain chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
What happens if rectal prolapse is left untreated?
Rectal prolapse should not be ignored. You must seek medical help as untreated prolapse can progress to cause complications, such as:
- Strangulation (the prolapse may keep progressing cutting off the blood supply to the rectum. It is a painful condition that needs urgent medical attention)
- Gangrene (death and decay of the strangulated portion of the rectum)
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Cleveland Clinic. Rectal Prolapse. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14615-rectal-prolapse
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