How to Alleviate 5 Rectal Prolapse Symptoms

Rectal prolapse symptoms are often distressing – they can impact on quality of life and self esteem. These Physiotherapist techniques can help manage and provide relief from commonly prolapsed rectum symptomsexperienced rectal prolapse symptoms including soiling, bulging, constipation and wetness.

Read on now for these rectal prolapse symptoms:

  • Anal bulge
  • Faecal incontinence and staining
  • Constipation
  • Rectal Pain
  • Rectal bleeding

Help for Rectal Prolapse Symptoms

Rectal prolapse symptoms can be classified into two groups; symptoms associated directly with the rectal prolapse, and symptoms that develop indirectly as a result of associated difficulties with cleanliness and hygiene. The symptoms most commonly experienced with rectal prolapse usually become more noticeable as the prolapse worsens.

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1. Anal Bulge or Protrusion

The main rectal prolapse symptom is a bulge or protrusion of red coloured tissue from the anus. It is common for this protrusion to become evident after a bowel movement, and in the initial stages the bulge may retract or draw back inside the anus upon standing.

In the case of more severe rectal prolapse, the rectal bulge becomes more apparent with heavy lifting, coughing or sneezing. In the most severe stages of rectal prolapse, the rectal protrusion is often evident during everyday activities such as standing and walking and doesn’t retract back inside the anus. When the rectal prolapse stays outside the rectum, this is a medical emergency and requires immediate medical assessment and treatment.

Tips to minimise rectal prolapse strain

  • Avoid constipation and straining using good bowel emptying technique.
  • Manage your body weight to minimise pressure on your prolapse.
  • Strengthen your pelvic floor muscles with rectal prolapse exercises to support your prolapse.
  • Use your pelvic floor muscles to brace against increased pressure caused by coughing or sneezing.
  • Stay fit and strong with pelvic floor safe exercises for prolapse.
  • Avoid compromising positions such as deep squats.
  • Avoid heavy lifting and prolonged standing.

2. Faecal Incontinence and Staining

Rectal prolapse symptoms include faecal incontinence or involuntary loss of bowel contents. Incontinence of faeces may range from stained underwear and difficulty wiping clean, to loss of liquid and sometimes solid faeces. The rectal prolapse stretches and opens the anus, causing loss of faeces.

The protruding rectal tissue can be very difficult to clean after bowel movements. This problem can be socially embarrassing with the odour from unwanted leakage. Furthermore painful skin breakdown and risk of infection can increase around the anus with faecal incontinence.

Loss of mucous from the anus is also associated with rectal prolapse. It can be very difficult for those affected by rectal prolapse to clean and stay clean. The mucous secreting inner folds of the rectum become exposed externally with the rectal prolapse, causes a feeling of constant wetness with ongoing mucous discharge from the rectum.

Tips to minimise faecal incontinence and staining

  • Keep your stool consistency soft and well formed – a loose stool is more likely to leak.
  • Use the correct bowel emptying technique for complete emptying without straining.
  • Alcohol–free moist wipes or towelettes can assist cleaning.
  • Make your last wipe a moist one.
  • Try to establish a good bowel habit routine to empty at a convenient time.
  • Speak with your doctor about your suitability for using of a gentle suppository to empty any remaining bowel residue.
  • Try to avoid bowel irritants such as caffeine and spicy foods.
  • Use a barrier cream around the anus to protect skin against breakdown.
  • A plain eye make-up removal pad can provide a barrier for odour and mucous leakage

3. Constipation

Constipation is a frequently reported rectal prolapse symptom. Sometimes it is necessary for manual assistance using the fingers to help empty the bowels completely. A straining pattern of bowel emptying is often habitual with rectal prolapse. A feeling of incomplete emptying with the sense of contents still remaining in the rectum after moving the bowels can also accompany rectal prolapse.

Tips for managing constipation with a rectal prolapse

  • Never ignore the urge to empty your bowels if constipated – go immediately upon sensing the urge to empty.
  • Use an appropriate bowel emptying technique to help empty effectively and avoid straining.
  • Allow yourself the quiet time to empty rather than rushing.
  • Deep breathing can help to relax the anal sphincter muscles to allow emptying.
  • Always have breakfast and a warm drink to stimulate your bowels.
  • Ensure that your diet is well balanced with appropriate fibre intake – this is often trial and error for many individuals.
  • Ensure your fluid intake is adequate.
  • Perform regular pelvic floor exercises.
  • Perform regular pelvic floor safe low-impact exercises.
  • Use relaxation techniques such as deep breathing to help manage stress levels.

4. Rectal Pain

Rectal prolapse can be associated with a dull ache in the rectum, but not in all cases and this is a variable symptom from one individual to another. Pain can also occur with rectal ulceration which may be associated with rectal prolapse. Ulceration usually occurs on the front wall of the rectum, and can also be accompanied by rectal bleeding. Rectal pain must be investigated by a medical practitioner.

5. Rectal Bleeding

Bleeding of the lining of the rectum may be associated with rectal prolapse, but once again this is a variable symptom of rectal prolapse. Rectal bleeding can be symptomatic of other serious medical problems and needs to be investigated by a medical practitioner.

Important Information: If you experience any of the symptoms listed here, or if your suspect you may have a rectal prolapse, a thorough medical assessment is essential. If you have already undergone a thorough medical assessment, treatment from a trained Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist or Continence and Women’s Health Physiotherapist can assist your further management of rectal prolapse symptoms.

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  1. Is there any other healing modality that would help manage a continuous burning sensation & sharp stabbing pain for a 90 year old female who’s rectal prolapse is out 24/7? Doctors have vetoed surgery, stating pain management is only option. My mother’s quality of life is practically non existent !
    None of Pain meds even take the edge off, no cream works & she is stressed to the max!! It’s a completely joyless existence & my siblings & I feel so helpless as to know what to do. The medical profession cannot seem to help her so any suggestions would be most appreciated!!

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      Hi Gail
      This sounds truly debilitating and distressing for all involved. Gail the only real solution for protruding rectal prolapse to my knowledge is surgery (rectum from anus). The big question is why surgery has been vetoed, is it because of the risk with general anaesthetic owing to her age? This is what I would be asking and then proceed from there, perhaps along the lines of finding out whether surgery could be performed under other type of anaesthesia e.g. epidural? Then it would be a matter of finding a specialist willing to help. Perhaps another reader may be able to provide more insight here too? All the best Gail

      • Thank you for your comment.
        Mostly vetoed because of her age & her dementia.
        Her geriatric specialist has recommended some palliative care support,
        it’s already been 2 weeks since this decision & still mum suffers, we cannot
        understand why everything takes so long to organise, even new pain meds
        takes up to a week to implement, in the meantime mum continues to suffer.
        They are talking about mum now needs a syringe driver, whatever that is.
        They are always coming up with suggestions but nothing is put into action

        • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

          Gail this must be so frustrating and difficult to watch for you and your family, the syringe driver should make your mum feel much more comfortable> I hope this happens soon, best wishes to you

      • Thank you for your comment,much appreciated

        • I use baby oil that what my mum has taught me and my sisters.. first go under a cold water make sure that you water the area and put baby oil on it and slowly push it in, bit by bit it hurts but it does the job.. once its in close your legs and lay down for a but.. because it can sometimes slip out

  2. I have excessive flatulence and this condition makes it way worse. Help!!!

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Kirith Yes constipation can make flatulence and bloating worse. This information should help you manage better – assuming that you’ve been checked by your doctor and given the all clear for any contributing medical issue, then diet is a very important part of management see here for constipation managementand here for diet to reduce flatulence. I hope this information is helpful for you

  3. Hi! I am currently 37+3 weeks pregnant with my second baby and I’ve been suffering from rectal prolapse for the last few months. It has become quite painful and so bothersome I am afraid for labour to start as I can’t imagine having to push out a baby while my rectum is already protruding. I wonder if you can advise me whether going through with natural labour could cause nerve damage and long-term complications and if it could be a better option to have a c-section to try and avoid further problems? Any advise will be greay appreciated!

    • Michelle Kenway Physiotherapist says

      Hi Wiona

      Yes I totally understand your concern. I think you really need to discuss this with your obstetrician, I’m not sure which country you’re writing from however in Australia some women with prolapse issues have cesarean section to minimise further trauma to the pelvic floor. Have you seen a colorectal specialist regarding this prolapse? I think it would be very helpful to have the advice of such a specialist as soon as possible.

      Wish I could help more Wiona but this is really a specialist issue.

      Best wishes

  4. I had cramps in my stomach tonight then diarreha there was muicus and little bit of blood then had bulged out anis had hard time wiping myself I pushed the bulged anis back in feel terrible and I’m uncomfortable

  5. Hi Michelle you mentioned Los of mucous substance with rectal prolapse . Does it happen for everybody and does it happen when rectal is outside or does it secrete from inside too and is it clear or thick in consistency as I suffer from rectal prolapse but it goes back in and OCD too and have been stressing about wet stains but I always thought it was sweat as it did not have any residue just clear and would dry after a while. Thanks

  6. I am so glad I found this site. What great information!

  7. Hi Michelle.
    I have rectocele, can you recommend which exercise video would be best for me?
    I love to move, this would be very helpful.
    Thank you. Mary Ann

  8. i have had the rectal prolapse for at least 3 years. i was shown how to exercise them, but at this time i have gastritis and my rectum sometimes will not go back in. i feels awful and i would like more information about more exercises and what kind of medicine could help me feel ok. this started to happen like 3 months ago now that i am with the gastritis problem it is causing me so much pain and would appreciate anybody can help me feel better.i hope you can show a video or tell me what medications would help me. thanks for all your advice . iI am afraid of having any kind of surgery especially because i am 76 years old and do not have money since here it is very expensive. thanks again for all your help. miss orallia god bless you.

  9. please sir suggest me the exercise which should be done in mucosal rectal prolapse

  10. What is the difference between rectal bulging and a rectocele? And how does one deal with the latter, the (early easy ) p. floor exercises are harder to do , at times when the rectocele is more bothersome. The specialist says it doesnt warrant surgery at the moment, and is disinclined to do anything yet due to years of back problems, (prolapsed discs, foot drop etc.) and tho I have improved, still find lifting can be a problem, also lying on my back, slightly sloping, reading in bed!, is inclined to make things worse. Thank you for your really interesting information, wish I was younger and could do more of the exercises. Jan

    • Michelle Kenway says

      Hi Jan
      Thanks for your question – this is a common cause of confusion and I think it is largely because of the terminology.
      A rectocele is a prolapse of the back wall of the vagina – the bowel bulges into the back wall and sometimes out of the vaginal entrance when severe. Rectal bulge (with rectal prolapse) is when the rectal tissues prolapse within the lower part of the bowel (the rectum) and can bulge out of the rectum. So we are talking about two different types of prolapse of the lower part of the bowel, the former within the vagina and the latter our of the rectum. I hope this makes sense.

      Pelvic floor exercises are indicated for rectal prolapse support when in the early stages especially, and after recovery from rectal prolapse surgery. This article on rectal prolapse exercises gives you information on strengthening and management of rectal prolapse, I hope it helps you.
      Best wishes