Rectal prolapse may be partial, involving only the mucosa or complete, involving the entire wall of the rectum. Children with myelomeningocele and bladder exstrophy as well as children with cystic fibrosis are particularly at risk. Rarely it can be caused by acute diarrhea or straining while passing constipated stool.
Most cases of prolapse do not require surgical correction. Infant prolapse often disappears without intervention.
Rectal prolapse repair is advised for a continued rectal prolapse that does not clear up or is unresponsive to treatment of an underlying condition.
Review Date 3/5/2020
Updated by: Debra G. Wechter, MD, FACS, general surgery practice specializing in breast cancer, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.