Department of Health

Rectal prolapse

Your rectum is the last 12-15 centimetres of your large bowel. Located just above your anal canal (back passage), your rectum is held in place by muscles and ligaments. Things like age, long-term constipation or childbirth can cause weakening of these ligaments and muscles.

Rectal prolapse occurs when the rectum falls down into, or sticks through the anal opening. It happens mostly to young children (under age 6) and older people.

In the early stages, the rectum is poorly attached but stays within the body most of the time. In the later stages a reddish-colored mass may poke out of your back passage, especially after a bowel movement. This is the lining of the rectum and it may bleed slightly.

What can I do?

It is important to seek help rather than just accept these changes. Discuss your concerns with your doctor or a continence advisor as soon as possible.