Rectal Prolapse in Children | Diagnosis & Treatment

How is rectal prolapse diagnosed?

Parents typically first notice rectal prolapse — its appearance is usually obvious and alarming if your child hasn't previously experienced prolapse. Physicians diagnose rectal prolapse based on a physical examination. They may also use various imaging tests to determine if an underlying condition is responsible.

How is rectal prolapse treated?

Most mild cases of rectal prolapse can be treated by your child's physician, who will manually push the prolapse back in place. They will also make recommendations that address the cause of prolapse, such as giving your child a stool softener and increasing dietary fiber to improve regular bowel movements.

If your child experiences frequent or severe rectal prolapse, you may need to see a specialist to treat the underlying condition. Depending on the type of prolapse, your child may require surgical intervention. The doctor will discuss the best treatment options with you. These may include:

  • sclerotherapy, in which a sclerosing agent is injected around the rectum to scar the surrounding tissue and keep the prolapse in place
  • Thiersch cerclage, in which a wire or other thin material is used to narrow the anus
  • trans-anal resection, in which surgeons remove the prolapse through the anus
  • laparoscopic sigmoid resection, in which surgeons remove the sigmoid colon
  • rectopexy, in which the rectum is sutured to the sacrum