Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish rectal prolapse from hemorrhoids. To help diagnose rectal prolapse and rule out other associated conditions, your doctor may recommend:

  • Digital rectal exam. Your doctor inserts a gloved and lubricated finger into your rectum to evaluate the strength of your sphincter muscles and to check for any abnormalities in the rectal area. During the exam your doctor may ask you to bear down, to check for rectal prolapse.
  • Anal manometry. A narrow, flexible tube is inserted into the anus and rectum. A small balloon at the tip of the tube may be expanded. This test helps measure the tightness of your anal sphincter and the sensitivity and functioning of your rectum.
  • Colonoscopy. To rule out other conditions, such as polyps or colon cancer, you may have a colonoscopy, in which a flexible tube is inserted into your rectum to inspect the entire colon.
  • Defecography. This procedure combines the use of a contrasting agent with an imaging study, such as x-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Defecography can help reveal structural changes in and around your lower gastrointestinal tract and show how well your rectal muscles are working.


Treatment for rectal prolapse usually involves surgery. Other treatments include various therapies for constipation, including stool softeners, suppositories and other medications. There are a few different surgical methods for treating rectal prolapse. Your doctor will choose the best approach for you after considering your age, physical condition and bowel function.

Rectal prolapse care at Mayo Clinic

June 26, 2021
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  2. Rectal prolapse. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/anatomic-problems-lower-gi-tract/rectal-prolapse. Accessed March 26, 2021.
  3. Rectal prolapse. American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons. https://fascrs.org/patients/diseases-and-conditions/a-z/rectal-prolapse-expanded-version. Accessed March 22, 2021.
  4. Tsunoda A. Surgical treatment of rectal prolapse in the laparoscopic era; A review of the literature. Journal of the Anus, Rectum and Colon. 2020; doi:10.23922/jarc.2019-035.
  5. Varma MG, et al. Surgical approach to rectal procidentia (rectal prolapse). https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed March 26, 2021.
  6. Varma MG, et al. Overview of rectal procidentia (rectal prolapse). https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed March 26, 2021.
  7. Morrow ES. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic. April 16, 2021.


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