Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between rectal prolapse and hemorrhoids. To find rectal prolapse and rule out other related health problems, your health care provider may suggest:

  • Digital rectal exam. Your health care provider places a gloved and lubricated finger into your rectum to check the strength of your sphincter muscles and to check for any problems in the rectal area. During the exam, your health care provider 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 blown up. This test helps measure the tightness of your anal sphincter and how your rectum is working.
  • Colonoscopy. To rule out other conditions, such as hemorrhoids, polyps or colon cancer, you may have a colonoscopy, in which a flexible tube is placed in your rectum to look at all of the colon.
  • Defecography. This test adds the use of a dye to an imaging study, such as X-ray or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Defecography can help show structural changes in and around your lower digestive tract and find out how your rectal muscles are working.


Treatment for rectal prolapse often involves surgery. Treatment for constipation with stool softeners, suppositories and other medicines are often needed. There are different surgical methods for treating rectal prolapse. Your health care provider will pick the best treatment for you after going over your age, health problems and how your bowels work.