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.
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