Hemorrhoids and rectal prolapse

Hemorrhoids, also known as ”piles”, are cushions of tissue and veins normally located at the junction between rectum and anus. Together with the sphincters, they contribute for 20-30% to complete closure of the anus and prevent any leakage (incontinence). During a normal bowel movement, these cushions become smaller to allow stool to pass through. Everyone has them, even newborns; problems only arise when they prolapse and become larger than they should. In fact, when Parks ligaments become loose for different reasons (pregnancies, childbirth, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea..), rectal prolapse occurs, then consequently hemorrhoids slide down to the anal verge, get enlarged, the overlying tissue becomes thinner and prone to bleed. For this reason is more correct to call the disease ‘hemorrhoidal prolapse’ or simply ‘prolapse’, since hemorrhoids are normally present in the normal anal canal.


Symptoms of rectal prolapse:

Symptoms of rectal prolapse can be related to

- hemorrhoidal prolapse: bleeding during bowel movements, swelling protruding from the anus, perianal skin irritation and itching

- obstruction caused by the prolapse with: chronic constipation, prolonged and unsuccessful straining, feelings of incomplete evacuation, needing of a digital help to complete evacuation, laxative use and/or abuse


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