Rectal prolapse describes a condition where a part of the rectum, that is the final section of the large intestine before the anus, 'prolapses' or protrudes from the anus. It is generally noticed as a lump on the anus that can be seen or felt.
Women are more prone to the condition than men and it is relatively common in people who also suffer constipation, and/or who are often straining when emptying the bowels or have some difficulty when doing so.
Rectal prolapse may be accompanied by other symptoms such as faecal incontinence (where the person has difficulty controlling bowel movements and wind), bleeding from the rectum/anus (especially where this is bright red blood) and in some cases a mucous discharge.
A rectal prolapse is generally noticed after a bowel movement, but can also be felt when standing up or walking.
In many cases the prolapse can be 'pushed back in', but in some cases it cannot and, if this happens, medical intervention – normally surgery to correct the prolapse – is required straight away.