The importance of the pelvic floor is often misunderstood until there’s a problem.
The muscles and connective tissues that support your pelvic organs—your bladder, urethra, vagina, uterus, bowel, rectum and anus—are known as the pelvic floor. These muscles hold your organs in place and assist with bodily functions like peeing, pooping and sex.1
When the muscles become weak and can’t properly support your organs, the organs can shift out of place, a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse or POP.2 You may have heard of prolapse: about 50 percent of women have some degree of prolapse3 and about one-third of women will experience some degree of vaginal prolapse during their lifetime.4
A bladder prolapse, which is when the bladder drops and pushes against the wall of the vagina, is the most common type of pelvic organ prolapse. Since the bladder and vagina are connected, they often drop down together.5
If those types of prolapse are common, and you have perhaps heard of these conditions, what is a prolapsed anus?
The Impact of Prolapse
Prolapse comes in different forms, and the type you have depends on where your pelvic floor is weak and what organs are impacted:2
- Uterine prolapse is when your uterus drops down into your vaginal canal.
- Vaginal vault prolapse is when the top part of your vagina, known as the vaginal vault, drops into your vaginal canal.
- Anterior vaginal wall prolapse or cystocele is when your bladder slips out of place and bulges onto your vagina. This is the most common type of POP.
- Urethrocele is a drooping of the urethra, the tube that carries pee from your bladder.
What Is A Prolapsed Anus
Other pelvic organs can suffer prolapse as well, including your bowel, rectum and anus. These types of prolapse have different names, causing some confusion and perhaps making you wonder what is a prolapsed anus?
It helps to understand the different organs, which are all actually part of your large intestine. The colon is the longest of the three organs, carrying food down your long intestine to the rectum, which continues from your colon to your anus. The anal canal continues from your rectum and makes up the last few centimeters of your large intestine.6
A dropped rectum, also called a posterior vaginal wall prolapse or rectocele, is when weak muscles between your vagina and rectum cause your rectum to bulge onto the back wall of your vagina.2 Typically there is a sharp bend where the rectum begins, and rectal prolapse may cause this bend and other curves in the rectum to straighten. That can lead to fecal incontinence, which is when stool accidentally leaks out.7
An enterocele is when your small intestine—which empties into your large intestine—bulges onto the back wall or the top of your vagina.2
A rectal prolapse, sometimes referred to as a prolapsed anus, can look different in different people:8
- An internal prolapse means your rectum has begun to drop partway into your anus, but it hasn’t yet come out the other end.
- A mucosal prolapse means the mucous lining inside your rectum has turned inside-out and begun to poke out of your anus.
- External prolapse is when your entire rectum falls out.
Once again, there are different names given to these conditions. An internal prolapse is also called an intussusception, when the rectum does not stick out of the anus. A mucosal prolapse is also called a partial prolapse. A complete prolapse is another way to describe when the wall of the rectum slides out of place and sticks out of the anus.7
See a Doctor
All the names and different organs impacted by weak pelvic muscles can make it difficult to determine what form of prolapse is impacting you. Use our Physician Finder to find a doctor near you with expertise in women’s health, so you can be diagnosed and determine a proper treatment plan for your prolapse.