Rectal Prolapse Causes | Rectal Prolapse Types | Rectal Prolapse Symptoms | Diagnosis and treatment | Foods To Prevent Rectal Prolapses | Foods to Avoid | fasting & Rectal Prolapse
The rectum is the end part of your colon. It is an 8-inch compartment that joins the anus to the colon. Its function is to collect stool from the colon and to send signals to the brain to evacuate it. Until the evacuation occurs, your rectum holds back the stool. Your rectum also helps absorb the excess water and holds it until the nerves trigger the urge to defecate.
Rectal prolapse is a health condition in which the end section of your large intestine slides out of its actual position and your rectum protrudes through the anus.
This usually occurs when you put too much strain on your abdomen due to medical conditions like chronic constipation, pregnancy, chronic cough, or prostrate problems, or it may be caused due to aging. Rectal prolapse is a health problem wherein the supportive tissues of the rectum become loose and unable to hold back the rectum in its place. Women are six times more vulnerable to developing rectal prolapse.
This issue generally takes place at the time of defecation. Sometimes the tissues of the rectum may get pulled back into the anal canal or you may have to do it manually.
However, this issue can be managed with a healthy diet that includes high-fiber, low-fat, and rich in nutrients. In this article, let’s discuss about the right diet for rectal prolapse and how fasting can help manage rectal prolapse.
What Causes Rectal Prolapse?
Rectal prolapse can be caused by various medical conditions, which may include:
Nerve damage: Rectal prolapse may develop if the nerves that regulate the anal and rectal muscles get damaged. These damages can happen due to pregnancy or vaginal birth, a spinal injury, or a type of surgery in the pelvic area.
Weakened anal sphincter: The anal sphincter is the muscle that prevents the stool from passing out from your rectum involuntarily. It can be caused due to aging, childbirth, or pregnancy.
Chronic constipation: The bowel movements may put a continuous strain on your rectum, making it vulnerable to moving down from its original location. Giving constant pressure on the bowel movement over a period of time can lead to rectal prolapse.
Besides, some risk factors for developing rectal prolapse may include cystic fibrosis, spinal cord injury, hysterectomy, and aging.
Types of Rectal Prolapse
There are three types of rectal prolapse.
Complete prolapse: This is a condition where the complete rectal wall protrudes from the anal opening which can be seen externally. It can lead to leakage of mucus or feces from the anus, and difficult to defecate.
Partial prolapse: In this condition, only some part of the rectal wall comes outside the anus. It is most commonly seen in children.
Mucosal prolapse: This involves a portion of the mucosal layer protruding through the anus. It is most common in children due to their weakened pelvic floor muscles. It often resolves automatically without any treatment.
Symptoms of rectal prolapse
A patient’s quality of life is significantly affected by a rectal prolapse condition.
The different symptoms of rectal prolapse are listed below.
- Severe anal pain
- Discomfort in the lower abdomen
- Rectal bleeding
- Having the feeling that the rectum has never emptied completely, even after passing stool
- Difficulty in bowel function
- Protrusion of rectum through the anus
- After passing off the stool, there is a leakage of stool
- Fecal incontinence
Diagnosis and treatment
To diagnose rectal prolapse, your healthcare provider may recommend tests based on your medical history and symptoms. The different tests may include physical examination, defecography, colonoscopy, anorectal manometry, or endoanal ultrasound.
If you have mild rectal prolapse, you can choose to delay the treatment. In this case, stool softeners can be used to help you put less strain during bowel movements and you might recover without surgical intervention.
However, if your symptoms are severe, you may have to undergo rectal prolapse surgeries that include:
Abdominal rectopexy: This is a type of rectal prolapse surgery that involves making an incision in the abdominal wall and putting the rectum back into its place.
Perineal rectosigmoidectomy: Here rectal prolapse is repaired through the perineum or the area between the anus and genitals.
These surgeries are usually advised for people who have severe constipation and the laparoscopic procedure through the stomach cannot be performed on them.
How Does Diet Affect Rectal Prolapse?
A healthy diet and adequate hydration are especially essential when it comes to managing rectal prolapse. Providing your body with the right diet will help you deal with rectal prolapse symptoms and help fasten your recovery.
Below are some guidelines that are to be followed in order to help alleviate the rectal prolapse symptoms. These guidelines can help regulate your bowel movement, decrease inflammation, and support healing.
What Foods Help Prevent Rectal Prolapses?
To help prevent rectal prolapse or inhibit it from getting worse, high-fiber diets and foods that help soften the stools are best recommended. The aim of these types of foods is to have normal bowel functioning. These foods may include:
Fruits and vegetables: Since fruits and vegetables have high fiber content, they support the gut microbiome, which maintains a healthy balance of bacteria in the digestive tract. Hence, it helps normalize bowel functions. Some examples of fruits and vegetables high in fiber are:
- Fruits: Apples, pears, apricots, papaya, peaches, prunes, currants, grapes, and oranges
- Vegetables: Sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, green beans, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, beetroots, squash, carrots, and collard greens
Whole grains: Most whole grains are rich in dietary fiber. They help support bowel movements, increase fecal weight, and ease constipation by reducing the colonic transit time (CCT). Some examples of whole grains are quinoa, oats, buckwheat, brown rice, bulgur wheat, rye, and sorghum.
Pulses: Pulses have a combination of soluble and insoluble fiber, which makes them ideal for alleviating constipation by adding weight and bulk to stools. Pulses also help soften the stool and facilitate a smooth passage. Some examples of pulses include dry beans, lentils, faba beans, dry peas, chickpeas, cowpeas, Bambara beans, and pigeon beans.
Water: Drinking an adequate amount of water will result in normal and soft stools. You must aim to drink six to eight glasses of water every day. You can add fresh lemons and limes to make it more flavorful. However, do not get tempted towards cordials or squash because they are high in sugar.
What Foods Should be Avoided?
If you have been experiencing rectal prolapse, then you should avoid foods that cause weight gain, diarrhea, constipation, gas, and bloating. Such foods may include:
- High-fat foods like pizzas, pastries, deep-fried foods, chips, pies, etc.
- Foods that are high in sugar such as sweets, artificial sweeteners, chocolates, soft drinks, ice creams, etc.
- High FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) foods like garlic, chickpeas, cow’s milk, other dairy products, figs, onions, lentils, etc.
- Foods that are low in fiber, such as fast food, meat, processed foods, cheese, etc.
It is obligatory to listen to your body and be watchful of the symptoms. One of the essential things is to find out which foods trigger symptoms that are uncomfortable for you.
For example, you like drinking coffee, but drinking coffee makes you bloated. In such a scenario, having warm water with lemon juice or a glass of pure orange juice during breakfast can be a good replacement.
But still, if you are not sure about what foods suit you, then it is wiser to make an appointment with a dietician. But to be very specific, the following foods are to be avoided that contribute negatively to your rectal health.
Foods That Increase Your Weight
Foods that are high in fats and sugar contribute to weight gain. In the case of women, this tends to accumulate around the abdominal area.
Since the pelvic floor muscles support the abdomen, excess weight can induce more pressure on pelvic floor muscles and make them weak, which can lead to developing rectal prolapse.
Foods That Cause Constipation
Constipation causes a lot of strain on the pelvic floor muscles. If you are a victim of constipation, then continual strain can cause the pelvic floor muscles to loosen and increase the risk of developing rectal prolapse.
Eating a lot of high-fat meats, dairy products and eggs, sweets, or processed foods may cause constipation. Instead, you can eat a lot of fiber-rich food and have adequate water to help soften the stool and ease constipation.
Foods That Cause Diarrhea
Diarrhea can be caused by a number of things. Ranging from food poisoning to lactose intolerance to deep-fried and fatty foods, the lists are many. Foods that are high in saturated and trans fat can make the symptoms even worse.
Chronic diarrhea can exert unnecessary pressure on the pelvic floor muscle and make you more prone to rectal prolapse. Hence, it is recommended to avoid any such food that causes diarrhea. Further, avoid foods that are out of date, and always try to have warm foods.
Foods That Cause Gas and Bloating
Gas and bloating are usually caused by foods that are difficult to break down and get fermented inside the gut. Building up gas in the stomach can put extra pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and increase the chance of getting pelvic organ prolapse.
Usually, FODMAP foods induce a lot of gas. Therefore, a low FODMAP food is advised for patients having prolapse symptoms.
Can fasting help Rectal Prolapse?
Intermittent Fasting can help alleviate rectal prolapse symptoms by minimizing the pressure on the rectum. It also helps the inflamed tissues to heal. When you fast, you automatically reduce the consumption of food and liquids.
This could reduce the amount of feces and gas generated and passed through the rectum. Furthermore, fasting can help lessen the inflammation and the risk of infection. Through fasting, we give a break to our digestive system, which in turn reduces the pressure on the rectal tissues, and the rectal prolapse symptoms can also be relieved. The most common form of Intermittent Fasting is 16/8 – an easy to follow method. Learn more on our 16/8 Intermittent Fasting Guide.
The Final Words – Best Diet for Rectal Prolapse
Rectal prolapse is a condition that needs immediate medical assistance. However, with a proper diet that is high in fiber, and drinking enough water, the symptoms of rectal prolapse can be managed up to a great extent.
Furthermore, intermittent fasting may help because of its various health benefits, like reduced inflammation and the risk of infection. Fasting also promotes the healing of the rectal issues, which control the bowel movements, and fasting is extremely beneficial for overall health.
However, before getting into any fasting regimen, you should always consult with a healthcare practitioner. Incorporating a fiber-rich diet, having enough water, avoiding the foods that trigger symptoms, along with intermittent fasting can significantly improve the rectal prolapse symptoms and help you live a quality life.