Rectal prolapse is a serious medical condition that can occur in aging adults who have suffered with long-term constipation, hemorrhoid problems, and diseases and conditions such as multiple sclerosis and whooping cough. The prolapse of the rectal sphincter means that the inner walls of the rectum become detached from the inner walls of the anal cavity. This condition can be frightening, but many people avoid bringing up even the slightest symptoms to their doctor because of their tendency to avoid the topic due to embarrassment.
Rectal prolapse is the body's perfectly normal response to some problems, and it is nothing to feel awkward about discussing with the rectal surgeon. To make the process easier, it is good to understand the answers to some of the most common questions.
How painful will the surgery actually be?
Even though the surgery itself is not extremely invasive, the location of the surgery can cause you a lot of discomfort. It is a good idea to not sit for long periods of time, and if you do, use a cushion or a donut-shaped pillow to alleviate some of the pressure. You will likely be prescribed pain medicine and may be given a topical agent to relieve some of the pain. You may also be instructed to sit in warm water to help with irritation and discomfort. In general, you should expect to see a lot of the pain subside in about 7 to 14 days.
How long will it be before bowel movements return to normal?
The pain that goes along with the first few bowel movements after surgery can be intense. While it may take some time to completely heal, eventually, your rectum should return to normal. If you are seeing a lot of pain and discomfort after the site should be healed, it is best to talk to your doctor to make sure everything is healing as it should be.
Will the surgery require a special diet afterwards?
When you are sent home from the hospital, you should expect that your rectal surgeon will instruct you to eat softer foods for at least a few days. Bulky foods and roughage can cause bowel movements to be more difficult. You will likely be given a stool softener or fiber laxative as well to help aid in digestion right after surgery.
Because rectal surgery can be such a personal issue that you wish to keep to yourself, it is good to follow your doctor's instructions to the letter. The more you pay attention to special instructions and the more questions you ask, the quicker you will be able to heal and get back to your normal activities.