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Rectal Prolapse Specialist

Karen Zaghiyan, MD, FACS, FASCRS

Colorectal Surgeon located in Los Angeles, CA

Rectal prolapse is often confused with hemorrhoids, but the two conditions are very different. As an experienced colorectal surgeon in Los Angeles, California, Karen Zaghiyan, MD, FACS, FASCRS, brings her advanced training to diagnosing and treating conditions like rectal prolapse. If you have symptoms that could indicate rectal prolapse, call Karen Zaghiyan MD or schedule an appointment online today.

Rectal Prolapse

What is rectal prolapse?

Rectal prolapse occurs when your rectum stretches out and protrudes from your anus. This issue develops when the pelvic ligaments supporting your rectum and the anal sphincter muscles holding it inside your body weaken. 

When you have rectal prolapse, the amount protruding from your anus can vary from a small portion to your entire rectum. These rectal changes can cause several symptoms, including the sensation of something protruding from your anus during bowel movements. 

Rectal prolapse can also cause mucus or stool leakage because of weakening of the sphincter muscles.


What causes rectal prolapse?

Several factors can increase your risk of rectal prolapse, including:

  • Lifelong constipation
  • Straining to pass stools
  • Childbirth
  • Neurological problems, like a spinal cord injury
  • Associated issues like urinary incontinence or bladder and uterine prolapse
  • A family history of rectal prolapse

Anyone can develop rectal prolapse, but it’s more common in women. It’s common for rectal prolapse to cause significant embarrassment and frustration, leading many men and women to live with the condition for years before seeking treatment.


How is rectal prolapse diagnosed?

As a colorectal surgeon, Dr. Zaghiyan has advanced training in diagnosing and treating rectal prolapse. 

In addition to reviewing your complete history and performing a physical exam, Dr. Zaghiyan might also ask you to demonstrate the prolapse by sitting on a commode and “straining” to simulate a bowel movement. 

In some cases, Dr. Zaghiyan might also recommend a special X-ray or MRI imaging to confirm your diagnosis.


How is rectal prolapse treated?

In most cases, Dr. Zaghiyan recommends surgical treatment to resolve or significantly improve rectal prolapse. 

Dr. Zaghiyan offers several different surgical methods based on your unique condition. Whenever possible, Dr. Zaghiyan recommends minimally invasive approaches performed either laparoscopically or with robotic assistance. 

If you also have uterine or bladder prolapse, Dr. Zaghiyan may refer you to a specialist or recommend a multi-team approach to address your condition.

The success of your surgical treatment depends on the severity of your prolapse, associated conditions, the weakening of your anal sphincter muscles, and the type of surgery required. In some cases, it can take a year to see the full benefits the procedure has on your bowel function. 

If you continue having stool leakage issues after surgery, Dr. Zaghiyan might recommend additional treatments to address weakened sphincter muscles.

Call Karen Zaghiyan MD or schedule an appointment online today to get started.