Abnormalities of colonic function in patients with rectal prolapse and faecal incontinence

Br J Surg. 1984 Nov;71(11):892-5. doi: 10.1002/bjs.1800711129.


We have investigated changes in colonic motility and anorectal function in 6 continent patients with a rectal prolapse; in 10 incontinent patients with rectal prolapse and in 16 patients with idiopathic faecal incontinence compared with 26 age and sex match controls. A history of incontinence, irrespective of a prolapse, was associated with significantly lower anal squeeze pressures (P less than 0.05), a deficient anorectal angle (P less than 0.05), failure to retain a balloon containing more than 250 cm3 of air in the rectum (P less than 0.01) and increased sigmoid motility (P less than 0.02) compared with controls. By contrast patients with rectal prolapse and no incontinence had normal anal pressures, a normal anorectal angle and normal sigmoid motility, but transit was delayed. These results indicate that abnormal sigmoid motility is commonly associated with faecal incontinence and that slow transit constipation is frequent in patients with rectal prolapse who are continent.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anal Canal / physiopathology
  • Colon / physiopathology*
  • Colon, Sigmoid / physiopathology
  • Fecal Incontinence / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Pressure
  • Rectal Prolapse / physiopathology*
  • Rectum / physiopathology
  • Reflex, Abnormal / physiopathology