Rectal prolapse, also known as tuo gang in Chinese medicine, is a condition in which the rectum protrudes through the anus. This can cause symptoms such as bleeding and mucus discharge from the rectum, fecal incontinence, tenesmus, and discomfort in the lower abdomen. In mild cases, the prolapse may only occur when straining during bowel movements and can be manually reduced, but in severe cases it may become irreducible and ischemic.
In Chinese medicine, rectal prolapse can be caused by either deficiency or excess patterns. Deficiency patterns are characterized by a long duration of the condition, relative painlessness, and signs of deficiency such as weakness, pallor, and fatigue. Excess patterns are characterized by rectal inflammation, pain, tenesmus, redness, and irritation, along with signs of systemic heat. Deficiency patterns are more common than excess patterns.
Rectal prolapse is most commonly seen in middle-aged women who have given birth, but it can also occur in children and the elderly of both sexes. Transient, minor rectal prolapse may also occur in otherwise healthy infants due to the delicate and unstable qi in their Spleen, Lung, and Kidney.