Do you tend to get on your phone while on the toilet? Do you notice your kids using their gadgets on the toilet, too? Be warned—the results of this could be horrifying...
Dads, do you play on your phone while sitting on the toilet? Well if you do, read this story without delay and take heed of its warning – if you like sitting on your “throne” for ages while playing with your phone or reading, you should probably stop doing that as it may cause rectal prolapse – in other words, your bowels could fall out!
Take the case of a man in China who, after playing on his smartphone for half an hour while sitting on the toilet, suffered from a rectal prolapse, local Chinese media reported on Friday (Feb 9).
He went to Sixth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University’s emergency room in Zhongshan, Guangdong at around 1am after noticing a “ball-sized” lump hang out of his anus. The man was only able to walk with assistance from a friend.
A horrifying “revelation”
There, doctors found a “tail” measuring 16 cm protruding out of the man’s anus. They diagnosed him with rectal prolapse, according to the local report. The report added that the man had spent too long playing on his mobile phone while sitting on the toilet.
What is rectal prolapse? It is a condition where the rectum, or the lower end of the colon, drops down and turns inside out. As it worsens, the rectum may protrude down your anus. It’s a condition that’s fairly common, especially among children and old people in particular.
Dr. Dan Su, one of the hospital’s doctors, said that most rectal prolapses can be retracted, but this special case is an exception.
He has it from a young age
Su said the man had previously suffered from rectal prolapses from age 4, but in the previous circumstances, doctors had been able to retract it.
Since they were unable to retract the prolapse, they decided to operate on the man to remove the protrusion. The man was able to walk around two days later.
A CT scan revealed the 6.3-inch bulge hanging outside the patient’s anus, as well as blood spots and bruises along the patient’s intestinal wall.
Su said that it’s possible that, while trying to eliminate waste, the man’s pelvic muscles might have weakened and that sitting on the toilet too long triggered the prolapse.
While the man is recovering, Su warned that anyone with the condition must seek treatment as soon as they spot it.
Common in the very young and very old
According to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS), rectal prolapse affects about 2.5 out of 100,000 people. It affects mostly adults over 50 years of age though women over 50 years old are six times more likely to develop the condition. However, men who develop the condition are often in their 40s.
The condition isn’t a sudden phenomenon, and tends to manifest in a gradual manner, returning back to normal after some time. When the rectum still hasn’t returned to its normal position, patients with rectal prolapse may feel like they’re sitting on a “ball”.
Around 50% of patients experience chronic constipation (a tell-tale sign) and if left untreated, will require emergency surgery.
In your children’s case, as with the man’s experience when he was 4 years old, a prolapse may start happening when your child is 1 to 5 years of age, when he begins standing or potty training. The cause in these cases are often not known.
Possible causes of rectal prolapse
However, there are factors that increases the child’s risk of a rectal prolapse. They could be either of the following:
- An infection in your child’s bowel can cause his rectum to swell and move down through his anus. The infection may be caused by parasites or bacteria.
- Constipation makes your child push too hard during bowel movement. The pressure from pushing too hard may cause the rectum to prolapse.
- Malnutrition accelerates the loss of fatty tissue that helps hold your child’s rectum in place.
- Diarrhea may cause swelling of your child’s rectum, raising the risk of prolapse
- Chronic conditions such as Cystic fibrosis (CF) or ulcerative colitis (UC) may cause malnutrition and constipation. UC can also cause diarrhea.
Signs and symptoms of rectal prolapse
If your child is complaining of any difficulties during bowel movement or generally stressed around it, you can check for any of these signs if they have rectal prolapse.
- Rectal tissue seen through the anus after or during your child’s bowel movement
- Pain or discomfort during bowel movement
- Swollen, pink, or red rectum
- Bleeding or mucus from your child’s rectum, which may happen from rubbing against underwear or diaper
Once you’ve seen any of these signs, check with your doctor to confirm if it’s rectal prolapse. The doctor will examine your child’s anus for rectal prolapse or rectal polyps (a small growth of tissue in the lining of the rectum).
Rectal prolapse testing
He/she may feel inside your child’s anus to check for bumps that the doctor cannot see from the outside. The doctor may also ask you about your child’s bowel habits. So if your child has any other medical conditions, tell them.
The doctor or medical professional may do the following tests:
- A sweat chloride test shows the amount of chloride in your child’s sweat. This test is used to check for cystic fibrosis (CF). If your child has CF, your child’s sweat will contain a high amount of chloride.
- An x-ray, ultrasound, or CT scan may show problems with your child’s rectum. The healthcare provider may give contrast liquid to your child to help the intestines show up better in the pictures. Your healthcare provider may also place contrast liquid into your child’s anus. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.
- A sample of your child’s bowel movement may show what germ is causing your child’s illness.
How you can help treat it
Rectal prolapse can be treated so be prepared for your or your child’s treatment when it happens to you.
- Antibiotics fight bacterial infection.
- Antiparasitics fight or prevent parasite infection.
- Bowel movement softeners help prevent constipation.
- Laxatives relax and loosen your child’s intestines to prevent constipation.
- If the rectal prolapse is pretty bad, injections may prevent your child’s rectum from moving through the anus. Be warned that a medical professional will give your child one or more shots of numbing medicine or anaesthetic. After which, a needle will be inserted into the rectum and apply the appropriate medicine. Your child will feel some pressure or discomfort as the needle enters the rectum.
- In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary if other treatments don’t work. Surgery can help correct the position of your child’s rectum to prevent it from hanging out of the anus. Surgery may include placing sutures or mesh into the rectum, or removing the part of the rectum that is prolapsed.
There are many things you can do to help a family member or your child get through this condition. You can check through this website for more information on rectal prolapse treatment and recovery
Don’t multitask on the toilet!
The objective of going to the toilet is to eliminate waste, nothing more, nothing less, and should not be treated as “luxury time”. Multitasking during toilet time only raises the risk of rectal prolapse.
So parents, if you’re thinking of hiding from your in-laws, visitors, or kids, don’t hide in your bathroom, sit on the toilet, and just go on your phone or read a book. Meanwhile, warn your children not to stay on the toilet too long or they might get rectal prolapse too!
You can also read: Remedies for constipation in children: All you need to know about this condition.
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore