Published online Dec 27, 2016. doi: 10.4240/wjgs.v8.i12.779
Peer-review started: June 28, 2016
First decision: September 2, 2016
Revised: September 11, 2016
Accepted: October 5, 2016
Article in press: October 9, 2016
Published online: December 27, 2016
To investigate the assumption that schistosomiasis is the main cause of rectal prolapse in young Egyptian males.
Twenty-one male patients between ages of 18 and 50 years with complete rectal prolapse were included in the study out of a total 29 patients with rectal prolapse admitted for surgery at Colorectal Surgery Unit, Ain Shams University hospitals between the period of January 2011 and April 2014. Patients were asked to fill out a specifically designed questionnaire about duration of the prolapse, different bowel symptoms and any past or present history of schistosomiasis. Patients also underwent flexible sigmoidoscopy and four quadrant mid-rectal biopsies documenting any gross or microscopic rectal pathology. Data from questionnaire and pathology results were analyzed and patients were categorized according to their socioeconomic class.
Twelve patients (57%) never contracted schistosomiasis and were never susceptible to the disease, nine patients (43%) had history of the disease but were properly treated. None of the patients had gross rectal polyps and none of the patients had active schistosomiasis on histopathological examination. Fifteen patients (71%) had early onset prolapse that started in childhood, majority before the age of 5 years. Thirteen patients (62%) were habitual strainers, and four of them (19%) had straining dating since early childhood. Four patients (19%) stated that prolapse followed a period of straining that ranged between 8 mo and 2 years. Nine patients (43%) in the present study came from the low social class, 10 patients (48%) came from the working class and 2 patients (9%) came from the low middle social class.
Schistosomiasis should not be considered the main cause of rectal prolapse among young Egyptian males. Childhood prolapse that continues through adult life is likely involved. Childhood prolapse probably results from malnutrition, recurrent parasitic infections and diarrhea that induce straining and prolapse, all are common in lower socioeconomic classes.
Core tip: Rectal prolapse in Western countries is mainly a disease of old women but in Egypt, the incidence of complete rectal prolapse was found to be highest among young males. Previous studies have attributed this to proctosigmoiditis caused by schistosomiasis, which is endemic in many rural areas of Egypt, and to which young males are more susceptible. In this study we disprove this assumption and shed light on other factors related to socioeconomic status that are more likely to be the cause of this disease distribution in the population.