Definition

What is anal pain?

Anal pain is a condition that occurs when you have a pain in and around your anus or rectum (perianal region). This disease is a common complaint. Although most causes of anal pain are benign, the pain can be severe because of the many nerve endings in the perianal region.

Anal pain can occur before, during, or after a bowel movement. It can range from a mild pain that can get worse over time to pain that is bad enough to restrict daily activities. It is believed that anal pain has many causes, most of which are common and treatable. However, if anal pain does not go away within 24 to 48 hours, it is important to see your physician. If fever is present with anal pain, a more urgent appointment is needed.

Many conditions that cause anal pain may also cause rectal bleeding, which is usually more frightening than serious. The causes of anal pain usually can be easily diagnosed. Anal pain usually can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and hot water soaks.

How common is anal pain?

This health condition is common. It can affect patients at any age. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of anal pain?

The signs and symptoms of anal pain will depend on conditions which the patients have. Some of them included:

Anal fissures

  • A severe, sharp pain when doing a poo
  • A burning or gnawing pain that lasts several hours after doing a poo
  • Rectal bleeding – you may notice a small amount of blood on the toilet paper after you wipe

Haemorrhoids (piles)

  • Bleeding after doing a poo
  • An itchy bottom
  • Feeling like there’s a lump in or around your anus
  • Soreness and redness around your anus
  • Anal pain, if the blood supply to the haemorrhoid becomes blocked or interrupted – for example, by a blood clot

Anal fistulas and abscesses

  • A constant, throbbing pain that may be worse when you sit down
  • Skin irritation around the anus
  • Passing pus or blood when you poo
  • Swelling and redness around your anus
  • A high temperature (fever)

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

You should contact your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • Your pain is severe
  • Your pain doesn’t improve after a few days
  • You also experience rectal bleeding

Causes

What causes anal pain?

It is believed that there a great number of causes of anal pain, these following are the most common ones:

  • Anal cancer
  • Anal fissure (a small tear in the lining of the anal canal)
  • Anal itching (pruritus ani)
  • Anal sex
  • Anorectal fistula (an abnormal channel between the anus or rectum usually to the skin near the anus)
  • Coccydynia or coccygodynia (tailbone pain)
  • Chronic constipation
  • Crohn’s disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Diarrhea (causing anal irritation)
  • Fecal impaction (a mass of hardened stool in the rectum due to chronic constipation)
  • Hemorrhoids (swollen and inflamed veins in your anus or rectum)
  • Levator ani syndrome (spasm in the muscles that surround the anus)
  • Perianal abscess (pus in the deep tissue around the anus)
  • Perianal hematoma (a collection of blood in the perianal tissue caused by a ruptured vein, sometimes called an external hemorrhoid)
  • Proctalgia fugax (fleeting pain due to rectal muscle spasm)
  • Proctitis (inflammation of the lining of the rectum)
  • Solitary rectal ulcer syndrome (ulcer of the rectum)
  • Thrombosed hemorrhoid (blood clot in a hemorrhoid)
  • Trauma
  • Ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)
  • Ulcerative proctitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)

Risk factors

What increases my risk for anal pain?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is anal pain diagnosed?

Your doctor may conduct a rectal examination to rule out any other causes of the pain.

  • A digital rectal examination is needed to make the diagnosis of levator ani syndrome. During the examination, your doctor can feel the levator ani muscles. They may feel tight, and touching them can reproduce the pain.
  • Your doctor can make the diagnosis of a thrombosed haemorrhoid by doing a visual examination of the anus or anal canal.
  • The diagnosis of anal fissure is usually made by a visual examination.

How is anal pain treated?

Self-care at home

The following treatments can help lessen the discomfort of a painful haemorrhoid

  • Sit in a hot bath for 20 minutes several times a day
  • Use over-the-counter haemorrhoid treatments
  • Take stool softeners and extra fibre to lessen pain with bowel movements

These home treatments will promote healing of anal fissures

  • Sit in a hot bath for 20 minutes, 3 times a day, to reduce pain and help healing
  • Eat a high-fibre diet and use stool softeners to make bowel movements less painful
  • Apply hydrocortisone or local anaesthetic creams to help decrease pain

Because anal pain attacks last for such a brief period of time, no treatment acts fast enough to stop an attack. Currently there are no medications to prevent an attack.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage anal pain?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with anal pain:

The best way to avoid anal pain is to eat a high-fiber diet and drink plenty of water. This will help you produce soft stools that are easy to pass and that cause less trauma to the anal passage.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: August 3, 2017 | Last Modified: August 3, 2017

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