Rectal pain refers to discomfort or pain in the lower gastrointestinal tract. It is often used interchangeably with pain in the anus or anal pain. It’s a fairly frequent ailment that can be caused by things like hemorrhoids or anal fissures.
The causes of this pain are rarely life-threatening. Muscle spasms or constipation are frequently the cause.
Associated Symptoms of Rectal Pain
It may be accompanied by other symptoms such as:
Causes of Rectal Pain
Anal play during sex or masturbation frequently causes trauma or injury to the rectum or anus. It can also be caused by a very harsh fall or an injury sustained while participating in another form of physical activity.
Tears in the anal mucosa, commonly known as anal fissures, can occur in those who have severe constipation and firm stools. These can be excruciatingly uncomfortable.
Sexually transmitted infection (STI)
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can spread from the genitals to the rectum and cause pain, however they are not as common as other causes. Human papillomavirus, herpes, and chlamydia are just a few of the STIs that can spread.
Rectal pain is frequently caused by hemorrhoids. The symptoms you have are determined by the location of the hemorrhoid.
Internal hemorrhoids can form on the inside of the rectum, but if they’re large enough, they can protrude through the rectum. Internal hemorrhoids are usually found within the anus, and most people are unaware of their presence. They can occasionally cause painless rectal bleeding, particularly after bowel movements.
Exterior hemorrhoids develop from external blood vessels and a place where nerve connections exist, which is why patients may experience itching, swelling, and pain.
A little cut or tear in the skin that lines the rectal orifice is known as an anal fissure.
They normally occur as a result of stretching or straining the tissue at the rectum’s opening. Anal fissures and hemorrhoids are caused by bearing down during childbirth or passing a firm stool.
Rectal discomfort produced by muscle spasms in the rectal muscles is known as proctalgia fugax. It’s related to levator syndrome, another type of anal pain produced by muscle spasms.
This disorder affects twice as many women as it does males, and it commonly affects persons between the ages of 30 and 60.
Small glands surround the anus, which release oils to maintain the anal skin moisturized and healthy. An infected cavity (abscess) can occur if one of these glands becomes clogged.
Fistulas, or small tunnels that connect the diseased gland to a hole in the anus skin, occur in some abscesses around the anus. If an abscess is left untreated, a fistula is more likely to form.
Tenesmus is a type of rectal pain brought on by cramping. Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, are frequently linked to it.
It can, however, happen to persons who don’t have an IBD diagnosis. Specific GI tract movement or motility problems may be to blame in some circumstances. Constipation and diarrhea are two common motility problems.
Proctitis causes inflammation in the lining of the rectum. Although it’s common in people with IBD, it can affect anyone. STIs can also cause proctitis, and it can even be the result of radiation therapy for cancer.
Fecal impaction is a frequent GI issue that can cause rectal discomfort. Constipation can cause impacted feces, which is a hardened lump of stool in the rectum.
Fecal impaction is more prevalent in elderly persons, but it can affect anyone at any age.
Rectal prolapse occurs when the attachments that keep the rectum in place in the GI tract are lost. The rectum may protrude from the anus if this happens.
Rectal prolapse is a rare occurrence. It is most frequent in adults, and women over the age of 50 are six times more likely than males to get it. However, the average age of a woman with rectal prolapse is 60, whereas the average age of a man with rectal prolapse is 40.
When To See The Doctor
Rectal pain that occurs occasionallyt is rarely a cause for alarm. However, if you’re experiencing rectal pain on a frequent basis, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor.
If your rectal pain intensifies or travels into the lower part of your body, you should see your doctor straight soon.
Treatment of Rectal Pain
Rectal pain treatment choices are largely determined by the cause.
A medical procedure to remove the affected stool, for example, may be used to treat fecal impaction. Medications are frequently used to treat STIs.
To relieve general rectal pain, people can try:
- taking a sitz bath, or sitting in warm water for 15–20 minutes
- applying a topical numbing ointment
- taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication
- eating a diet high in fiber and drinking plenty of water to prevent constipation and straining during a bowel movement
- using a stool softener, which makes it easier and less painful to have a bowel movement
- sitting on a cushion, which may decrease the pressure on the rectum
- taking antibiotics for bacterial infections