When you have anal pain, you may search the internet for a self-diagnosis. We get it. Anal pain isn’t an easy topic to discuss with anyone.
But our board-certified family medicine physician, Dr. Betsy Clemens, at Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center in Creve Coeur, Missouri, recommends scheduling a visit if your pain is severe or fails to improve within a day or two of at-home care.
If you have sharp anal pain during a bowel movement that lingers for hours, you may have an anal fissure. Ignoring your pain and hoping it goes away may make things worse.
Here, we want to talk about anal discomfort, anal fissures, and what you need can do to ease your pain.
About anal pain
Anal pain includes any discomfort you feel in or around your anus or rectum. You can develop pain from any number of causes, including:
- Thrombosed hemorrhoid
- Anal fissure
- Anal fistula
- Anal or rectal cancer
- Crohn’s disease
The severity of the pain depends on the cause and may range from mild to so bad sitting is impossible. Your pain may occur during a bowel movement and include other concerning symptoms like blood in the stool.
Though most causes of anal pain aren’t cause for alarm, if you have any rectal bleeding, you need to schedule an evaluation to rule out colon cancer.
Could it be an anal fissure?
If you have sharp anal pain during a bowel movement that lasts minutes or hours after you visit the bathroom, you may have an anal fissure.
An anal fissure is a tear in the tissue that lines the anal canal — the passageway between the rectum and anus. The tears most often occur from trauma to the anal canal. Passing large, hard stools is a common cause.
Once you have a tear, you may reinjure the tissue every time you have a bowel movement, causing spasms in the sphincter muscle underneath the tissue. The muscle spasms are what cause the lingering pain.
Treating an anal fissure
Because it causes such severe pain during and after a bowel movement, you may do everything in your power not to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately, this makes things worse. The longer you hold in your stool, the harder and drier it gets, making it more difficult to pass.
We recommend adding more fiber to your diet and drinking plenty of water to soften the stool. We may also suggest a stool softener. Soaking your bottom in warm water, also called a sitz bath, a few times a day may ease your pain and help stop muscle spasms.
Though healing takes time, most anal fissures respond positively to conservative care. However, if your anal fissure fails to improve with our medical interventions, we refer you to a surgeon to discuss other options.
Sharp pain during a bowel movement that lingers could mean your pain is due to an anal fissure. Don’t wait to get help. We can design a plan that reduces your discomfort and may prevent the need for surgery.
Call our office at 636-228-3136 to schedule an appointment today.