Though you may be troubled by your anal pain, you may be reluctant to discuss your discomfort with your doctor. But anal pain is a common symptom of many benign and treatable conditions, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk about it.
Here at Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center, we specialize in the treatment of many common anorectal disorders, including hemorrhoids and anal fissures. These conditions, among many other, may be the underlying cause of your anal pain.
No matter the cause, our medical expert, Dr. Betsy Clemens, wants you to know how your diet may be contributing to your anal pain. And, how making a few changes to what you eat may ease your discomfort.
About your anal pain
Anal pain includes any type of discomfort you feel in that last portion of your large intesine, which includes the rectum and anal tissue.
The pain may be mild or severe and worsen over time. It may occur before, during, or after a bowel movement. And, your pain may include other symptoms like blood in stool or anal itchiness.
Your anal discomfort may be a symptom of any number of conditions, such as:
- Thrombosed hemorrhoid (formation of blood clot in external hemorrhoid)
- Anal fissure
- Anal abscess
- Skin condition
- Fungal infection
- Crohn’s disease
Like many people, you may take a wait-and-see approach before seeking help. However, the American Society of Colon & Rectal Surgeons recommends you get medical attention if the discomfort doesn’t improve within two days.
Connection between diet and anal pain
The primary function of your rectum and anus is to hold and eliminate stool. When stool reaches your rectum, it sends signals to your brain that it’s time to go to the bathroom. Once you’re in the proper place, the sphincter muscles in your anus relax, and the rectal muscles contract to eliminate stool.
Easy, peasy, right? Not always. Your stool contains the bits of food your body can’t absorb or digest. If your stool is hard and dry and takes a lot of effort to eliminate, you’re putting extra stress and strain on your sensitive anal tissue. The stress and strain may then cause pain.
What you eat affects the health of your stool and how easy it is to pass. Healthy stool is soft and formed and passes easily from your rectum and out your anus. If your stools are hard, dry, and difficult to pass, then it’s likely you’re not getting enough fiber and water in your diet.
If your diet is filled with foods like white bread, sugary cereal, cheese, milk, and processed foods like fast food and frozen entrees, then your diet may be contributing to your anal pain.
Eating to minimize discomfort
No matter the cause of your anal pain, improving your bowel movements may ease your discomfort. To get things moving, you need to add fiber-rich foods to your diet.
When fiber passes through your digestive tract, it absorbs water, which helps soften stools. It also adds bulk to your stool. Adults need 25 to 38 grams of fiber a day. Fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, whole grains, and seeds are all good sources of fiber.
If fiber isn’t a major part of your usual diet, you want to go slowly when adding it in. Too much fiber too soon may make things worse.
In addition to eating more fiber-rich foods, we also recommend you increase your fluid intake. Fluid needs vary, but we recommend you aim for 12 to 16 cups a day. Most of those fluids should come from water.
Anal pain is a sensitive subject, but a treatable symptom. Let us help you get to the bottom of your anal pain and design a plan that alleviates your discomfort. Call our office at 636-228-3136, or schedule your appointment online today.